John Sherrington Ashton Jr.(1837-1864)
John Sherrington Ashton III (1858-1937)
So where should we start my tale about the Ashton family. How about with a quick story about the start of my genealogical research. My first experience with genealogy was when I went with my mother in law to the Trenton Archives for the first time. The only thing that I remember about that day is that I found the death certificate for my great-great grandfather. The second John. Sherrington Ashton.
THe Death of John Sherrington Ashton II
The family story I had always heard was he was coming off of the ferry in Beverly had a fight and someone stabbed and killed him with his own sword. When I found the death certificate that day the cause of death was listed as “knife wound in chest”. So potentially at least part of the story was true. He was stabbed and killed.
Many years later, when my wife and I started our major genealogy research, I discovered another tidbit about his death. Beverly Monument Cemetery records show John was originally buried in the Larzalere cemetery in Bensalem Pennsylvania. Based on that fact I believe it’s logical to think that he was killed in Pennsylvania. That fact may support the story, he was killed while getting off of Dunks ferry. While I have searched I have never been able to find any newspaper articles about John’s death.
John and New Jersey’s 23rd Regiment
John was twenty-seven at the time of his death. During the Civil war, he was a member of Company G of New Jersey’s 23rd regiment. He became a Sargent in the ambulance corps and was at the Battle of Fredericksburg.
The 23rd Regiment was known for the drunkenness of its members. I read somewhere that the reason for the delay in building the Union pontoon bridges over the Rappahannock River during the Battle of Fredericksburg was that the soldiers of the 23rd Regiment were drunk! From Wikipedia:
When the 23rd New Jersey’s first commander, Colonel John S. Cox, resigned to prevent a court-martial for drunkenness in November 1862, the new commander, Col. Henry O. Ryerson (the former Lieutenant Colonel of the 2nd New Jersey Volunteer Infantry), reviewed the regiment, and disparagingly called them “Yahoos”, due to their less than military demeanor and irreverence. The men of the regiment took to the sobriquet, emblazoning it on their regimental flag, and called themselves Yahoos for the rest of their lives
Serving along with John in the 23rd Regiment two of his brother-in-laws Frank and Edmund Parezo.
Civil War Pension Records Lead to an Unknown Great-Aunt
Because he was a veteran, one of the first things i did was order both his military records and pension records from the National Archives.
When i received the pension, I learned that my great-grandfather had a sister! I always thought bthat John was the first and only child of John Ashton and Mary Parezo ( Parezo is pronounced an Anglican version of Pariseau). John was born in 1857 in Beverly. In 1870 he would have been 12 or 13 and still possibly living with his mother. Neither he nor Mary were listed in the Beverly census in 1860 or Burlington. I did however find him in the Beverly census in the 1880 census living with George Wilkinson a mill engineer. I was puzzled!
A Search for John in 1870 ends in Newark,NJ?
A while later, while researching at the Gloucester County historical society I was looking at the index of the 1870 New Jersey census and John in Newark. NJ!! According to that census, John is living with William O Lyon and wife Mary C. John Ashton is 12 and Mary C. Is 8. Subsequently I discovered that Mary married William O Lyons, Philadelphia in 1869. Why they moved to Newark I don’t know. They must not lived very long in Newark because when Mary died in 1875 they were in Philadelphia.
Although, Mary was living in Philadelphia when she died, she is buried in Monument Cemetery in Beverly. But she is not buried next to John. Additionally there is no tombstone on her grave so it’s hard to locate exactly.
John Marries Mary Warwick, then Maggie McCloskey
In 1881 John married Mary E Warwick . They had six children Mary Catherine (1882) William Lewis, (1884), Edward (1885) Blanche (1886) Horace (1889) and Alice Matilda (1890). Mary died in 1&92.
John remarried Margaret Agnes McCloskey on January 20,1994. They had four children Violet (1&96), Myrtle (1898) John Sherrington (1900) my grandfather and Madeline (1902)
My mother only knew one of the children from the marriage of John to Mary Warwick. My mom knew William as “Uncle Bill”. She said he lived in Pennsylvania, near the Devon horse show. One reason that she only knew one of William’s brothers and sisters was that Horace died as an infant, and Blanche and Edward both died young well before my mother was born.
But what happened to Mary Catherine and Alice Matilda? Thanks to DNA testing and Ancestry.com I was able to find out!! And you’ll find out in my next post!
Featured Image:John Sherrington Ashton III
P.s. I was going to include two scans with this post, but I couldn’t work out the sizes. I am going to make pages instead, so check back soon. -Thanks Ed