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Fort Ashby in the Youghiogheny Glades page 2

Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


But while never surrendering, the change of the fort's name, from "Frankfort" to "Ashby," might be considered the result of a "retreat."

According to one report: "Among marauding parties hanging around the fort was an unusually tall, long-legged Indian, whom the English nicknamed 'the Crane'. This Indian, for some unknown reason, held a personal grudge against Captain John Ashby, and was determined to do away with him, either by outright killing or capture. 'The Crane's' opportunity came one day when he discovered the Captain unarmed some distance from the fort. Ashby fled for his life, with the Indian close behind. But the fleet-footed Crane found himself no match for the terrified Captain. Finally, the savage gave up in disgust yelling, 'Run, Jack Ashby, run!' To which the Captain angrily replied, 'You fool, what do you think I'm doing—do you think I run booty?'" (with boots.)

Undoubtedly, this was the John Ashby who years later came through the Youghiogheny Glades with a retinue of pioneers, on his way to Kentucky. There must be some reason to believe that he and William Walton (Wilton) Ashby, who also came from the same section of Virginia, were kinfolk. Thus the two forts were named for two different men of the same family, and have often been confused.

The one in West Virginia, a military fort, has been preserved. The one I am writing about, a pioneer fort on top of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Maryland, has not. Like most of those sturdy oaken bastions, the years have witnessed its disappearance. It was not protected from the ravages of the elements, and has rotted and blown away.

The Ashbys of the fort on Patterson Creek have left no oral tradition as they moved to Kentucky; however, the story of Fort Ashby on the Youghiogheny Glades has come down orally through the direct descendants of its builder.

In 1770, John and William Ashby and friends rode over the mountains into the "back country." The company travelled from John Ashby's home up through the mountains over a trail first used by woodbuffalo herds before Samuel McCullough, the Indian trader, gave it a name.

When the party arrived in what is now Garrett County, William was pleasantly surprised by the smooth, rich quality of the high upland

"The ancient castle of Ashby in Leicestershire, England is first mentioned as Asebi in the days of Edward The Confessor (1042-1066)" Minnie Phillips Hinebaugh.

In a biography of William Shakespeare by Iris Noble (Julian Messner, N. Y. 1961) we learn that Mary Arden brought as a dowry to John Shakespeare the Asbie land-holdings. Financial misfortune made it necessary for John to mortgage Asbies. When their famous son, William Shakespeare, reaped a fortune as a playwright one of the first things he did was to pay off the mortgage on Asbies and return it to his father.


Rev. J. C. Breuninger

Summer 1963

Collection Location:
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland

Original Size:
22 x 15 cms

Editor: Felix G. Robinson

Maryland, History

Western Maryland, 1750-1963

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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