Mumbet and the Ashley House

Tradition has it that the Sheffield Declaration of 1773, a statement of grievances against English rule, was drafted in Colonel Ashley’s study and that Ashley’s black servant, Mumbet, whetted her hunger for freedom on liberal ideas she overheard at the meeting. It was in this house that Mumbet served as a slave owned by Colonel John Ashley and took the blow Hannah Ashley meant for ‘Lizzy’ (folklore says was Mumbet’s sister, while scholars say ‘Lizzy’  was Mumbet’s daughter) with her arm. In a 1781 trial, Mumbet won her freedom and left this house forever. The Ashley House is available for viewing by the public.

Colonel John Ashley House, 1735 Ashley Falls, Massachusetts National Natural Landmark The Trustes of Reservations
Interior of the Ashley House

The Sackett Cemetery, also called the Ashley Falls Cemetery, which is located on Clayton Road in Ashley Falls, MA., there is a monument to Colonel John Ashley who died in 1802 (this monument also is in memory of his son and grandson erected in 1882 by the only surviving child of Maj. William Ashley, Jane Pelletreau Ashley, wife of William G. Bates of Westfield, MA.)  However, Colonel Ashley is not buried in the Sackett Cemetery but instead his grave and his wife, Hannah, are buried in in the Sheffield cemetery just south of Sheffield on the east side of Route 7.

John Ashley and Hannah Ashley graves, Sheffield, Massachusetts