Among those devoted to the cause of the people and whose life was laid down in the struggle, was Cornelius Harnett, of whom a biographical sketch has been presented (page 46). He is buried in Wilmington.
The Ashe family, whose services and whose sacrifices in the cause of our country deserve to be held in the perpetual memory of posterity, is identified with this county.
Jones in his "Defense of North Carolina," says:
"The Ashe family contributed more to the success of the Revolution than any other in the State. General John Ashe and his sons, Captain Samuel Ashe and his son William, Governor Samuel Ashe and his son Samuel, Colonel John Baptista, were all in constant service."
Every member of the Ashe family able to bear a musket was in the army.
Some of this family have been already alluded to, in sketches of Judge Thomas S. Ashe and John B. Ashe.
We now present a genealogical table of this distinguished family, followed by sketches of such others as particularly deserve attention.
The family is of English origin and long settled in Heightsbury, an ancient borough on the river Willy in Wiltshire, England.
John Baptista Ashe, the founder of the family in North Carolina, was the friend of Lord Craven, one of the Lord Proprietors of the Province, and on this account visited the shores of the new world.*
He was prominent, active, and decided in the affairs of the colony.
In 17725 he appeared as Counsel for Governor Burrington who was then indicted for sedition and treasable practices. I copy from the Rolls Office, London, the following:
"1730, Dec. 14. Instructions issued to Governor Burrington with his commission as Governor of North Carolina, under the great seal. William Smith, Nath. Rice, James Tenour, Robert Hatton, Edmund Porter, John Baptista Ashe, Jas. Hallard, Matthew Rowan, Richard Evans, Cornelius Harnett, and John Porter, Sen., named in the instructions as Council:"*
* Records of Board of Trade, London Proprieties, N. C. No. 22, p. 37.
I copy from the same office, the following extract from a Dispatch to the Duke of New Castle, from Governor Burrington, dated February 20, 1732.
"Immediately before the Assembly met, Mr. Price, the Secretary, and Mr. Ashe, came together from the Cape Fear to Edenton, the seat of Government. Mr. Ashe when qualified, began immediately to oppose me in the council. He gained Mr. Smith and Mr. Porter to join him.
"Mr. Ashe is altogether bent on mischief. I have been a great friend to him. My benefits he has returned with ingratitude.
"He is a great villian, and is unworthy of sitting as Councillor in this Province."
The Governor adds, in the same dispatch that "Cornelius Harnett, another of the council, was bred a merchant in Dublin, and settled at Cape Fear in this colony: "I am humbly of opinion that Harnett's sitting in the council is a disgrace to it," (page 63).
On November 10, 1732, on the complaint of George Burrington, Governor, to Wm. Owen, one of the Justices of the General Court, that John Baptista Ashe, did write and publish certain scurrilous libels to defame said Governor, was committed to goal, until he gave bond and security to appear before the Justices of the General Court of the province." (See page 78.)
Mr. Ashe filed information, in return, which the General Court, (William Little, Chief Justice; William Owen, Macrora Scarborough, Justices) held at Edenton, last Tuesday in October, 1732, having duly heard and considered, decided as their unanimous opinion, that the said information being a prosecution against the said
Index - Contents