Ash taught for one term in Southampton County before moving to Nottoway County to teach at Ingleside Seminary at Burkeville, a school for African American girls supported by the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (later Presbyterian Church, U.S.A.). He was a successful teacher and regularly petitioned friends at Hampton for donations of reading matter and other classroom materials. At a summer institute at Farmville in 1884, Ash participated in founding the Teachers Reading Circle, the first statewide organization of African American educators, and he was elected president of the short-lived group.
In the assembly Ash voted with the Republican minority and served on the standing Committees on Propositions and Grievances and on Printing. He remained concerned with education, proposing an investigation of student complaints at Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute (which became Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in 1902 and Virginia State University in 1979), in Ettrick, near Petersburg, and introducing an unsuccessful bill concerning appointments of teachers in the public schools. He also began to study law and later identified himself as a lawyer, although he is not known to have practiced.
On May 29, 1889, Ash married Sallie B. Miller, a native of Nottoway County and a fellow teacher. They had no children. In 1891 they moved to Leesburg in Ash's native Loudoun County and taught there, although he owned twenty acres of land in Nottoway County. They had returned to Nottoway by the beginning of 1904, when Ash tried to purchase a defunct school for young white women. He intended to turn it into a school for African American boys, modeled after Ingleside Seminary. That venture fell through, and in September 1904 Ash accepted a post at Swift Memorial Institute in Rogersville, Tennessee, where he taught nine classes ranging from Latin to beekeeping.
In 1907 Ash accepted an offer to teach agriculture and oversee the farm at the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in Ettrick. On February 14, 1908, after six days of illness, William Horace Ash died at the college from kidney failure. Funeral services took place at his home in Burkeville.
May 15, 1859 - William H. Ash is born a slave in Loudoun County, the son of William H. Ash and Martha A. Ash.
1880 - William H. Ash, using the name Horace Ash, enters the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute.
1882 - William H. Ash graduates from the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. He teaches briefly in Southampton County before moving to Nottoway County to teach at Ingleside Seminary, a school for African American girls.
1884 - William H. Ash serves as a county delegate to the state Republican Party convention.
1887 - The state Republican Party nominates William H. Ash for the House of Delegates from the district comprising Amelia and Nottoway counties. He wins both counties by wide margins but loses his reelection campaign.
May 29, 1889 - William H. Ash marries Sallie B. Miller, of Nottoway County. They will have no children.
1891 - William H. Ash and his wife, Sallie B. Miller Ash, both teachers, move to Leesburg, in Loudoun County, where they teach.
September 1904 - William H. Ash accepts a post at Swift Memorial Institute in Rogersville, Tennessee, where he teaches nine classes ranging from Latin to beekeeping.
1907 - William H. Ash accepts an offer to teach agriculture and oversee the farm at the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in Ettrick, near Petersburg.
February 14, 1908 - William H. Ash dies of kidney failure at the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in Ettrick, near Petersburg. Funeral services are at his home in Burkeville.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Kneebone, J. T., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. William H. Ash (1859–1908). (2014, August 10). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Ash_William_H_1859-1908.
- MLA Citation:
Kneebone, John T. and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. "William H. Ash (1859–1908)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, 10 Aug. 2014. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: April 17, 2014 | Last modified: August 10, 2014