Asa Risley was born in 1754 in Glastonbury, Connecticut. He married Ruth Badger in 1775. They moved to Hanover in 1789, where he began working as a gravestone maker until his death in 1840. Asa and Ruth had four children that survived past childhood, Lucy, Lewis (1777-1833), Ruth, and Asa Jr. (1790-1862). Asa married Seviah Kendrick and had one son, Lewis Edson Risley (1824-1901). Besides carving gravestones, the Risley family was actively engaged in the buying and selling of land for profit.