Fort Ashby in the Youghiogheny Glades page 3
pastures, and the excellent hunting grounds. Riding slowly forth, he realized the slope was so gentle they had in reality come out upon a farflung plain. The horses cantered along the luxuriant, waist-deep grasses. As he rode along, Ashby listened to the brooks babbling down toward the river, and noted the dark green trees in the groves, contrasting with the brilliant green of the grasses of the great glades.
When he returned home, William carried in his mind a compelling picture of the beauty and fertility of the Youghiogheny Glades. Small wonder, then, to find him four years later in 1774, heading a caravan of forty-two families moving westward over the same route. Their objective was Ohio and Kentucky, where they hoped to join Boone, Ashby and other pioneers.
It was a long, hard and slow journey through the dense forests. Unchartered mountains were climbed, and rushing highland rivers forded. A way must be found through the tangled woods. The men forged the way with their axes and guns, followed by the older children driving the domestic animals. Then came the horses packed with pots, pans, bedding, and other articles, followed by the women and children.
Upon arriving in the glades, the expedition paused to rest and repair gear and weapons in preparation for the remainder of the journey.
The gleams of their campfires flickered like a will-o-the-wisp through the forest gloom. Unfortunately one night while the happy families were feasting on venison, a ranger from the west brought disturbing news. The Indian tribes, he reported, beginning another of their periodic wars against the white "invaders", were burning and pillaging settlements from the mountain tops to the "dark and bloody ground" in Kentucky. This proved to be the prelude to Lord Dunmore's War (1774).
Some of the families decided to continue the journey, but others more prudently felt they should remain in the glades until more favorable reports were received. It is not certain how many proceeded. However most remained behind. As frequently happens, the decision of a woman probably carried the day. She was Sarah (Williams) Ashby, wife of William Walton.
According to the story as told by Dorsey Ashby, who heard it from his grandfather, William (son of William and Sarah), Sarah Ashby refused to go farther, saying she had followed Indians all her life and would run after them no more, declaring this mountain country was good enough for her. The mother of this strong-willed woman was Winifred Williams, of Hampshire County, Virginia, born 1718, died 1791.
Sarah Ashby gave her husband a choice: He could either continue with the party to Kentucky, and she would take her two horses and the
Rev. J. C. Breuninger
Ruth Enlow Library, Oakland
22 x 15 cms
Editor: Felix G. Robinson
Western Maryland, 1750-1963