Ulrich was born in Amenia in 1783 and Married Elizabeth Winans. Elizabeth Winans Winegar is a direct descendant of one of the passengers on the Mayflower. Consequently, all her descendants can trace their ancestry back to the Mayflower.
Ulrich and Elizabeth had five boys and eight girls. Our ancestor is Ashbel(6). At some point, the family moved to South Butler, Wayne County, New York. Ulrich died there in 1864.
Ashbel was born in South Butler, Wayne County, New York. We have no information on his early childhood. He worked on the Erie Canal for several years before going to Michigan. There he worked in the retail clothing business for a time and then bought a farm in Vergennes Township near Lowell.
He was married twice, first to Eleanor Slaght, the second time to Mary Reese Roberts who was the mother of Edwin Ashbel our ancestor. He and Eleanor had three children and she died in childbirth with the third. He gave the infant up for adoption. While visiting Eleanor’s parents he met Mary Reese Roberts who was teaching piano lessons to Eleanor’s sister. Although Mary was 15 years younger than Ashbel, they were married about two months after Eleanor’s death, and over the next 11 years had four more sons.
The land on the farm that he bought was very poor and was mostly sand. Don Winegar wrote, “This was a case of trying to farm woodland that should have never been lumbered off. Once the top humus was gone from the soil it could not sustain crops.” In spite of the poor land, Ashbel continued to farm the land until his death in 1879.
Donald Winegar also reports having a picture on the back of which was written, “He was a good farmer, a first class shot, and a number one hunter. It was a poor winter which didn’t furnish him with at least ten fox skins.”
With the death of Ashbel, his wife was left to care for four sons 11 and under and found this very difficult. In 1883, she took the sons including Edwin Ashbel and returned to New York where her sister lived. According to a letter from one of her sons, she met someone on the train that she later married. She died in 1889.