Major Noble Ashley

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Major Noble Ashley

Birthplace: Sheffield, MA, USA
Death: (Date and location unknown)
Immediate Family:

Son of Oliver Ashley and Tabitha Ashley (Baker)
Brother of Anson Ashley; Andrus Ashley; Abigail Ashley and Elizabeth Ashley

Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Major Noble Ashley

Doctrine and Covenants 75:17

Biographical Summary:

Birth: 3 March 1798, Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts. Son of Oliver Ashley and Tabitha Baker.

In the early 1800s parents often named their sons ennobling, honorific titles. Major was such a title and does not signify military status. Just as King Follett was never a king, neither was Major Noble Ashley a commander in the military.

Little is known of Major's early years as he grew to manhood in Massachusetts. By 1831 he had joined the Church and been ordained a high priest. Pleased with his ordination, he pronounced that "it was by the help of the Lord that he had been preserved, yet his greatest fear was for those who were weak in the faith." Although his testimony was meant for the backslider, it proved to be a precursor of his own weak conviction.

Confident in his faithfulness, Major submitted his name to the Prophet Joseph Smith, seeking to know the will of the Lord concerning him (see D&C 75:23). The Lord revealed on 25 January 1832, "And again, I say unto my servant Major N. Ashley, and my servant Burr Riggs, let them take their journey also into the south country" (D&C 75:17). Major, as well as other elders present when Joseph received the revelation, was promised that if faithful he would be "laden with many sheaves [meaning many baptisms], and crowned with honor, and glory, and immortality, and eternal life" (D&C 75:5).

Whether he journeyed to the "south country" is not known. Less than six months later, on 3 July 1832, he was present at the home of Edward Partridge in Independence, Missouri, and was laboring as a tanner. He denied the faith after the expulsion of the Saints from Jackson County. When early minutes of the June 1831 general conference were copied into the Far West Record, the scribe inserted "cut off" next to Major's name, indicating a breach of Church fellowship.

The Ohio federal census of 1840 reported that Major was living in Tallmadge, Summit County, with two females, one between fifty to sixty years of age and the other between eighty to ninety years. In the census his trade was listed as a miner-a "learned professional and engineer." Although recognized by worldly standards for his profession, Major forfeited his testimony and quickly became one of those for whom he had once feared: "those who were weak in the faith."

SOURCE: Susan Easton Black; Who's Who in the Doctrine and Covenants. Retrieved March 30, 2011.

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Major Noble Ashley's Timeline

March 3, 1798
Sheffield, MA, USA