William Shepperd Ashe
Born in Rocky Point, North Carolina, Ashe attended school in Fayetteville and pursued classical studied at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Ashe engaged in rice cultivation and studied law; he was admitted to the state bar in 1836 and practiced in New Hanover County.
Active in the Democratic Party, Ashe was a presidential elector in 1844 and was elected to the North Carolina Senate for a term of two years. (1846–1848). In 1848, he was sent to the U.S. House, serving in the 31st, 32nd, and 33rd Congresses (March 4, 1849 – March 3, 1855). During the 32nd Congress, Ashe chaired the Committee on Elections. He did not run again in 1854, but served as the president of the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad Company from 1854 until his death.
He was elected to one further term in the North Carolina Senate between 1859 to 1861. He was a delegate to the Charleston Democratic National Convention in 1860 and the North Carolina Constitutional Convention of 1861.
During the American Civil War, Ashe was a major in the Confederate Army, in charge of all transportation between Virginia and the rest of the South. Ashe was killed in a railroad accident near Wilmington, North Carolina on September 14, 1862. He is buried in a family cemetery in Pender County, North Carolina.