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Fly, Ashley Wilson (1855–1919)

Chester R. Burns Biography

Ashley Wilson Fly, Galveston surgeon and mayor, was born in Waters Valley, Yalobusha County, Mississippi, on August 27, 1855, the son of Anderson B. and Margaret Jane (Giles) Fly. He received his medical degree from Louisville Medical College in 1875, and in the course of his studies he won prizes for his work in anatomy and surgical anatomy. After practicing in Bryan, Texas, for a short time, he moved to Galveston in 1876. Fly taught anatomy and surgery at Texas Medical College and Hospital (1877–81, 1888–91), attended patients at Galveston City Hospital and St. Mary's Infirmary (later St. Mary's Hospital), and served as member and president of the Galveston Board of Health (1881–84). He was mayor of Galveston from 1893 to 1899, during which time he helped pass measures to clean up financial corruption in the city. He was president of the Galveston County Medical Society in 1914. In July 1913 Governor Oscar B. Colquitt appointed Fly to the University of Texas Board of Regents, a post he held until 1917. On March 28, 1878, Fly married Kate R. Wilson, who died in 1905. On June 23, 1915, he married Frances E. S. Brand; they had a son. Fly died in Galveston on January 24, 1919.

Galveston Daily News, January 25, 1919. History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of the Cities of Houston and Galveston (Chicago: Lewis, 1895). Frank W. Johnson, A History of Texas and Texans (5 vols., ed. E. C. Barker and E. W. Winkler [Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1914; rpt. 1916]). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Education
  • Educators
  • Medical
  • Health and Medicine
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • School Founders
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • General Surgeons

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

Chester R. Burns, “Fly, Ashley Wilson,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 30, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.