The town of Ashland was formed by an act of the legislature in 1867, taken from Southport. The principal village in the township is Wellsburg, and a station on the N. Y. Lake E. R. R., Lehigh Valley, and the D. L. & W. R. R. It contains some of the finest alluvial soils in the valley.
The township has become famous on account of the battle which was fought within its limits in 1779. A monument was erected in 1879, and dedicated with great and appropriate ceremonies. Among the distinguished persons present upon that occassion were Gen. William T. Sherman, Governor Harry M. Hoyt and staff of Pennsylvania, and the Governor of New Hampshire, George W. Clinton of Buffalo, nephew of Dewitt Clinton, Hon. Hiram Gray, and thousands of other distinguished citizens. Addresses were made by Hon. Ellis H. Roberts, Rev. David Craft, of Wyalusing, Pa. Gen. Sherman, Gov. Hoyt, Gov. Rice, and George W. Clinton, Hon. Hiram Gray, a poem recited by Ausburn Towner, Hon. Guy H. McMaster, and a letter read by Hon. Hiram Gray from Hon. Horatio Seymour, in fact it was a great event in the history of Chemung valley.
Inscription upon the monument:
Near this spot
On sunday the 29th day of august, 1779,
The forces under joseph brant were met and defeated by the
Americans under the command of
MAJOR GENERAL JOHN SULLIVAN.
Early settlers, Green Bentley, Abner Wells, Henry Wells, Ebenezer Green, Henry Baldwin, Jacob Comfort, Abner Kelsey, Jesse Carpenter, John Hillman, Caleb Baker, Isaac Baldwin, Samuel Middaugh, James McKean, John Hillman, Wilkes Jenkins, Ferdinand Coffee, Thomas Keeney, David Burt, Nathan Roberts.
The first town meeting held for the town of Ashland was held at the "Wellsburg Exchange" in the village of Wellsburg, May 14, 1867. Officers elected were Richard C. Lockwood, supervisor; William E. Halstead, town clerk; Lyman Lowman, Hiram Roushy, justices of the peace; Alfred Searles, George Rodgers, commissioners of highways; Reuben E. Moss, John Fincher, overseers of the poor; William Hanmer, collector; James Carpenter, Israel O. Scudder, assessors; William Hanmer, Roswell R. Moss, William Woodhouse, Michael Roushey, Lawrence Mathews, constables.
--The first school house was erected in 1803.
--The first death was Stephen Kent March 21, 1791.
--The first saw mill was built by Isaac Baldwin, in 1799.
--The first house was built by Green Bentley, in 1789.
--The first school was taught by Caleb Baker, in 1803.
--Cultivation of tobacco in Ashland commenced in 1858.
--The first tavern was keep by William Baldwin, in 1798.
--The first church was erected by the Baptist society, in 1812.
--The first store was opened by Abner and Henry Wells, in 1791.
--Green Bentley was the first settler in 1788. He was a revolutionary soldier.
--The first supervisor of the town of Ashland was Richard C. Lockwood, in 1867.
--Jud Smith was supervisor for several terms, sheriff of the county in 1867, and chairman of the board of supervisors in 1874.
--Christ Episcopal Church organized in 1869, during the ministry of Rev. William T. Hitchcock. Church erected in 1869, and consecrated in November 1870.
--Wellsburg was named in honor of Henry Wells, an early settler. It was organized under a special act of the legislature, August 28, 1872. Its first officers were President, James P. O'Brien; trustees, William Hanmer, Benjamin Herman, William C. Halstead; treasurer, Hiram W. Young; collector, Stephen B. Herman; inspectors of election, Mathew Fincher, William C. Halstead. It is a brisk and active village, containing about seven hundred inhabitants. The village is surrounded by a splendid agricultural district, and is the center of considerable trade.
--The Wellsburg Baptist Church known by various names, was organized
Sept. 2, 1785, Rev. Roswell Goff was established as minister, Feb. 3, 1791. In 1812, a church was erected. The first trustees were Abner Wells, Stephen Brown, Jesse More, Henry Wells, Jacob Comfort, David Burt.
--Methodsit [sic] Episcopal Church was organized in 1839. Class Leader, Henry Watson; Members, Henry Watson and Clarissa his wife, Jerusha Comfort, Elizabeth Brown, Leslie Brown, Betsey Brown, Silas Simpkins, Elizabeth Simpkins, Jesse Simpkins and wife. First minister, Rev. Charles David, church erected in 1849.