Nathaniel Ashby‘s parents were Benjamin and Mary Young Ashby. The Ashbys were seaman and shipwrights until after the War of 1812. Nathaniel however, was apprenticed to a shoemaker at an early age to learn the shoemaking trade. He became expert in the making of fine shoes and started his own business.
On 30 Nov. 1826, Nathaniel married Susan Hammond of Marblehead, Mass. The couple soon owned besides their shoe manufacturing business, several houses which they rented.
When Erastus Snow came as a missionary to Salem, the Ashbys were converted to the L.D.S. Church and were baptized in 1841.They planned to move to Nauvoo and gave money to Elder Snow to build a house and help toward the construction of the Nauvoo Temple.
In Oct. 1843 they left Salem for Nauvoo traveling by train and boat. Erastus Snow had built a large duplex brick house, one half of which was to be occupied by the Ashbys.
In 1844 Nathaniel was called to the Eastern states as a missionary and a delegate to support Joseph Smith as a candidate for President. After the martyrdom of Joseph and Hiram Smith he and the others were called home.
The Ashbys had lived in Nauvoo three years when the Saints were driven out. In August, 1846 they started westward to Winter Quarters with three wagons, one driven by Nathaniel, one by son Ben, and the other by John Hill. Nathaniel was in poor health and after a few weeks of traveling, camp was made a few miles from Bonaparte, Iowa to wait until he was feeling better. Instead he grew worse and died at age 41. He was buried along the trail in a coffin built from boards purchased from a nearby sawmill.
Nathaniel and Susan Ashby were parents of 12 children, one of which died as a baby.
The following sons were also Utah pioneers:
Benjamin, Born 19 Dec. 1828 – Died 19 Nov.1907; Married (1) Ann Chester – 14 children
(2) Mary Jane Dyer 1 child.
Ben drove a wagon from Nauvoo to Winter Quarters then on to the Salt Lake Valley. He was called on a mission to England in April, 1853, and was released in March, 1857 nearly four years later. He was one of the men in charge of the first handcart company to cross the plains. Ben went to Echo Canyon with his company to keep out Johnston’s Army and to Sanpete for the trouble with the Blackhawk Indians. He settled with his family, first in Spanish Fork and then in Salt Lake City. He helped in building the Salt Lake Temple. In later years he worked in the Temple and was also a Stake Patriarch.
Nathaniel: Born 25 May 1835, Died 18 March 1882 Married: (1) Mary Virginia Garr 10 children; (2) Martha Ann Truman 6 Children
Nathaniel drove a wagon from Winter Quarters to the Salt Lake Valley for a Brother Haven. He lived with his mother until her death in 1851. He participated in the Echo Canyon campaign in 1857 under Col. Robert T. Burton. After his first marriage the Ashbys were called on a colonization mission to Southern Utah and moved to St. George where they made their home. Nathaniel served as a bishop in the St. George 4th Ward. He married his second wife in 1870. In 1881 he was called on a mission to the Sandwich (Hawaiian) Islands. He was accompanied by his wife Martha and son, Benjamin. Because of ill health, Nathaniel started home to the U.S. in 1882 but died on the Pacific Ocean of consumption. He was brought home to St. George for burial.
The other three sons were small boys when they came to Utah. Richard Born 26 Dec. 1836