John W. Ashby was born in Fauquier County, VA, the son of Marshall Ashby (1798-1850) and his wife, Lucinda Cocke (1806-1878). He attended the University of Virginia in session 25 (1848-1849), and earned his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in the class of 1850. He settled in Culpeper County, VA, and practiced as a doctor in Fredericksburg, VA. (S. Bassett French)
In 1859, he married Agnes Gordon Taylor (1832-1864), and they had one child, John Taylor Ashby.
On 30 Apr. 1861, Dr. Ashby enlisted as a private in Company C of the 7th Infantry Regiment, Virginia. He was discharged for a promotion on 17 Sep. 1861, and commissioned and promoted to Full Assistant Surgeon in Company S, 56th Infantry Regiment, Virginia, on 11 Oct. 1861. He was promoted to Full Surgeon on 2 Apr. 1862. (American Civil War Soldiers) His brother Henry Marshall Ashby was a colonel and his first cousin Turner Ashby was a general in the Confederate army. (Allardice)
In its 6 Dec. 1867 issue, the Native Virginian (Orange County, Va.) newspaper quotes the Alexandria Gazette (Alexandria, Va.) thus,
“Dr. John Washington Ashby, of Culpeper, Va., but for a short time after the close of the war a resident of this city [Alexandria, VA], died on the 7th ult., in Bolivar county, Miss., of congestive fever, after an illness of only twenty-four hours. Dr. Ashby was a p[r]ominent surgeon in the Confederate services; was a bright mason, and during his short residence in this city made many friends, who will be grieved to hear of his sudden death.”
It is unclear from the source in which month the quoted issue of the Alexandria Gazette appeared; a copy of that issue has not yet been located. Therefore, the death date of 7 Sep. 1867 as opposed to 7 Oct. or 7 Nov. is conjecture.
His name appears on a memorial monument in the Ashby Family Cemetery in Fauquier County, Virginia, but his body does not seem to have been buried there.
Thanks to Steven Lee Ritchie, who shared his knowledge of John Washington Ashby with me.
- Allardice, Bruce S. More generals in gray. Baton Rouge, LA, 1995, p. 22-23.
- Ancestry.com. 1850-1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
- “Ashby, John Washington.” In S. Bassett French Biographical Sketches, sheet 231. Library of Virginia (Accessed 12/15/2011).
- Crozier, William Armstrong. The Buckners of Virginia and the allied families of Strother and Ashby. New York, 1907. (Accessed via books.google.com)
- General Alumni Society, University of Pennsylvania. General alumni catalogue of the University of Pennsylvania, 1922. Philadelphia, PA, 1922, p.521. (Accessed via books.google.com)
- Historical Data Systems, comp. American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 1999.
- “State News.” Native Virginian (Orange C.H., Va.), 6 Dec. 1867, p. 2.
- Tombstones of Ashby family in Ashby Family Cemetery, Fauquier County, VA. Findagrave.com (Accessed 11/6/2011).