Wednesday, May 28, 2014



County Judge Herbert L. Ashby is the most illustrious living member of a family identified with Kentucky since the days of the Revolutionary War and specifically with Ohio County for more than one hundred years. Farmer and judge, he follows other members of the family who have tilled the soil and held public office simultaneously and, like them, he obtained his education, figuratively if not literally, like another celebrated native of the State, Abraham Lincoln, by the light of a fire from the family hearth. Dividing his time between the farm near  Rockport and Hartford, the seat of Ohio County, he has found time to take a leading place in civic and political affairs and other community activities, to serve as a member of the Ohio County Fiscal Court and to wage a long and successful fight for the improvement of the County’s roads. He has thus contributed immeasurably to the welfare and prosperity of all farmers and the entire rural area of the County as well as to the development of its cities and towns, Hartford not least of all. That he has won the gratitude of all the people there is attested by the high esteem in which he is held everywhere among them. Herbert L. Ashby was born on the farm he operates today, the farm on which his mother was born, near Rockport, on August 31, 1885. His father was William Thomas Ashby, born in the same County in 1840, who died in 1901. William Thomas Ashby, descended from Ashbys — among whom a Jesse Ashby figured prominently in virtually every generation — who served in most of the nation’s major wars, including the Revolutionary, and the War Between the States, was a farmer and mill owner. He came of a family which followed, though at a much later date, Boone into Kentucky from Virginia, Ashbys who came in a group of brothers with their wives, children and belongings and fought for their migration and safety with the Indians; one of the brothers was killed by the Redskins on the High River. One of the Jesse Ashbys who had played his part in pre-Revolutionary and Revolutionary history incurred the gratitude of Governor Benjamin Harrison of Virginia and the people of that Colony and State and was rewarded with 400 acres of Virginia land. Other members of the family later owned for years several thousand acres of Kentucky land. Herbert L. Ashby’s mother was Sally Mary Tichenor of the large and prominent Tichenor family. Four years after the farm
near Rockport was purchased in 1836, she was born there (1840) and lived there until her death in 1912 — in all seventy-two years. In 1851, she saw this farm increased by a sizeable addition of land purchased by her father. It is this larger farm which her son, the County Judge, operates today. There were nine children in the family.

Herbert L. Ashby went to school in his native Ohio County, but he had long before begun the self-education at home which he has continued all his life. From his earliest days, he worked with his father on the farm, never really interrupting this career.

In 1925, he was elected to the first of three terms as a member of the Ohio County Fiscal Court, serving with increasing distinction. In 1937, he again fully gave his attention to the farm, but in 1941, he was called back to public office, by being elected County Judge. He has thus served in two public offices in a County where his maternal grandfather, one of his predecessors in the ownership of the farm —Byron Tichenor — once served as the County’s first constable. When he was elected to the judgeship in 1941, Judge Ashby headed the ticket of all candidates, coming into office with a majority of 982. He is a Republican and a member of the Baptist Church. Judge Ashby has remained a bachelor throughout his useful career. Of the living members of his immediate family, C. W. Ashby, a brother, lives in Los Angeles, California; a sister, Verda Ashby, lives with him on the farm; another brother, Clarence M. Ashby, makes his home in New Castle, Indiana, and still another brother, Charles R. Ashby, resides in Detroit, Michigan. A fourth brother, Lewis Ashby, died in Leftbridge, Alberta, Canada, where he had been in business for many years, in 1932. Maggie Ashby, who married Nat Lindley, lives on a farm in Ohio County, Kentucky; Mary became Mrs. S. J. Tichenor, and lives in Detroit, Michigan, and Geneva Ashby married E. A. Smith and resides at Red Bay, Alabama.

Judge Ashby grows continually in the esteem of his fellow citizens, for as farmer, fighter for good roads and other public improvements and as dispenser of justice, his personality is felt throughout the area he serves. The area grows with him.

Source: A Sesqui-Centennial History of Kentucky; by Frederick A. Wallis. Published 1945.

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