About Allen Ash 1800 - 1889


Allen Ash – (1800-1889) The Ash family group came to Hamilton Township before the year 1797. They were among the first settlers to take up land in Hamilton Township, to the east of Cobourg. The location of some of their properties are now inside the recently extended town boundaries. Allen Ash was born in Hamilton Township, and is reported to be the second white child to be native of the township. Apparently in his younger years Allen Ash became proficient with the fiddle. A grandson of Allen Ash, W. Allen Fisher, of Barrie, formerly of Cobourg, deposited Ash family manuscripts with the National Library in Ottawa. Dr. Fisher reports : β€œThe title is a reference to the Ash manuscripts I donated to the Public Archives of Canada. Allen Ash is included in the Encyclopedia of Canadian Music, a huge compendium on every type including true Canadian folk music. Helmut Kalmann, chief archivist, informed me that the manuscripts have received more attention from musicologists than any other single artifact in his possession.”

Allen Ash also build a number of fiddles and, we have heard a hammered dulcimer. While biking across Manitoulin Island in the 1990s, fiddler Oliver Schroer discovered an old, ornately decorated fiddle signed "Allan Ash" hanging on the wall of a cafe. I have seen a photo of this instrument but the picture is long gone.

Ash's manuscript is important since as a native of Ontario, we know that these tunes came to him -rather than having been brought with him from somewhere else. Not all the tunes from the manuscript are presented here yet . I will be adding to the selection as time allows.

The original manuscript is now in the National Archives of Canada. Allen Ash fonds. - 1818-1882. - 2 cm of textual records. - 1 photograph. Biographical sketch Farmer and fiddler. Newcastle, Ontario. Scope and content The fonds contains records pertaining to the musical activities of Allen Ash as a fiddler: manuscript copies of music for fiddlers; photocopy of a marriage certificate; photocopy of an obituary written by his daughter Emilie Annie Ash; one photograph of Allen Ash. Immediate source of acquisition: acquired from W. Allen Fisher, grandson of Allen Ash, in 1975 and 1985. Restrictions: none. Finding aids: inventory.


Title About Allen Ash 1800 - 1889
Subject Allen Ash Manuscript Reference Material
Year 1800
Locale Central
Keywords Cobourg Manuscript


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