|Establishment:||October 19, 2209|
Ashwick is a town in the ruins of East Memphis, occupying a local elementary and some residential blocks near it. It maintains good relations with New Memphis to the west and is a close ally of Covington to the north. Due to the volatile potential of Ashwick, settlements in Jackson and Nashville have been wary of the town, maintaining minimal contact directly, but frequenting New Memphis for information on the town. The two factions in Ashwick, the CLF, and AGl are divided over the notable Ghoul population in the town. The main building in the town, the elementary, serves as a government building on the second floor and as a shopping area on the first.
Ashwick was originally a simple elementary school for the largely black population of eastern Memphis. Constructed in 2034, it would process countless children in its time, and was preparing for another day of class when the bombs fell. While most of the children were still preparing to leave, the faculty had arrived and would see blasts from around the city.
Some would be killed by the glass from the pressure wave, but most would simply head home to check on their loved ones, or try to leave. The school would briefly be used as a shelter for shell-shocked survivors, but they moved on soon after arriving. Besides being picked over, the school would sit abandoned for more than century. It would be reclaimed by a man in 2180, with a small party of ghouls from New Memphis settling inside the structure.
They originally intended to scavenge the area and move on, but the relative stability of the school and the peacefulness caused them to reconsider. They would establish a small caravan back to New Memphis to sell their finds, as well as attract more ghouls. The ghouls wouldn't mind human settlers either, and by 2208 they had a growing community of forty-six, the majority of which were ghouls.
This would attract the attention of caravans from Memphis, would provide more goods, as well as settlers and economic migrants. Initially friendly, a growing divide would emerge between those humans who liked (or at least didn't mind) ghouls, and those who didn't. At first just talk, it would result in several brawls after hours. To try and retain some order, several residents began to organize their respective blocs. A meeting between the two groups would result in the establishment of a town council, with the persons to be decided by election.
Who was eligible to vote in this election was another matter, however, as the AGL didn't want "the Zombies" to vote like the regular humans. For their part, the Ghouls were divided in their opinions, with some proposing open conflicts against the bigots. There were even some near feralhood that supported the AGL, unclear on their goals. In the end, it was eventually agreed the ghouls could vote, but the AGL would receive one set on the council regardless.
Despite their unfair advantage the AGL were defeated handily and by late 2209 the settlement of Ashwick was formally named. It was named due to the hope of its ghoul residents, that it would be like "a candle made of concrete, with a wick of ash that burns forever." Despite the contentious start to the town, both sides work to put aside their differences for the first decade, establishing several business and farms.
This stability would attract more settlers, the large majority of whom were human, which would tip the balance in their favor by 2222. This influx also brought more vocal opponents to the ghouls, the loudest of whom was William Becker, a man from farther south. Becker came with enough caps and materials to open his own saloon in town, which he used to express his anti-ghoul sentiments. He would also come out against blacks and other ethnic groups, claiming they were as bad as the "shamblers."
The prosperity had also brought the poor and those fleeing violence, many of whom had run-ins with the Klan before and were tired of seeing their message. Many of these newcomers rallied around Hogarth Buntintt, a former rafter captain, and minor trader. This second round of tensions would see violence, with both sides striking at opposing members. The town council stepped forward after a fatal brawl, determined to keep the town from being torn apart.
This took the form of ejecting both Becker and Buntintt from town and scheduling another vote for 2224. With only the 'standard' candidates to choose from, this vote secured the status quo for the next decade. Two events would almost destroy Ashwick in the 2230s; the rise of New Memphis to the west; and the near-destruction of Sea Isle Elementary due to a fire. The majority of citizens would leave after this combination, leaving the town sitting around thirty souls by 2240.
It would take the next two and a-half decades to recover their population, spurred on in part by the development of Covington. Families would slowly replace the single scavengers, and Ghouls would be the minority by 2270, with the humans simply outbreeding them. The parties have also managed to hold on through those trying times, with both attracting newcomers at a steady rate. In 2287 the town sits in an interested position, as an independent trade town outside of New Memphis and possessing close ties with Covington, it also seems to be headed towards civil strife. The current generation has become just as polarized over the ghoul issue as previous generations and has scheduled a definitive vote on the matter for New Year's day 2288.
The Civilians' Liberty Front is tolerant of the Ghoul population, which is about one-third the population of Ashwick, and shows no discrimination against them. However, the Anti-Ghoul League wants to segregate or remove the local Ghouls. The CLF is in control of the government and contains the majority of the town's people, but the AGL has become increasingly public with its displays of discrimination. The town is effectively divided along former Sea Isle Road and south along White Station Road, with the CLF controlling northern, western, and central Ashwick, and the AGL controlling the southern blocks. Tensions have risen exponentially over the last few years, reaching new heights.
Ashwick is organized around the old elementary school that serves as their city hall/shopping mall, with residents living in pre-war buildings and shacks radiating out from it for blocks. Several small farms and gardens occupy what green spaces survived uncovered, but mostly ruins surround the settlement.
The trade in town revolves mainly around food and preservatives, being bought with salvage and board. There is also a steady demand for weapons, something the Gun Dividers have taken advantage of, sending ammunition caravans every two weeks.