Family History

Marcus Garvey once said: “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots.

 Louis Hughes, author of Thirty Years a Slave said, “Virginia was the Mother of Slavery.” Hughes believed this was the only way to show Virginia’s true identity and destiny. Virginia and Maryland competed against South Carolina in supplying slaves to the southern States. Virginia started breeding its own slaves after a slave revolt in Haiti. American slave owners became afraid of the slaves from Haiti and pushed to have American borders closed to slaves shipped out of Haiti. Virginia then started its slave breeding industry and became the number one competitor against South Carolina who was still importing slaves from Africa. Although both Virginia and South Carolina sold slaves, home breeding gave Virginia Slave owners the advantage over South Carolina.  

Our great, great, great grandfather, Dave Ashe may have been a product of the slave breeding industry in Virginia. He knew who his father was, but did not know his mother. He may have been born in Haiti, and sold separately from his mother when he was two years old. He could have been purchased by the Ashe family of North Carolina in Virginia, or he was actually born in Virginia. Dave Ashe was listed as being born a mulatto, in Virginia in 1815. He was possibly of mixed Native American and European mixture or Native American and African ancestry. He may have lived in North Carolina on the plantation of the late Governor Samuel Ashe family. The Ashe family name could have been just a name he chose. Dave may not have been his first name, because we could not find any information on him under that name.


 Dave Ashe born in 1815 / 1817. He met and married Mary Ann Winston born 1820 / 1825. Mary Ann may have been a product of Virginia’s slave breeding industry as well. Southern Slave owners would go to Virginia and buy slaves imported from Haiti, Louisiana, as well as those bred in Virginia. The best Slaves were thought to be bred in Virginia.

 Dave and Mary Ann Ashe’s journey may have taken them from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, as well as Calhoun, Colbert, Prairieville, Macon, and Hale Counties in Alabama.  They became the parents of Winston Ashe, Isabella Ashe, Lucy Ashe, Davey Ashe, Emily Prince Ashe (Adopted niece) and Hattie Prince Ashe (Adopted granddaughter).

Estimated birth dates indicates that Dave and Mary Ann were born in slavery. It is possible there were other spouses, and off springs who may have been sold. My DNA results revealed more than one hundred fifty (150) very close relatives I cannot identify. However our journey as descendants of Dave and Mary Ann Ashe started with their son Winston Ashe.

Winston Ashe married Matilda Britton in April of 1881. I am not aware of any children from this union. He married Emeline Snelling in December of 1891. I am not aware of any children from this union. He married Martha Ann Robinson Williams in August of 1898.  Martha Ann Robinson Williams gave birth to thirteen children, five while she was married to Mr. Williams (Carrie, Adam, Jon (John), Cornelia, and Charlotte Williams. She also had one adopted child, Lucius Prince. I have no record of these off springs as adults.
 Winston Ashe 1857 – 1937 was born in North Carolina under the conditions of slavery, to Dave Ashe and Mary Ann Ashe. The family was in Alabama sometime in 1860.

  Martha Ann Robinson Williams Ashe 1860 – 1932 was born in Alabama under the conditions of slavery to Morgan Robinson of Tennessee and Fannie Robinson of Virginia. They previously relocated to Alabama with family.

There were several children born to this union: Josephine Ashe Williams, Minerva Ashe Williams, Lillian Ashe Ruffin-Woodfin, Margaret Ashe Williams, and Lucy Jane Ashe Caldwell - Foreman, Anna Ashe Davis, and Ryland Ashe. Ryland died at an early age. The descendants of these sisters gather every two years to fellowship and get to know each other better. Our rich heritage passed to us by our grandmother “Martha Ann Robinson Williams Ashe,” is summarized in the following section.

haplogroup is a genetic population of people who share a common ancestor on their patrilineal or matrilineal line. Haplogroups are assigned letters of the alphabet, and refinements consist of additional number and letter combinations.
The Ashe family name is derived from Europe and can be spelled: Eich (German) or Ashe (English). It came to America with John Ashe in 1642. The spelling of the name has changed several times, but our family patriarch used the Ashe spelling of the name. They chose to take this slave owners name to keep from being forced on the “Trail of Tears” and relocated to Oklahoma. The DNA that links us to this name can be traced to the indigenous people of America and back to Africa.

