Open Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend and Monday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.Fun with the Family Colonel John Ashley House is named for one of the first citizens of the town of Sheffield, which was purchased in 1722 from Native Americans for 460 pounds sterling, three barrels of cider, and thirty quarts of rum. Ashley, a surveyor and lawyer, built his house in 1735. In 1773 the Ashley house was the site of the signing of the Sheffield Declaration, now considered the first “declaration of independence” from Britain. After the Revolutionary War Ashley’s slave Elizabeth Mumbet was freed under the new state of Massachusetts’s constitution (see also the “Sedgewick Pie” sidebar in this chapter). The house features a collection of colonial-era tools and tableware. The herb gardens are particularly interesting. Learn how eighteenth-century Americans used herbs for cooking meals, healing the sick, and freshening their homes.