William Asbille was born about 1765 in Perquiman or Chowan County, North Carolina. He was the son of Joseph Asbill and Dorthy Ross, sister of George Ross,one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
As a young lad he joined the Colonial forces in the Revolution against England, enlisting from Orange County, North Carolina. Family says that he served under General George Washington and spent the winter at Valley Forge. It also gives account of his crosssing the Delaware River with Washingtons's Forces.
A pioneer, like many of the Asbills, William traveled and hunted the frontiers. Pushing westward, he came to what is now Buncombe County, North Carolina and settled there for a short time. Near this settlement lived the family of Samuel Becknell with whom he was well acquainted. This family adoped a little girl of Cherokee Indian parentage, whom they called Malinda. William Asbille wooed and wed her. The story of her origins, however, is very interesting.
Accordingn to this story, an Indian Chief of the Cherokee Nation, perhaps Chief Dragging Canoe (d. 1792), son of Attakullakulla (Little Carpenter) had visited the Bucknells and had often hunted with Samuel Becknell and his young son Thomas in the near by region. Many times the Chief brought his wife with him on his hunting trips and slept in a wagwam on the Becknell land. On one such occasion the Becknells arose early to greet their Indian friends. However, this time the wigwam was empty and no sign of anyone was seen. They thought that some misfortune had struck and began searching for clues. Under some brush and leaves they heard the cry of a baby. Searching further, they uncovered a small child tied to its dead mother's breast. The Becknells took the child home and raised her as their own. The child's mother had appartently died at childbirth and as was
the Chorokee custom, the child was left to parish with its dead mother. Malinda was the daughter of this Indian Chief who was the Becknell's friend. Searching parties traveled far and wide, but the Indian Chief was never seen again.
When the Indian maiden approached womanhood, William Asbille proposed to her and married her. It was discovered that Malinda had no legal surname. She had been reared by the Becknells but was not legally a Becknell. Probably William suggested the name of Ross, the maiden name of his own mother, Dorthy Ross, or perhaps she was a desendent of the famous Scotchman, John Ross, a very early chief of the Cherokees, who was one of the first to explor the Tennessee River. At any rate, she became known to later generations as Melinda Ross. According to the Census of 1790 William Asbille was listed as living in Hillsborough District,Randolph County, North Carolina. Besides himself and his wife,he had two sons under 16 (William and Joseph) and two daughters of whom we had no records. We believe that the two daughters were children of the first marriage with Malinds Ross and perhaps died young. William (11.) their son was born in 1787 and was named after his father. According to the family records, the Indian wife died at the birth of her son William.
The Hillsboro, Orange County, North Carolina lived Alexander Duncan Moore, son of General James Moore of Revolutionary fame. In 1791 Alexander Duncan Moore sold his tavern on King Street, one acre lot 15 for eighty pounds to William Walters, attorney-at-law, husband of his sister, Mary Moore.(This tavern is still standing and is known as the "Old Colonial Inn".) Durning the Revolutionary period Cornwallis had quartered in the building and used part of it for stabling horses. Living with Alexander Duncan Moore was his younger sister, Elizabeth, better known as Betsy. She has been as orphan since the age of three and had made her home with her older brother Alexander and his wife, Nancy, who maiden name was Nancy Quince. Many stories were told of Aunt Nancy Moore by Betsy's daughter. Lydia Asbille Bennett. Perhaps William Asbille attended many social gatherings of the younger set in Hillsboro. At these functions he met Betsy, whom he married about 1789 Since William's brother John was married in Surry County, North Carolina in 1788, we believe that William brought his small children to be cared for by Elizabeth Coyle, John's wife, soon after the death of Malinda Ross Asbille in 1787.We do know that William married Elizabeth "Betsy" Moore about 1789, since their oldest child, Joseph, was born in 1790. Other children must have been born in Surry County too, because we have a record of Lydia, William and Betsy's daughter, being born in Surry County in 1804. Around 1818 and 1819 when frontier was pushing westward, we find William again with his brother John Asbill in Madisn County, Kentucky. We have a record of is receiving a $1.50 for wolf scalp in Madison County, Kentucky in November, 1810. John received the same amount for wolf scalp on the same date. However, we find that John sold four wolf scalps for $12.00 in 1809 and we take it that he and William had killed wolves together.
In the Census of 1820 of Madison County, Kentucky we find following dates: both William and his wife were still living at this time, They had two boys one girl between five and ten and one girl between ten and sixteen. We believe that the boys mentoned were James and Thomas Asbill, and that the older girl was Lydia, the younger girl might have been the Besy (Betsy) Asbill who married Third Baker. As far as we know both William and his wife Betsy spent their last days in Madison County, Kentucky.
William had the following children:
By Malinda his first wife:
1. daughter Asbill born about 1783
2. daughter Asbill born about 1785
3. William "Billy" Asbill (11.) (1787-1813 married
(1) Cecil Van Winkle and (2) Aletha Harrison.
By Elizabeth "Betsy Moore, his second wife:
4. Joseph Asbille (1790-1872 married (1) Malinda Becknell and (2) Mary Polly Harp.
5. Ross Asbill (1792-18), married Elizabeth Becknell on January 6, 1817, Madison County, Kentucky
6. Nancy(?) Asbill (1795-1869), married Thomasd Becknell (11.)
7. Lydia Asbill (1804-1882) married Ezekiel Bennett
8. Thomas Asbill born about 1809
9. James Asbill (1811-1879) married Paulina Becknell.
10. daughter Asbill (born about 1812. Probably was the Besy Asbill who married Third Baker on January 30, 1827
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