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Remembers Village of Ash

The Village of Ash, is located in Monroe County, Missouri. It is situated eight miles east of Cairo, Missouri, on Route K. It is also eight miles northwest of Madison, Missouri, and can be reached by going three miles north of Madison on Route 151, to Route K, then go west five miles on Route K, to Ash.

Ash was settled around the 1820's. At one time, it had a population of some 200 people, and had two general stores, two churches (a Baptist and a Christian), blacksmith shop, grist mill, telephone office, post office, two doctors, and was the trade center for several surrounding farms. It has been said that you could buy anything from a sewing needle to high-wheeled wagon in Ash at one time.

During the depression and World War II, Ash dwindled to a population of only a few people and all the businesses were closed. The Christian Church was closed and the building torn down. Hickory Grove Baptist Church continued to have services on a part time basis until 1970, when it closed.   Rev. Ross Luntsford, a former member of the church, left his work in another part of the State in late summer, 1976, came to Ash, surveyed the community, and held a revival to reopen the church. Following the revival, the church called a part time pastor and continues to have services only part time (twice a month) to this date. It has no desire to expand or grow and has no desire to reach out, or to minister to the needs of the Ash community, which is growing in population.  

Today, Ash is on the rise again. Rev. Ross Luntsford and his family formed a family foundation in 1990, purchased 5.85 acres of land on the northwest corner of the crossroads at the center of the Village, and have developed a Park.  The Park has a 30' by 50' pavilion, complete with a kitchen and modern restrooms. It also is equipped with modern playground equipment.  It is used for private family reunions, church social functions, and other family activities.  Rev. Ross Luntsford and wife, Arlene, founded Bethel Baptist Church in July, 1996, built a new home, and are in the process of building a new church building. The population of the Village is now 19, with dozens of new families in the surrounding area.

 There are four cemeteries in the Ash community. Hickory Grove Cemetery in the Village of Ash; Hughes Cemetery, one mile north of Ash; Alexander Cemetery, two miles northeast of Ash; and the Ash Family Cemetery, one and a half miles southeast of Ash.   These cemeteries have fallen into disrepair over the years for lack of maintenance and lack of funds. Recently, a group of local interested citizens founded a Nonprofit Corporation for the purpose of raising money and promoting the care and maintenance of these cemeteries.

Generously Submitted by: Rev. Ross Luntsford-----September 25, 1999

Additional History of Ash

Cecy Rice is the great granddaughter of William Preston ASH, the man who had the Post Office in the town that was named ASH for him and his family. I thought I would send you some information on ASH. Cecy Taylor Rice Robert ASH (b.1794 Hardin Co, KY - d. 1875 Monroe Co, MO) and his wife Mary Kessinger ASH came to Howard County, MO in 1822. He first bought land in Randolph Co, MO (then Howard Co, MO). However in the years 1832, 1835, 1837, 1838 and 1839 he bought original land patents in Monroe Co, MO from the U.S. Government. The land was located in Section 32 Township 55 Range 12, a total of 240 acres. (I have the original land patent issued to Robert Ash). This is the land the town of Ash, the Ash home and Ash family cemetery are on. Robert had a brother George ASH (b.1800 Hardin Co, KY, d. Monroe Co, MO) who married Mary's sister, Naomi Kessinger. They also came first to Randolph County, MO and then to Monroe Co. MO. George filed land patents for Monroe County land in Section 6 Township 54 Range 12 and Sections 31 and 32 Township 55 Range 12. This is the land the Baptist Church and Cemetery are on. The town of Ash was named for William Preston ASH (b.1843 Monroe Co, MO, d. 1913 Monroe Co, MO) son of Robert and Mary Kessinger ASH After he grew up, he started a store that became the Ash Post Office - hence the name of the town ASH. One of his daughters, Pauline Ash Frank wrote Dorothy Ash Taylor, one of William and Mary's granddaughters and my mother, a letter telling what she remembered about ASH. It does not completely agree with the other stories of ASH and I do not know which is true.

Text in ( ) are my comments. The letter follows: ASH TOWN 1972 - letter from Pauline Ash Frank - "Yes, my father (William P. Ash) was born in Ash, as was his three brothers and seven sisters. After my father married he lived for two years with his parents. At that time he was teaching school in the home district, then he and mother moved into a two room house which he built a short distance from his parents. This same house is the one where all the children were born and to which he periodically added rooms as the family increased until the ultimate consisted of eleven rooms centered in the middle of a six hundred acre farm. Somewhere along the line, together with his other duties, he conceived the idea of building a general store with living quarters on top. This he located a quarter of mile from the house at the strategic point where the roads crossed and this is where the little town of ASH came into being. The population was very small, of course, for it only had eight residences, but on Saturdays the crowds would compare favorably with towns fifty times its size and it did a very lucrative business. Besides the general store the town boasted of two churches (Christian & Baptist) a cemetery, two blacksmith shops, a drug store and last but not least a Post Office! O. O. ASH (son of William P. and Hester Wilson ASH and Dorothy Ash Taylor's father) began his medical practice in the drug store and roomed above the store. Later he built a new drug store. This all happened or had its inception before I was born but I can well remember being carried back and forth from our house to the town by my brothers O. O. Ash and Frank (Bud) Ash. This went on through the years until my legs almost touched the ground. O. O. (he was a doctor) made his way with very little financial assistance, with what I gleaned from members of the family, but I recall when he and mother use to laugh about the times when she would hurry thru her chores so she could go to the field and take a turn at the plow in order for him to sit at the end of the rows and study. When he (O. O. Ash) took his practice to Moberly, that was the swan song for the little town of Ash but his patients, for the most part, loyally followed him there. The only land mark left in Ash is the original Baptist Church and cemetery. The old homesteads belonging to both our father (William P. Ash) and grandfather (Robert E. Ash) burned. I remember them both quite well. The old slaves lived with our grandparents until they were too old to work, then father moved his parents to a little house in Ash and took the colored slave, after her husband died, to a three room house in Madison and provided for her until her death. Our grandparents are buried in a private cemetery about a mile or so east of the Church. Several years ago Ashley (her brother) had an iron fence built around it and it should still be in fairly good shape. It was just across the road from where my grandparents lived (Robert and Mary Ash). Of course your grandparents (William P and Hester Wilson Ash) are buried in Madison. The only member of the family who was buried in the cemetery behind the Baptist Church was my sister Ola who died quite young and her body was removed and placed in the Madison Cemetery" (end of letter)