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Pages from Journal of Dr. Elihu Ashley
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Elihu Ashley was a physician from Deerfield, Massachusetts, and a member of a prominent family known for their Tory affiliation. These pages of his journal show Ashley's changing views of the political unrest in the American colonies as the Revolutionary War drew closer. While his early entries from 1773 focus on his social life and the courtship of his future wife, later pages reveal how Ashley became involved as the political climate grew more volatile in the months before the Revolution. In 1775, he cut down Deerfield's Liberty Pole, a symbol of dissent towards Great Britain, which had been erected by neighboring Whigs (or Patriots). He goes on to report the local response and outcome of the Battle of Lexington, the first open conflict in the war. As the war raged on and his friends took up arms for the colonists, Elihu distanced himself from Tory activities by refusing to meet with and assist English prisoners of war.
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