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Biography

Solomon Ashline was a transplanted New Yorker who came to live in Vermont late in life, if you call being fifty late in life. By 18th century standards, it was a lot closer to old age than it would be by today's averages.

Solomon was the son of Lewis (aka Louis) Ashline (1807-1889) and Frances (aka Fanny, Fannie) Polin (aka Poland, Poulin) (1809-1877) [1] Solomon was born on July 6, 1841 in Champlain, New York. [2] He came from a very large family. He had three sisters and six brothers. Mary was the oldest girl, born 1832, with Sophie following closely in 1835. Rosalie (also nicknamed Fanny) was the last girl born in 1848. The oldest brother Solomon had was Joseph, born in 1840. Solomon came the following year, 1841 followed in rapid succession by Louis (1843) and Peter in 1846. After being interrupted by the birth of their sister, Rosalie, three more brothers arrived in short order: Jacob in 1849; Theophilus in 1852; and, finally, Samuel born in 1854. [3]

In 1850, Louis Ashline with his wife and children were still living in Champlain, New York. Solomon was nine years old and living with six of his eight brothers and sisters who had been born in Champlain by that time. [4] By 1860, the last of the Ashline's, Theophilus and Samuel joined the family still living in Champlain, New York. [5] Champlain is on the border with Canada, located on the western shore of Lake Champlain near the north end of the lake. It was named in honor of Samuel de Champlain who was the first European to survey the lake now bearing his name in 1609.

Solomon was not among the very first New York citizens to sign up for the military when Fort Sumter was fired upon in April of 1861. He avoided the manic rush to arms felt by so many young, naive boys seeking an opportunity for an adventure that infected the country in those early days when people thought the war was going to be over before they had the chance to put on a uniform. It wasn't until 1862 that Solomon got around to seriously consider becoming a soldier. He enlisted August 9, 1862 into the 118th New York Infantry, Company I for three years at Champlain, New York. Solomon cut a fine figure whether in or out of uniform. He stood five feet eight inches tall, had blue eyes and black hair with a dark complexion. He was twenty-one years old. He entered the service as a Private, but within twenty days of his enlistment, he had been promoted to Corporal (August 29, 1862). [6]

The 118th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment was recruited for service in the American Civil War from Clinton, Essex and Warren counties of Northern New York. The regiment was formed and mustered-in at Plattsburg, New York in August. It was appropriately dubbed the "Adirondack Regiment". The regiment left New York on September 3, 1862, to take up their assignment of guard and provost duty in Washington, D. C. as part of the defenses of the capital. The following April, the New Yorkers were sent to Suffolk, Virginia just in time to see action at the Siege of Suffolk. In May, the regiment moved to Portsmouth, Virginia, and spent much of the month in reconnnais-sance and skirmishing. During June and July, 1863, the 118th participated in Dix's Penin-
sula Campaign and fought at the South Anna Bridge on July 4, 1863, suffering eleven casualties.

In early 1864, there were more skirmishes and maneuvers in eastern Virginia. The regiment participated in an engagement at Drury's Bluff and the ill-fated Bermuda Hundred Campaign in May. Later that month, they were among those who moved to assist Grant at the Battle of Cold Harbor, where they suffered thirty-two casualties. The 118th fought in the Battle of Swift Creek on May 9 and on the right flank of the Union line at the Second Battle of Petersburg, losing twenty-one men. The final action for the 118th were the Battle of Chaffin's Farm and combat at Fort Harrison in September, followed by the Battle of Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road in October. During the winter of 1864-65, the regiment manned the trenches outside Richmond. In the Spring, when Richmond was abandoned by the Confederates, the New Yorkers of the 118th were the first organized unit to enter the fallen city. After serving provost duty in Richmond and Manchester, the 118th Volunteers were mustered-out of service on June 13, 1865. Those men whose enlistment was not complete were reassigned to the 96th New York Volunteer Infantry. The regiment lost six officers and ninety-three enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and one hundred eighty-eight enlisted men died of disease or other causes. Twelve officers and two hundred twenty-six enlisted men were wounded and recovered. Nine officers and one hundred thirty-three enlisted men were reported missing. [7]

One of those missing, at least for a while, was Corporal Ashline. At one point in his military career, Corporal Ashline was accused of having deserted (May 21, 1865), but was exonerated of desertion when it was discovered that he had been granted a furlough. He actually was missing in action after the Battle of Fair Oaks and Darbytown Road October 26, 1865. He spent four months in Richmond in prison. He was exchanged on March 2, 1865. [8] The regiment suffered one hundred eleven casualties in that action, eighty-nine of those were enlisted men taken prisoner along with five officers. [9] Now a sergeant in the 118th, Solomon was returned to the regiment just in time to be mustered-out with it on June 13, 1865 at Camp Porter in Annapolis, Maryland. [10] Solomon had spent a total of two years, ten months and fourteen days in the service of the United States. [11]

