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1st Tier

Samuel Ash, Darby, Chester / Delaware Co., PA


joiner ca 1772 to ca 1790

an innkeeper ca 1790 onwards

Fought at Brandywine battle, RW, 1777


single plane reported; 10 15/16" long molder with 1/4" flat chamfers

plane obtained from / found in Chester Co. Pennsylvania

Sml Ash

SML ASH mark burned in the side, raised letters.


The 1st tier candidate is Samuel Ash (1748-1836), a joiner from Darby, PA working between ca 1772 and ca 1790. Afterwards, he was an innkeeper.

Parents Joshua and Alice Ash, noting that Joshua's predecessor came from England ca 1720. Samuel was b 7-31-1748 and d 6-25-1836, the third of six children. He married Martha Pearson 11-25-1771 and they had daughter Martha in 1772. Samuel married Hannah Crozier after Martha died in 1772. Samuel was at the Battle of Brandywine in 1777. (Biographical material courtesy 'Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Chester and Delaware Counties, PA, by G. Cope, 1904.')

In a 1772 ad, he notifies the public that his horse was stolen along with several other items including a hand saw from a joiner's shop.




Samuel was found in Lower Darby / Darby, Chester / Delaware Co's., tax lists from 1768 to at least 1825. In lists from 1779 (below) and 1781, his tax assessment includes a shop. It appears that in the 1781 tax list, Samuel is listed as a jointer. In 1799, Samuel's listed as an innkeeper. In lists from 1823, 1824, 1825 his tax assessment includes a frame house and barn and a tavern house.

In deeds from 1781, 1782, 1783 and 1786 he's listed as a jointer from Darby. In several of these deeds his brother John, cooper, is also mentioned. In 1804 and 1814 deeds, Samuel is an innkeeper. In newspaper ads from 1804, 1815 and 1816 Samuel either has an inn or a tavern.

1783 deed excerpt below.

After Delaware Co. was split from Chester Co., Samuel is recorded as an inn keeper in town records and county deeds ... "In 1790 after the formation of Delaware Co., Samuel Ash had license at the old inn, and continued there until 1820, where, having become a very aged man, he was succeeded by Stephen Howe." (History of Delaware Co., PA.)


Samuel died in 1836 and in a probate document, his son-in-law is his executor as his only daughter Martha has already died.

Other Individuals / 2nd tier

It was stated that Samuel is the 1st tier candidate for the plane marked Sml Ash. Based on where the plane was found and it's features, the initial search was conducted on 1790 to 1840 US census records from New England and Middle Atlantic states. Samuel Ash's were found in PA, MA, ME, NY and NH. From the target states, few Samuel Ash's were found in census records at all ... 3 in 1790, 1 in 1800, 4 in 1810, 3 in 1820, 3 in 1830 and 1 in 1840. Available period deeds, probate and town records were searched as well as town and county histories. Other than 1st tier Samuel above, no other woodworkers were found.

As indicated, candidates from the South (only a handful) were not investigated as the plane's style and where the plane was found / located, point to a PA origin. However, a carpenter was found in 1780 Charleston, SC ...  a Samuel Ash recorded on King Street. He's included as a second tier candidate for completeness. 

The Sml Ash molding plane.

A single molding plane is known ... likely Chester Co. as evidenced by the seller's location in 2013. The plane is 10 15/16" long, made of beech and has unusual chamfer stops ending above the shoulder. This chamfer stop design has been noted in the Rhykenology Group on Facebook. The branded imprint has raised letters.

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