Ashe, Samuel Swann (1839–1919)

By: Thomas W. Cutrer

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: October 2, 2018

Samuel Swann Ashe, Confederate Army officer and civil servant, was born in Brownsville, Tennessee, on June 14, 1839, the son of John B. and Eliza (Hay) Ashe. The elder Ashe was a member of the United States House of Representatives. Samuel Ashe's grandfather, Samuel Ashe, had been a governor of North Carolina and was the man after whom the city of Asheville was named. Samuel S. Ashe moved to Galveston with his family in 1848 but returned to North Carolina to receive his education at what is now the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation he went to work on a ranch in Harris County, Texas. With the outbreak of the Civil War Ashe enlisted as a private in Company B of the famed Eighth Texas Cavalry-popularly known as Terry's Texas Rangers. When Col. Benjamin Franklin Terry was killed at the battle of Woodsonville, Kentucky, Ashe helped to remove his body from the field. In 1862 he took part in the battles of Shiloh, where his brother William was killed, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He was wounded in action in 1863, but after recovery was promoted to lieutenant and transferred to White's Battery of horse artillery. In that capacity he participated in the battles of Chickamauga and Atlanta and in the campaign in the Carolinas. During the Atlanta campaign he was promoted to captain. After the war he moved to Lynchburg and entered the mercantile business in partnership with John B. Snydor. On May 23, 1866, he married Sallie Anderson of Lebanon, Tennessee. They had a son and a daughter. In 1870 Ashe was elected justice of the peace in Harris County; he served until 1873. He was elected sheriff of Harris County on December 17, 1873, and served for four years. He was elected tax collector in 1880 and served until 1883. From 1893 until 1897 he was clerk of the district criminal court. He died on April 29, 1919.

Clement Anselm Evans, ed., Confederate Military History (Atlanta: Confederate Publishing, 1899; extended ed., Wilmington, North Carolina: Broadfoot, 1987–89). Dermont H. Hardy and Ingham S. Roberts, eds., Historical Review of South-East Texas (2 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1910). History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of the Cities of Houston and Galveston (Chicago: Lewis, 1895).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Thomas W. Cutrer, “Ashe, Samuel Swann,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 24, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 2, 2018