Notes for Daniel Ashcraft


Notes for Daniel Ashcraft

Daniel Ashcraft. Born 14 Aug 1698 in Stonington, Connecticut. Married Elizabeth (?)Lewis(?) about 1723. Died around 6 Oct 1755 near Town Creek, Berkeley County, Virginia [now West Virginia] (killed by Indians). Neal Notes: He died at Conococheague Manor, Town Creek, West Virginia [unverified].

Accused of killing an Indian, the son of Wampaneag, he had been jailed in June of 1720. Indians had come forward with various complaints of injustices and Daniel Ashcraft was used as an example of how the laws of King George applied to both Indian and Englishmen alike. Joshua Hempstead noted in his diary that he had been on the Jury of inquest (Diary of Joshua Hempstead of New London, Connecticut by New London Historical Society, 1901).

From Joshua Hempstead's Diary:

Sunday, June 12, 1720. I was on Jry of inquest upon ye Indian which died last night of ye wound he rec'd of Daniel Ashcraft on Thursday last on his forehead with a stone. Fridey [sic], Sept 10. Daniel Ashcraft brought in not guilty.

In September, Daniel was tried for his life for killing the Indian with a stone. An Indian squaw testified at his trial that she saw the Indian load a pistol and threaten to kill Daniel. The poor squaw was later whipped by the Indians for informing. Daniel was acquitted but hard feelings remained. Shortly after, he left Connecticut.

Apparently, even though he was acquitted, Daniel felt the approbation of a community that relied on good relations with the Indians, and he left town, traveling first to New Jersey and then to Pennsylvania and Maryland.

In one account, Daniel went to sea and never returned. Indeed there is no further record of him in Connecticut.

In 1726, we find him in Wrightstown Pennsylvania requesting a land transaction. His father mentioned him in his will leaving him 20 pounds or bills of credit.

Daniel sold 220 acres to William Allen for £200 on 10 May 1732, Wrightstown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

On the 10th day of May, 1732, Daniel was in Wrightstown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania near the Delaware River selling 220 acres of land to William Allen for 200 pounds lawful money of Penn. This act would indicate that Daniel had been there for some time.

He sold 120 acres to James Dean on 24 October 1737, again in Wrightstown. [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 22.]

On 14 June 1734 he sold another 120 acres for 160 pounds to William Allen of Philadelphia. This tract was said to have contained houses, barns, buildings, gardens, orchards on the Neshaminy Creek adjoining Richard Mitchell and Jonathan Cooper. This land was located in Wrightstown near Philadelphia.

On 7 January 1738, in Bethlehem, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Daniel witnessed the will of Mary Strawhan of Bethlehem (though he was still living in Bucks County) [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 22].

Family tradition states that Daniel married Elizabeth Lewis C. 1723 with no evidence being found, but he was married to an Elizabeth.

He migrated to Sleepy Creek, Berkeley County, Virginia [now West Virginia], c1753 [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 22]. This land was open to settlement about 1750 with the Lewis family residing there in 1753 and 1756 (David and Henry Lewis).

He apparently took part in a land transaction in 1755 in Frederick County, Maryland [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 23].

Daniel was apparently related in some way (by marriage?) to Col. Thomas Cresap.

Daniel was killed by Indian on October 9, 1755.

The "Maryland Gazette" of Thursday, 9 Oct 1755 reports:

"Daniel Ashloff, who lived near Town creek, a few miles this side of Col Thomas cresap's, says that he and his father and others were attacked by indians, who killed all but Daniel. Mr Stoddart wanted to go in persuit but the others would not. He has applied to Major Prather for a detachment of militia. Less than a year later the "Maryland Gazette" reports the death of more family members, "A letter from Col Cresap mentions Indians killing Abraham Johnson, Jacob Ashcraft, and James Lowrey a peddler, Daniel Ashcraft is missing."

There is evidence that Daniel had 8 sons and 3 daughters. The boys lived together, worked together, migrated together, and fought together.

Daniel's brothers Jedediah and Uriah, according to Hempstead's Diary, also had brushes with the law. On Jan 19, 1733-4, it was related that he had to go to town to make bail for Jedediah Ashcraft, and on March 15, 1733-4 he was in court all day with Uriah Ashcraft was being tried for his life for murdering a stranger, Dennis Wilkenson. Uriah was acquitted.

Historical Note:
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, was formed in 1729. Cumberland County was formed from part of that in 1750. Bedford County was formed from part of that in 1771. Westmoreland County was formed in 1783 from the part of that which was west of the Youghiogheny River. (And some additional land east & northeast of the river was annexed in 1784.) There were settlers in the Fayette area as early as 1730, and in that early period settlers west of the Laurel Mountains considered themselves Virginians, as Virginia claimed that territory (a dispute later resolved in favor of Pennsylvania). Uniontown, Pennsylvania, seat of Fayette County, is only about 50 miles from Harrison County, West Virginia.

Notes for Elizabeth:
Her given name was certainly Elizabeth. Elizabeth Lewis(?). Born 1702 in Virginia. Her name is Lewis only by family tradition, but it was certainly Elizabeth. Also according to family tradition, she was a cousin of Col. Andrew Lewis and William Lewis, leaders at the Battle of Point Pleasant, . . . but that Lewis family has been very thoroughly researched, so this connection is most likely wishful thinking. [Neal, Ashcraft Family, p. 6, 8, 22].

Daniel married Elizabeth in 1723 in NJ? or PA?. Elizabeth was born in 1702 in West Virginia. She died in 1790 in West Virginia.

Ann Ohm and other researchers report that Elizabeth was born in 1702 in Virginia (West Virginia). She was English and a cousin to Colonel Andrew and William Lewis, brothers in the Revolutionary War, and that Elizabeth's grandparents were Andrew Lewis and Mary Calhoun. Elizabeth's father "was wealthy with much land and many slaves.” - No references have been given for this information except the Midland story (newspaper article printed in 1894 whose author often quotes Jonathan).