The Town of Ashley was founded in 1892 by the Wabash Railroad. Ashley is located in far northeastern Indiana on the borders of Steuben and DeKalb Counties of Indiana.
The question arises, on occasion, how two towns, just a mile apart, came to be. According to the Fort Wayne Area Newspaper The News-Sentinel, there are two stories.
The first story tells of Hudson landowners asking too much money for the land wanted by the Wabash Railroad in 1891. As the story goes, the railroad then bought the right-of-way a mile away. It is then the new Town of Ashley was born.
The second version tells that the railroad was interested in the Indiana Improvement Company. The company bought land a mile form Hudson and the formation of the Town of Ashley was directed by a man by the name of Theodore Gray, of Lincoln, Missourri. This company apparently was owned by the Wabash Railroad System. This story gives rise to the assumption that the company never intended to buy the land in Hudson.
According to The Ashley Times, dated Thursday, August 4, 1892, the Indiana Improvement Company was organized for the express purpose of buying and selling real estate, specifically to build the Town of Ashley. They bought 800 acres of land, of which 100 acres was sold to Wabash Railroad Company.
Until 1907, Ashley was the division point for the railroad. The hustle-and-bustle of many busy little shops and offices still leaves its mark on the town. Some of the buildings are still standing that these active businesses once occupied. The town boomed until 1907 when the company moved its division headquarters to Montpelier, Ohio.
Origin of Names by Marjorie Barnhart
Hudson was the name given by the postal authorities to the post office established in the town of North Benton which was platted in 1869.
Ashley was named after Ossian D. Ashley, president of the Wabash Railroad from 1890 to 1902. Under his regime the section of the line from Gary to Montpelier, O., was constructed. The town was platted in 1892.