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Chester Ashley
Birth: Jun. 1, 1791
Amherst
Hampshire County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Apr. 29, 1848
Washington
District of Columbia
District Of Columbia, USA

US Senator, Attorney. He was a prominent figure in the early history of Arkansas. Raised in Hudson, New York, he graduated from Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts (1813) and Connecticut's Litchfield Law School (1814) before beginning his law career in Hudson. Personal ambition led him to seek his fortune in the western frontier and in 1820 he settled in Little Rock, in what was then the Arkansas Territory. He immediately formed a partnership with another newcomer to the area, future Territorial Governor Robert Crittenden; this would evolve into the Rose Law Firm, today the oldest west of the Mississippi and the third oldest in the US. Within a few years he would go into practice solo and establish himself as the foremost appeals attorney in Arkansas, arguing more cases before the Territorial Superior Court than any other lawyer. He also became very wealthy through real estate, buying up and then selling much of what is now downtown Little Rock, and was a major behind-the-scenes power broker, his stately mansion hosting as many political functions as the State Capitol. Along with success came a good deal of controversy, because Ashley was as well known for his craftiness as for his prowess as a litigator. He represented James Bowie's brother John in their fradulent land claims of the late 1820s, and was indicted for suborning a jury; he himself was frequently accused of illegal land speculation. After Arkansas entered statehood in 1836, he served as a director of the government-chartered Arkansas State Bank, which collapsed in 1843 due to corruption and mismanagement. Nevertheless, in 1844 the Democrat Ashley was elected to the US Senate to fill the vacancy left by the death of William S. Fulton, and reelected to a full term in 1846. During his service he was Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He died in Washington DC after a brief illness and was interred at Little Rock's Mount Holly Cemetery, which was founded on land he had donated for a burial ground. There is also a cenotaph for him at Washington's Congressional Cemetery. He is the namesake of Ashley County in Arkansas and Chester and Ashley Streets in Little Rock. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Mary Watkins Worthington Eliot Ashley (1798 - 1865)*
 
 Children:
  Harriet Laurette Ashley (____ - 1898)*
  William Eliot Ashley (1823 - 1868)*
  Mary Van Alstyne Ashley (1826 - 1828)*
  Henry Charles Ashley (1831 - 1875)*
  Mary Van Alstyne Ashley (1833 - 1834)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Mount Holly Cemetery
Little Rock
Pulaski County
Arkansas, USA
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 21, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 19636
Chester Ashley
Added by: Anonymous
 
Chester Ashley
Added by: anonymous
 
Chester Ashley
Cemetery Photo
Added by: David M. Habben
 
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