Mr. Ashline went into the service single and came out of it single. But that didn't last long. He met and married a native Vermonter from Shoreham after his discharge in 1865. She was Ellen Garvey, nineteen years old. Her parents, Michel and Margaret Garvey where from Ireland. She was born and raised in Shoreham, Vermont. The 1860 Federal Census listed her as living with a family called Hunt (Lyman and Emily) and working as a domestic servant at sixteen. Since she was born in either 1847 or 1848, she could not have been that old - more like twelve or thirteen at most. Her mother and father lived only a few houses away from the Hunts in Shoreham. The wedding took place in Middlebury. It was a Catholic wedding performed on October 29, 1867. [12]

In the next two years, the newly weds had two children: Eddie, born in 1868 and Addie, born in 1869. As far as could be determined, Solomon and Ellen were living in either Shoreham or Orwell. [13] Addie died in 1876 of croup and was buried in Saint Paul's Cemetery in Orwell. She was seven years and six months old. [14] Now these are true facts in the story of Solomon Ashline and his first family with Ellen Garvey. However, there is an unsolved conundrum right in the middle of these set of facts.

A monument stands in Saint Paul's Cemetery in Orwell that reads: "Eddie S. son of E.M. & S. Ashline Died Feb. 25, 1876 7yrs, 6mos" [15] Solomon and Ellen did have a son named Eddie. But he did not die in 1876 at seven. In fact, he was named in Solomon's probate papers after his death in 1913 as a legitimate heir to his father's estate. Furthermore, Eddie was the father of Solomon's grand-daughter, Florence, who was also mentioned in the will and the probate papers as an heir. Eddie could not have died in 1876 and still fathered a child who was living after 1903 when Solomon wrote his last will and testament. Besides, Eddie showed up in the public records later than 1876 alive, well, and living in Schenectady, New York with his own family. Solomon and Ellen also had a daughter named Addie who was born in 1869 and did die on February 25, 1876. She was buried in Saint Paul's Cemetery in Orwell. [16] The mystery here was not so much who was buried in Orwell beneath that marker, but why Eddie's name was left on it. It was not so difficult to understand how the engraver could have made the mistake when he did the engraving since the names of the two children were so close in spelling and sound, but why the parents did not have the error corrected was certainly puzzling. It should have been obvious to anyone who knew the family, and surely obvious to the parents, that the "son of" was alive and well and that the daughter of was deceased. Perhaps it was enough for Solomon and Ellen that Addie had a stone marking her final resting place despite having someone else's name on it. I can only imagine how Eddie felt about it.

Earlier it was mentioned that Eddie, son of Solomon and Ellen Munger (Monger) Ashline was born in 1868. Many resources consulted agreed with that date. However, in attempting to establish completely reliable facts about the members of Solomon's family, pinning down the exact time of Eddie's birth proved more elusive than anticipated. It was difficult to find any records for Eddie (Edlie, Edly or Edward). And even what was found that was almost certainly Solomon's son, remained under some clouds of authenticity. In searching for Eddie Ashline, two critically associated facts served as guideposts. Both were mentioned in the probate papers of Solomon. One was the mention of a grand-daughter named Florence. She had to be the daughter of Solomon's son since he was the only surviving child Solomon had with his first wife, Ellen, a fact also mentioned in the probate papers for Solomon. Mary herself, in a sworn statement to the Probate Court judge of Middlebury stated "Eddlie J Ashline" was the only legal heir, besides herself, to Solomon's estate and that he was, indeed, the father of the Florence named in Solomon's will. Secondly, Mary's affidavit also included her step-son's address: Schenectady R.D. No3 New York. Every E. Ashline discovered in the search was compared to these two factual clues. [17]

Finally, one was found - Edward J. Ashline of Rotterdam, Schenectady, New York , married to a Juliaett and having a seventeen year old daughter named Florence according to the 1915 New York State Census. There! Everything lined up perfectly....except for one thing - Edward's birthday. It was listed as about 1874!! [18] That was six years after the proposed date of birth from other sources consulted. The middle initial matched; the mailing address matched; the man had a daughter named Florence. How could this not be the Eddie Ashline who had a sister named Addie who died at seven in the town of Orwell, Vermont? No corroborating evidence could be found to definitely link this man to either Solomon or his first wife, Ellen Garvey. So, this general mercantile businessman from Schenectady, New York had to be left as a "maybe".

