Between 1850 and 1860, approximately 1,300 slaves were sold out of Loudoun County, Virginia. In a series of resolutions dated December 30, 1831, the citizens of the county called for the gradual emancipation and colonization of the state's African American population. This was a major step towards ending slavery in the county. Ash, born a slave in Loudoun, was elected to the House of Delegates, representing Amelia and Nottoway Counties.
Scheel's detailed Loudoun Times-Mirror chronicles twenty-four black towns and villages and begins with the story of Bowmantown. Houston's intellect convinced the jury and, for the first time in Loudoun County, a black man accused in this way was sentenced to life in prison instead of death. In established neighborhoods in Leesburg and in western Loudoun, blacks often lived in separate areas and were almost always descended from older families in the county. He was one of 87 blacks elected to the General Assembly between 1867 and 1895; none represented Loudoun or the surrounding counties.
Postman accused him of helping the slaves of Loudoun and Fauquier to escape and of being “head of the abolitionist clan” in Loudoun. The gradual emancipation and colonization of African Americans in Loudoun County was a major step towards ending slavery in the county. The election of Ash to the House of Delegates was a sign that African Americans were beginning to gain recognition for their contributions to society. Houston's trial showed that African Americans were beginning to receive fair treatment under the law. The election of 87 African Americans to the General Assembly between 1867 and 1895 showed that African Americans were becoming more involved in politics. The story of slavery in Loudoun County is one that is still being told today.
It is a story of progress and change, but also one that reminds us that there is still much work to be done when it comes to racial equality.