Col. John Ashley House – Ashley Falls, MA
In 1735, at the age of 25, Colonel John Ashley built this house, the oldest in Berkshire County, for his Dutch bride, Hannah Hogeboom. The Ashley House was the center of social, economic, and political life in south Berkshire County in the eighteenth century. The famous Sheffield Declaration, a petition against British tyranny and a manifesto for individual rights, was drafted in the upstairs study of the house and published in 1773. The cause for abolishing slavery in America was strengthened in the celebrated 1781 Massachusetts state court battle that freed the Ashleys’ slave, Elizabeth Freeman (nicknamed Mumbet) under the new state constitution.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975, the Ashley House exemplifies early 18th century architecture. House furnishings and items date from the 18th and early 19th centuries.