1880 came and found Solomon, now thirty-eight, living with his thirty-five year old wife, Ellen, in Orwell, Vermont with their seven year old son, Edly J Ashline. SEVEN!! That means he was born around 1873, not 1868!! And living with them was Ellen's thirty-seven year old sister, Roseanna Garvy. [19] Perhaps she came to live with the Ashline's to help her sister out after the loss of Addie in 1876. Solomon is labeled a laborer. If you can believe what is chiseled on Solomon's monument in the Mountain View Cemetery in Orwell, his first wife, Ellen, died January 15,1884 at the early age of thirty-nine. In 1886, Solomon applied for, and was granted, a pension from the Government. [20]Two years later, in 1888, Solomon married for the second time. His newest bride was Mary E. Litchfield, born about May, 1857 or 1858, in Ticonderoga, New York. [21] They were married in 1888 when Solomon was forty-seven and Mary was thirty-one. [22] She had been born and raised in Ticonderoga until the time in 1888 when she married Solomon. After her wedding, she took up residence with her new husband in Orwell, Vermont while the rest of her family, including her father, Rawson and her mother, Sara Lucinda Pearl, continued to live in Ticonderoga, New York. [23] This marriage was the final one for Solomon, lasting for the next twenty-five years of his life. It produced no known children, however.

At the turn of the century, Solomon and Mary were still living in Orwell. Fifty-nine year old Solomon was tilling the land for a living. [24]After twelve years of marriage, Mary and Solomon had no children of their own. If the 1890 Federal Census had not been destroyed in a fire, we might know more about where Eddie, Solomon's son by his first wife, was and what he was doing. Despite an extensive search for any mention of Eddie, no records were found that included information about him after the1880 Federal Census and the New York State Census of 1915. Solomon, on the other hand, was much more traceable. He was living in Orwell in 1910 at sixty-nine years old. He remained married to Mary, owned his home free and clear of any mortgage, and raised vegetables on his farm. Another amazing turn of events was that seventy-three year old Roseanna Ganey (Garvey), Solomon's first wife's sister, was back living in his household as a boarder. [25] She had lived in Solomon's home thirty years previously in 1880 when her sister, Ellen, was still alive. In 1913, on the twenty-sixth of July in Orwell, Vermont at seventy-two years of age, Solomon died of pulmonary tuberculosis. [26] Mary, his widow, continued to live for another thirty years, not all of it alone nor in Orwell.

Less than two weeks after Solomon's death, Mary applied for a widow's pension. She filed on August 8, 1913 and soon after it was granted. [27] As was stipulated in Solomon's will, Mary became the Executrix of the estate. and had the responsibility to see to it that all of his last wishes were executed as he had specified in 1903: "... First It is my will that all my just debts be paid out of my estate as soon as conveniently may be after my decease....Second - I give and bequeath to my wife Mary E. Ashline the use and control of all my real and personal estate during her natural life....Third At the decease of my said wife, if there is enough my estate left, I bequeath to my grandchild Florence Ashline One hundred Dollars....Fourth The rest residue and remainder of my estate I bequeath in equal shares to my legal heirs...." [28] Solomon had tried way before his death to see to it that everyone he cared for was fairly and equitably taken care of when he passed on.

An inventory of Solomon's estate revealed that he had a small farming operation in Orwell. He owned only eight acres of land on which there was a house and barn valued at $1500. Farming equipment and carpenters tools added only an additional $50. Two tons of hay and one cart brought the total value of the estate up to $1,584 as of November 1, 1913. [29] An accounting for Solomon's estate prepared by Mary and submitted to the Probate Court and dated October 12, 1914 showed expenses of: funeral - $135; lettering on monument - $4.75; court fees - $31; insurance, taxes, coal, cutting hay - $86.83; due Executrix - $194.38; total expenses - $451.96. [30] The $194.38 was an advance (a lien on the value of the estate) given to Mary so that she could pay debts of the estate. [31]

In 1920, Mary continued to live in Orwell, on North Street, and had as a roommate Roxanna Garvey, Ellen's sister, who was seventy-eight by that time. Mary was listed as not only "Head of House" but also as a general farmer. [32] It must be she kept the vegetable farm operating after Solomon's death. Over the next ten years, Mary continued to live in Orwell. By 1930, her roommate, Roxanna, was not listed as living in her home. Mary also declared that she was not living on a farm, so she might have given up truck farming. She was, after all, seventy-two years old. Her home was listed as being worth $1500, a very modest sum, but she did own it free of any liens or mortgage. [33]

