Asher Family of Ross County, Ohio – Not mine but interesting none the less
It is commonly stated, on the Internet, that Alvin Asher, oldest son of Thomas Asher and his wife Sarah (?) was born in 1809 in Ohio. Usually the location given is Ross County, OH. No one on the Internet provides documentation for this statement, but it is plausible. The McLeland family, into which two of Thomas and Sarah’s daughters later married, followed a migration pattern that went North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio (very briefly) then Indiana, Kansas and Missouri. The Asher and McLeland cousins were apparently close enough to move to Allen County, Kansas as a group in 1858. So, I began looking for a evidence for a Thomas Asher residence in Ohio, specifically in Ross County. I developed a list of associates for Thomas and Sarah, in Wayne County, Indiana, that I hoped would help pinpoint an Ohio residence. The list included, Solomon Burkett/Burkit/Burket, the Ferguson surname and the Sumpter surname (based on a possible maiden name for Sarah taken from a Thomas Asher-Sarah Sumpter marriage in 1808 in Wayne County, Kentucky.) I quickly determined that there was in fact a Thomas Asher family in Ross County in 1820 on the federal census. And there was what appeared to be a Solomon Burkett family and a Ferguson family or two in the same township. However, our Thomas Asher was present in Wayne County, IN in 1820 where he bought land from Solomon Burkett and living next to a couple of Ferguson families and was enumerated on the Federal Census of Wayne County.
This wasn’t an insurmountable problem however, since in frontier communities such as Wayne County, IN, the census is notoriously behind schedule and it is not unheard of for an individual or family to appear on two census if they moved during an extended census period. However, the two Thomas Asher families weren’t exact matches, so I was suspicious. I turned to tax records for Ross County, a very useful source since they are annual records rather than decennial. Ross County tax records beginning in 1808 and they only cover land taxes, they don’t include chattel taxes (which are the only sources for young men with no land but who are paying poll tax in the county.) I assumed that if Thomas Asher did not show up, it would be because he as a young married man did not own land yet. In 1809 a Larkin Asher appeared in the Ross County records, but disappeared the next year. The next Asher to appear was Thomas. In 1820 Thomas Asher owned 160 acres in Ross County, of which 120 were unimproved. In 1821 there were no Ashers on the land tax lists and the list remained empty of Asher through 1825, the last year on the microfilmed records.
So I turned to land records. There I discovered that Thomas Asher was not the only Asher buying and selling land in Ross County in this period. There were Russel (sic) Asher and wife Hannah, Larkin Asher and wife ?, Neosoway Asher, Phebe Asher, and William Asher, all active in the deed records between 1805 and 1825. However, the deeds showed that the Thomas Asher of Ross County had wife Phebe.
I believe that none of these individuals are children of Thomas and Phebe Asher
Based on census evidence from the 1820-1850 Ohio Census – Thomas, Russel, Elizabeth, and Larkin are most likely siblings.
Russel (sic) (possibly Peter Russel) Asher was born c. 1775. He married wife Hannah Abrams, in Ross County on 30 October 1813
Thomas was born c. 1780 in Virginia where he apparently married Phebe. In the 1850 census they have 2 younger males surnamed Asher living in their household, all born Ohio and presumably their offspring.
Larkin Asher was born between 1775 and 1780, probably in Virginia. He is dead by 1850.
Elizabeth Asher, born between 1775 and 1784, married husband George Shank, in Ross County on 4 December 1813. George apparently died before 1840 when Elizabeth shows up in Pickaway County living next to Peter [Russel] Ahser. She is apparently deceased, or perhaps remarried by 1850.
All of the above and possibly a Mary Dickey are probably children of a William Asher of Virginia who shows up occasionally in the early court records of Ross County but who doesn’t appear to have owned land or resided permanently in the area.
There is absolutely no evidence connecting this family to Indiana at any point up to 1850. There is quite a bit of evidence connecting them to an Asher Family in Culpepper County, VA.
I’m therefore concluding that Thomas and Sarah Asher probably spent no time in Ohio, and definitely spent no time in Ross County, Ohio. Reviewing the evidence of Alvin Asher’s census records, I noted that he was often listed as born in North Carolina. This evidence would indicate a possible Tennessee or North Carolina connection for Thomas and Sarah but also calls into question any Kentucky residence.