ASHTON, TEXAS. Ashton was on Farm Road 139 seven miles southeast of Joaquin in northeastern Shelby County. It was apparently originally located on the banks of the Sabine River, just to the east of its later site. Small craft often traveled up the river to Ashton. At its height the community had a ferry, a small sawmill, a cotton gin, at least one church, and at least two schools. A local post office operated from 1847 to 1854 and was probably named for the postmaster, Henry C. Ashton, who was also an original grantee of land in the area. When railroads took over the work of the Sabine riverboats in the mid-1880s, the community seems to have declined. People gradually moved to the west, up the hill from the river. Although the focus of the community changed as most of its institutions closed, the churches and schools remained in operation and preserved the town name. In 1903 the Ashton area supported two schools, one with twenty white students and one with eighteen black students. The area also had at least three Protestant churches. By 1938 the two schools had grown to serve sixty-six white and seventy-three black children. Gradually transportation improvements and a decline in the rural population of the county led to a consolidation of the school system and the end of the community. By 1956 the two schools had closed, and by 1983 the only remaining evidence of Ashton was two cemeteries, one for whites on Farm Road 139, and one for blacks a few miles off the road.
Charles E. Tatum, Shelby County: In the East Texas Hills (Austin: Eakin, 1984).