Sometime after 1935, Mary went to Ticonderoga, New York to live with her brother, Phineas. She kept the property in Orwell but did not live there. In Ti, the eighty-two year old sister helped her brother out by being an "unpaid family worker", meaning she kept house for Phineas or Finn Litchfield as he was listed on the 1940 Federal Census. [34] Phineas and another brother, Elmore, had owned and operated a farm in Ticonderoga for years as equal partners. But when Elmore passed away in 1935, it became increasingly difficult for Phineas to do everything by himself. So Mary crossed the lake and returned to her birthplace to help her brother. [35] It was there in Ticonderoga, New York that Mary died in 1943. She was brought back to Orwell to be buried with her husband, Solomon and his first wife, Ellen. [36]

As outlined in Solomon's will of 1903, the remaining portion of his estate was to be divided equally among his legal heirs. The only person having that claim was Eddie, his son, as Mary had made clear in her sworn statement of October 12, 1914. So he got whatever was left that Mary had not spent - presumably the eight acres of Orwell land and the house and outbuildings that stood on it that was valued at $1,500 in 1913. Who knows what it was worth in 1943, thirty years later. There was a letter from an attorney in Schenectady named Henry Levine addressed to the Probate Court of Middlebury dated August 11, 1943 in which a request was made for the name of the estate's attorney, a list of real estate agents in Orwell and an account of the estate's assets. No client was named in the correspondence, but it can be assumed it came from the only interested party in the estate left alive - Eddie J. Ashline. [37] We can only hope that the grandchild named Florence received her $100 inheritance.

NOTES
1. Ancestry.com, Family Trees (FandJ and Aunchman) for Solomon Ashline.
2. Ibid., New York, Town Clerk's Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca. 1861-1865 for Solomon Ashline; Ibid., Family Trees (FandJ and Aunchman) for Solomon Ashline.
3. Ibid., Family Trees (FandJ and Aunchman) for Solomon Ashline; Ibid., 1850 and 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Solomon Ashline and Louis Ashline; Fold3.com, 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population, p.2, image 45662992.
4. Ibid., 1850 U.S. Federal Census for Solomon Ashline.
5. Fold3.com, 1860 U.S. Federal Census - Population for Solomon Ashline.
6. Ibid., New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900, p. 1.
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/118th_New_York_Volunteer_Infantry.
8. Ancestry.com, New York, Town Clerk's Registers of Men Who Served in the Civil War, ca. 1861-1865.
9. http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/118thInf/118thInfTable,htm, 118th Regiment Battles And Casualties Civil War New York.
10. Fold3.com, New York, Civil War Muster Roll Abstracts, 1861-1900, p. 1.
11. Ancestry.com, 1890 Veterans Schedules for Solomon Ashline.
12. Ibid., 1860 U.S. Federal Census for Ellen Garvey; https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XFV-268 and XFK6-F95.
13. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Eddie S. Ashline; Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Eddie L. Ashline.
14. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Addie Ashline; www.findagrave.com, Memorial #84909538 for Eddie S. Ashline.
15. www.findagrave.com, Memorial #84909538.
16. Ancestry.com, Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Addie Ashline.
17. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for the Estate of Solomon Ashline of Orwell, Vermont, "Proof of Heirship".
18. Ibid., 1915 New York State Census for Edward J. Ashline.
19. Ibid., 1880 U.S. Federal Census for Solomon Ashline.
20. Fold3.com, Ashline, Solomon: Organization to Index to Pension Files of Veterans Who Served Between 1861-1900.
21. Ancestry.com, 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Mary E. Ashline.
22. Ibid., Jones/Litchfield Family Tree for Mary Litchfield.
23. Ibid.; Ibid., 1880 and 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Mary Litchfield and Mary E. Ashline.
24. Ibid., 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Solomon Ashline.
25. Ibid., 1910 U.S. Federal Census for Solomon Ashline.
26. Ibid., Vermont, Vital Records, 1720-1908 for Solomon Ashline.
27. Ibid., U.S. Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 for Solomon Ashline.
28. Ibid., Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999 for Solomon Ashline.
29. Ibid.
30. Ibid.
31. Ibid., letter from judge of Middlebury Probate Court to Henry Levine, Schenectady attorney dated August 12, 1943.
32. Ibid., 1920 U.S. Federal Census for Mary Ashline.
33. Ibid., 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Mary E. Ashline.
34. Ibid., Jones/Litchfield Family Tree for Mary Litchfield.
35. Ibid.
36. headstone for Solomon Ashline, Mountain View Cemetery, Orwell, Vermont.
37. Ancestry.com, Vermont, Wills and Probate Records, 1749-1999, letter from Henry Levine, Attorney & Counselor At Law, to Probate Court of Middlebury, Vermont, dated August 11, 1943.
Courtesy of Bernie Noble