ASHBY, TX (MATAGORDA COUNTY)
ASHBY, TEXAS (Matagorda County). Ashby is off Farm Road 1095 just north of a residential development called Tres Palacios Oaks, nine miles northeast of Palacios in west central Matagorda County. Before settlers arrived, the area had been a campsite of the Karankawa Indians. Though the settlement may have had a church as early as 1869, it did not receive a post office until 1890, when Capt. W. W. Moore opened a general store on the banks of Tres Palacios River. Moore, a Civil War veteran, named the community after his commanding officer in the Eighth Texas Cavalry. Boats made regular stops at his general store; at that time the river was navigable to Deming's Bridge (later known as Hawley), about six miles upriver. Moore, who built a twelve-room house called the Oaks at Ashby to accommodate his large family, donated two acres of land for a Methodist church and cemetery. At one time the Ashby church, served by ministers on the Matagorda Circuit, had as many as 100 members; it was destroyed by fire in 1902.
In 1892 Ashby reported a population of 100, a barber, a carpenter, and a physician, and by 1896 the community had a daily stage to El Campo. Initially Ashby's economic mainstays were rice and cotton, which were warehoused on the banks of the Tres Palacios. Later, grain became a major crop. In 1899 Ashby had a school with one teacher and twenty-eight students; by 1904 the number of students had risen to forty. Until the community built a school in 1911, classes were taught in private homes. In 1914 Ashby reported a population of 150, served by two general stores and the Ashby Farms Company, and by 1917 the community reported white and black schools, each with four grades.
By 1919 the post office had closed, and mail was sent to Blessing. In the mid-1930s Ashby had a number of farms linked by a paved road and a two-room elementary school. In 1948 the Ashby school district was consolidated with the Blessing Independent School District, which by 1949 had become part of the Tidehaven Consolidated Independent District. A Baptist church constructed in 1948 was donated to the black Baptist congregation in Markham around 1958. By 1972 the Tres Palacios Oaks development appeared on maps. The development was just across Tres Palacios Creek from Ashby, which then consisted of a few scattered dwellings and a cemetery. The community was still listed, though without statistics, in 1990. By 2000 the population was listed as sixty.
Frank J. Balusek, Survey and Proposed Reorganization of the Schools of Matagorda County, Texas (M.Ed. thesis, University of Texas, 1939). Matagorda County Historical Commission, Historic Matagorda County (3 vols., Houston: Armstrong, 1986).