Denton, Ashley Newton (1836–1901)

By: Aragorn Storm Miller

Type: Biography

Published: May 8, 2008

Updated: July 4, 2017

Ashley Newton Denton, physician, army surgeon, and state representative, was born in Indian Territory on March 12, 1836, the son of John Bunyan Denton and Mary Greenlee (Stuart) Denton. The Denton family immigrated to Texas around 1837, settling at Clarksville in Red River County. The father was an early itinerant Methodist Episcopal preacher and frontiersman who became the namesake for modern-day Denton County. Denton himself studied medicine in Fort Worth and at Galveston Medical College. After graduating he began his practice at Sutherland Springs, Wilson County. On June 25, 1861, Ashley Denton married Margaret Hester Murchison. This couple had five sons and three daughters. Shortly after his marriage Denton volunteered for service in the Confederate Army, joining the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry Regiment as a surgeon.

Following the Civil War Denton returned to Texas and settled in San Antonio. In 1872 he won election as representative on the Democratic ticket for District Twenty-nine—comprised of Bexar, Bandera, Blanco, Burnet, Comal, Gillespie, Kendall, Kerr, Llano, Mason, Wilson, Edwards, Kimble, and Menard counties—to the Thirteenth Texas Legislature. Dr. Denton returned to public service in January 1883 when he received appointment as superintendent of the State Lunatic Asylum (now the Austin State Hospital) in Austin. He continued in this capacity through 1888; according to contemporary accounts he performed his duties with an unprecedented degree of excellence. Ashley Newton Denton died in San Marcos on March 4, 1901. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as well as of the Knights of Honor Lodge.

Denton County (, accessed July 7, 2007. Family Group Denton (, accessed July 7, 2007. E. H. Loughery, Personnel of the Texas State Government for 1885 (Austin: Snyder, 1885). Members of the Legislature of the State of Texas from 1846 to 1939 (Austin: Texas Legislature, 1939).

  • Health and Medicine
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Military Physicians and Surgeons and Military Nurses
  • Military
  • Psychologists, Psychiatrists, and Neuropsychiatrists
  • Thirteenth Legislature (1873)
  • House

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

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Denton, Ashley Newton,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 8, 2008
July 4, 2017

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