I Don’t Know-a for Sure – a blog about Noah Ashley and Rebecca Reynolds

Map - Plymouth County Massachusetts

Map – Plymouth County Massachusetts

Noah Ashley and Rebecca Reynolds are my fifth great grandparents.  They are my mother’s mother’s father’s mother’s mother’s father’s parents LOL!!

According to an entry in Ashleys of America (Vol II, No. 3), Noah Ashley was born on 14 Apr 1747 in Rochester, Plymouth County, Massachusetts (USA).

I haven’t been able to find any supporting documentation to prove that this is the correct date of birth for Noah though.

But he is the son of Jethro Ashley and Elizabeth Holmes.

As well, I haven’t found any proof of exactly when and where Noah married — but he married Rebecca Reynolds, daughter of Nehemiah Reynolds and Mary Palmer.

question markThere is conflicting information about when Rebecca was born.  The entry in the Ashleys of America article (see link above) says that she was born on 22 Apr 1754 in Filkinton, Dutchess County, New York (USA).  Other on-line family trees have her date of birth as 10 Jun 1752.

I couldn’t find an original birth document for either date!!

But there is LOTS of information and documentation for the ancestors of Rebecca Reynolds!!  Like the Ashleys, there is even a family association for the Reynolds family.  The Reynolds Family Association was organized in 1892 and still holds annual family reunions to this day!!

Someday I’ll write detailed blogs about the ancestors of Rebecca Reynolds but, for now, here are some of the publications, etc. that are on-line about the Reynolds genealogy.  This is her Reynolds line:

Rebecca -> Nehemiah -> Joseph -> Jonathan -> John (the emigrant)

Genealogy and Family History of Southern New York

Genealogy & Family History of Southern New York

Robert Reynolds Family History Website

Robert Reynolds Family History Website

The History and Descendants of John and Sarah Reynolds

The History and Descendants of John and Sarah Reynolds

Noah and Rebecca had 12 children.  The following are their names, with their dates of birth as listed in Ashleys of America: (note:  as of the date of this blog, I have not searched to find the original birth documents and to verify that the dates are correct!)

  • Nicholas  (b: 25 Jun 1771)
  • Stephen (b: 1 Jun 1773)
  • Albania  (b: 5 Apr 1775)
  • James (b: 14 May 1777)
  • Jabez (b: 20 Sep 1779)
  • Patience (b: 11 Dec 1781)
  • Alden (b: 6 Mar 1783) – my great, great, great, great grandfather
  • Rebecca (b: 6 Dec 1785)
  • Noah (b: 18 Oct 1787)
  • Abraham (b: 14 Jul 1789)
  • Elizabeth (b: 17 Sep 1791)
  • Joseph (b: 31 Mar 1795)

All of the children were born in Chatham, Columbia County, New York (USA).

Map - Chatham Columbia County New YorkI found several references which said that Noah was one of the early settlers of Rayville, which is a hamlet in the northeast part of the town of Chatham (Columbia County).

Very close to Rayville is another place called “Ashley Hills”.

I’m not sure exactly where Noah and his family lived but it is in this environs.

Newpaper Article - Friends Meeting House in Rayville

Friends Meeting House in Rayville To Be Restored

There was several families of Quakers who lived in Rayville, but I have not found any “evidence” that Noah Ashley was a Quaker.  However, several of his family members married Quakers.

In a publication called, Columbia County at the End of the Century ( (complied by H. Perry Smith), in Vol 1 on page 543, it says, “Before the close of the Revolution (1775-1783), a Friends’ Meeting was established at Rayville. The Finch, Reynolds, Wilbor, Mosher, Coffin, Swain, Barnard, Ray, Gardner, Smith and Cornell families constituted a greater portion of the Meeting.”

An actual Quaker Meeting House was not built in Rayville until 1800 (click on the newpaper article for more info!).

As noted in a previous blog, before 1850, the U.S. census lists only the name of the head of household, along with the number of males and females in the household in each age category.  So it’s difficult to determine if you have the correct family.

But I think these are the census entries for Noah and his family for 1790, 1800 and 1810.

1790 Census - Noah Ashley

1790 Census (Canaan, Columbia County, New York) –
Noah Ashley

  • 5 males under 16: James, Jabez, Alden, Noah, Abraham
  • 3 males over 16: Noah, Nicholas, Stephen
  • 4 females: Rebecca, Albania, Patience, Rebecca
1800 Census - Noah Ashley

1800 Census (Chatham, Columbia County) –
Noah Ashley

3 males under 10: Joseph, Abraham,  Noah? (actually about 13 years old)
3 males 16-25: Alden, Jabez, James
1 male 45 or over: Noah
1 female under 10: Elizabeth
2 females 10-15: Rebecca, ?
1 female 16-25: Patience
1 female 45 or over: Rebecca

1810 Census - Noah Ashley

1810 Census (Chatham, Columbia County, New York) –
Noah Ashley

1 male 26 -44: ?
1 male 45 or over: Noah
1 female 16-25: ?
1 female 45 or over: Rebecca

According to information provided by Gerald Ashley Cooper (the great, great, great grandson of Noah and Rebecca) , Noah and Rebecca both died in Chatham — Noah on 2 Oct 1815 and Rebecca on 8 Aug 1822.  They are likely buried in the small cemetery which is on the farm owned by Noah’s son, Alden.  More about Alden and the farm in the next blog!

Noah’s will was probated on 30 Oct 1815 and filed with the Office of Surrogate of Columbia County, Hudson, New York (USA).

Last Will and Testament  - Noah Ashley

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One Response to I Don’t Know-a for Sure – a blog about Noah Ashley and Rebecca Reynolds

  1. Pingback: Alden Ashley, son of Noah, son of Jethro, son of Joseph | In Search of My Ancestors

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