In exploring our maternal lineage, our ancient ancestors were, the Predecessors, Haplogroup L who lived throughout Africa (Kemet = Negroland), possibly the Arabian Peninsula, and the Americas. This happened because of the Atlantic Slave trade. The Predecessors, haplogroup L, emerged according to historians and over 150,000 years ago. Africa was their homeland, especially West Africa. The areas our maternal ancestor came from cannot be pinned because of European imperialism. The continent of Africa was raped, divided and subdivided into the fifty state nations that we know of today. Therefore looking at the European division, Predecessors (our DNA group) can be found in present – day Cameroon, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nigeria, Guinea, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Chad, Nigeria, Angola, and Mali. Predecessors are so ancient that we are further divided into haplogroup L0, L1, L2, and L3, and as Predecessors we are connected to all of these groups. The people of southeast African belong to the Elders, (haplogroup L0), includes the indigenous Khoisan people known as the San, Kung or Khwe.  They develop the Khoisan languages famous for their clicks. The rock painting of animals near the Waterberg Biosphere in South Africa may have been made by our ancestors ten to twenty thousand years ago 10,000 to 20,000). The Khoikhoi is another group that is related to our ancient ancestors. This group adopted pastoral agriculture and herding of cattle as a trade.

The L1 Haplogroup, were known as “Teaching Farmers” are found in present day Nigeria, Guinea, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Ethiopia, Sudan, Cameroon, Angola, Mozambique, and Mali. The L1c subgroup emerged about one hundred forty thousand years ago (140,000), and can be found in today’s population of the Aka, Baka, and Mbuti people, who were identified as the “Pygmy” tribe living in central Africa near the Congo River.  The Pygmy people are those who historians credit for building all the ancient ruins that are being discovered in the Americas, and all over the world. Yes these are some of our ancient ancestors that the history channel are discovering.

The People (Haplogroup L2) were and are still West Africans who were skilled metalworkers and who made advances in agriculture and livestock husbandry. They developed language known as Bantu, which is spoken in some form by four hundred different ethnic groups in Africa, and Bantu literally mean “people.” There is more than five hundred Bantu languages, with Swahili, Shona, and Zulu among the groups. Bakweri is one of the Bantu tribes found in the People- People group. This group can be found in the rural and urban areas where they grow cocoyams, maize, and other crops in volcanic soil.

The Originators, (Haplogroup L3), emerge eighty thousand years (80,000) ago, around the Horn of Africa. Geneticists believed that all non – African haplogroups are descended from the Originators who left Africa tens of thousands of years ago. The Amhara and Oromo people of Ethiopia are found in the Originators haplogroup L3i or L3w. Another group of the Originators is L3f, which are found in today’s population of Sudan, Ethiopia, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula migrated westward and can be found in Nigeria and other countries, particularly among the Yoruba and Fulbe people, as well as African Americans.

Historical documents show that between the 17th and 19th centuries slave traders moved about 13 million native Africans from regions stretching along the northwestern Atlantic coast continuing to Angola and Mozambique. The captured people of Africa were transported to the Americas where they were sold as slaves along with the indigenous Africans of the Americas.

Our maternal history is long and honorable. Some of our people helped to create the histories of world cultures and languages. If you wonder how and why we suffered through Slavery, read Deuteronomy 28.  Before reading this chapter in its entirety, pray and ask Yahweh (God) for understanding. It is this book and chapter that will give you an understanding of who you really are. It will explain how we as a people of God fit into the whole scheme of things. Of all the races of people on the face of the planet, the Black race, is the only one who fits Deuteronomy 28:41-68 completely. Embrace who you are.
This is a work in progress and it will be updated as other information is discovered and verified. If anyone has any information regarding anyone listed in this history please contact Odessa Wheeler at
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