croquet on the lawn about 1890Lawn croquet on Main Street about 1905

History Happening Now

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The Ashby Historical Society has embarked on a project to restore, preserve and transcribe some of our most valuable documents. This has begun with the restorationof an 1781 broadside sent to the Ashby Selectmen from the Massachusetts House of Representatives requesting more troops for the Continental Army. The restoration is being provided by Northeast Document Conservation Center and is being funded by the 250th Anniversary Committee.

Memories of Ashby coverA second document, Memories of Ashby 1850 by Geoge Hitchcock, has been profesionally imaged and awaits funding for restoration. The The 18 page handwritten manuscript has an hand sewn binding and cloth cover. It was written about 1906 by George Hitchcock recalling growing up in Ashby in the 1850's. It includes Mr. Hitchcock's 1850 map of Ashby. This is a unique piece of work realted to Ashby. The binding is coming apart and the paper is fragile.

Edwin Chapman photoThe Autobiography of Edwin Chapman has been transcribed from an earlier typewritten copy. In this multipage document Edwin Chapman recounts his arrival in Ashby as a child, his service in the Civil War, his marriage to an Ashby woman, building a business in Boston and his eventual return to Ashby. Following his return to Ashby he built and donated the original library building to the town. Mr. Chapman gives us an insight into everyday life in Ashby from 1856 to 1870 and again in the early 20th century. His is a truly inspiring rags to riches story from a man who adopted Ashby as his home. The Edwin Chapman Autobiography will be published this summer.

Excerpts from the Autobiography will be included in the next four issues of the Society's newsletter, Ashby Historic Times. To subscribe, join the Society. Copies can also be purchased at the Ashby Market.


The flag pole is returning to the front of the Old Engine House. Some will remember the flag pole mounted on the front of the OEH stading about 10 feet above the top of the roof. The 250th Celebration Committee, your Historical Society and the Ashby Fire Department are committed to returning it to it place of prominence on the building. Our target date is the week of March 7,2018 being the 251st anniversary of the incorporation of Ashby. We still have the original pole which is made from a small tree with the bark removed. The Fire Department has volunteered to hoist the pole into place. The 250th Celebration Committee will engage an electrician to provide appropriate lighting and the Historical Society will be painting the pole and providing the hardware.

The Ashby Historical Society will be opening our display on a regular basis in May of this year. The Society collection includes objects, images and documents revealing Ashby's history over the past 200 plus years. If you have never experienced the collection this summer is the time to do so. We don't have room to display everything so the exhibit will change every few months. On permanent display are the Fire Department's two original fire engines, the 1845 "Watatic" and the 1852 "Samuel Gates". The schedule has not been finalized so stop back here, follow us on Facebook or join the Society to receive updates.

Books on Ashby

"Ashby Appeteasers" reprint of the original by Ashby Historical Society

This classic cookbook is hand written and illustrated by the family cooks of Ashby in 1950.

"Images of America: Ashby" by the Ashby Historical Society

Over 100 pages of historic photographs of Ashby places and people at work and play. Many have never before published.

"1875 Ashby Map" reprinted by the Ashby Historical Society

A reprint of the 1875 Ashby map on heavy stock.

Join the Society

Membership is inexpensive and easy and helps preserve your community's past. Join in Society projects, get involved and join the Board of Directors or just kick back and know you've helped preserve the memory and artifacts of those who built our community. Join