Monday, June 26, 2017

Notes From My Grandmother | Ashby Lineage and Genealogy, Part 3

Somehow, much of my grandmother's hand written and (badly) typed notes and research wound up in my possession. Traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles and back to Chicago again. It sat, in the dark of my mother's closet, until my dad passed and my mom decided to begin her great purge. Knowing I had picked up the torch, the next generation to pursue the Greatest Hobby on Earth, the papers came to live with me. Unsure for many years on just what to do with them, I have decided to bring them out and share them with you - transcribed, of course - no one can read my grandmother's handwriting! But in her own words; mistakes, rambling sentences, and all. I think she will be pleased her work and her writing are once again out in the light.

Grandma didn't write a story about the Ashbys. At least not one that I found in my collection. She incorporated some of her research in other family lines and just left typed bios and snippets in her "Ashby" envelope. I will share the contents over the next few weeks - and add the genealogy as I have come to know it.

Ashby Family misc, con't ........

Priscilla B Ashby was the second child and second daughter of the seven Ashby children born to Jesse Ashby and his wife Elizabeth Hays Wilson. Her biography reads as follows:

Mrs Priscilla B Twining Nonagenarian
This Good Lady Is Nearly 92 Years Old and Has Been a Resident of Iowa Since 1839

We this week present the likeness of Mrs Priscilla B Twining. She is well known to most Adams county people as was also her husband, who resided in this city previous to his death in 1897. Her maiden name was Priscilla B Ashby, and she was the daughter of Jesse Ashby, who died in 1879 at the advanced age of 92 years. It will thus be seen that Mrs Twining comes from a long lived stock. She was born in Preston County, Virginia, July 18, 1817, and is at present time almost 92 years of age. For some time after her birth her father owned a plantation in the "Cheat River country" of Virginia. At a later date, 1828, he removed with his family to Ohio, from which state he came in 1839 to Iowa, settling in Washington County where he resided 37 years. It was here that Mrs Twining became acquainted with her future husband, Rev E W Twining, a Methodist itinerant minister, to whom she married August 28, 1849. One son, Jesse L Twining, of this city was the issue of this union, and Grandma Twining makes her home with this son in Corning at the present time, tenderly cared for by her son and his family.

After their marriage, Mrs Twining and her husband made their home in Washington for a season and later in various places, as is the case in the ministerial life. Mr Twining had assignments at Des Moines, Iowa City and other important places beside being presiding elder of the Muscatine district. From the character of these assignments it will be seen he was regarded as one of the most prominent Methodist divines in the Hawkeye state.

As the wife of an itinerant minister, Mrs Twining has had quite an interesting experience with the frontier life of Iowa, especially in and around Washington and Des Moines. Mr Twining had the latter charge in 1856, preaching in the church where now stands the magnificent Iowa Loan and Trust building.

The family remained in Des Moines for five years and Mrs Twining remembers well when the capital was removed from Iowa City to that place. She also remembers the big war dance participated in by about 500 Indians on the "commons" where the court house and many of the largest business blocks of Des Moines now stand.

Necessarily the record of her life is very much identified with that of her husband, who was more than ordinarily successful in the ministerial field. When advanced age made it necessary for him to retire from active duties of the ministry, he and Mrs Twining came to this city, where they made their home in 1876. Rev Mr Twining was one of the most active gentleman interested in the founding of Cornell College, at Mount Vernon, Iowa, and it is said he personally secured the first teacher for the institution. He died on May 24, 1897, at the advanced age of 84 years, and since that time Grandma Twining has made her home with her son.

Mary Ashby, sister of Mrs Twining and the oldest child in the family taught the first school ever held in Washington, Iowa over 65 years ago, when only a few settlers had squatted on the prairies of Iowa. The school house was a log cabin; her pupils sat on benches hewn out of logs, in front of a fireplace, and wrote with goose quill pens, with ink made from indigo. Mrs Twining's has been an eventful life, and in her old age it is a pleasure for friends and loved ones to minister to her, and in some small measure recompense for the great service her life has been to her family and to the world.

We have remarked upon the coincidence of her birthday anniversary and that of Rev Father Rowley, father of Mrs J L Twining, being on the same day. Both old folks live in the same home and each succeeding year sees a celebration of the event. Ms Twinning is one year the senior of Father Rowley.

~March 31, 1909

Priscilla B Ashby Twining b. July 18, 1817 d. September 2, 1911
Corning, IA

.......... END ..........

©2017 Anne Faulkner -, All Rights Reserved

©1950-82 Elizabeth Twining Potwin Thomas - private collection


  1. are your ashbys from quenby hall england

    I am trying to do some searches for that line.

    thank you.

    best, sandra hill

    1. I don't know - I've only got back as far as 1744 Virginia - seems to be a bit of a brick wall for me ...