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Biography of Harry O. Ashley

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Harry O. Ashley. The Ashley family had been identified with Woodson County since 1877, a period of forty years. The name had been closely associated with business and professional affairs here ever since, and Harry O. Ashley, son of the founder of the family, is now serving as county surveyor and is also city engineer of Yates Center.

The Ashleys are English people and for many years their home was at Frodsham, near Cheshire. The grandfather of Harry O. Ashley was Henry Ashley, Sr., who spent all his life in Liverpool and was an attorney by profession. Henry Ashley, Jr., was born at Fordsham, near Cheshire, in 1847, grew up in that busy shipping center, and for a time followed the sea as a sailor. In 1877 he came to the United States, locating in Woodson County, Kansas, and thereafter was a well-known contractor at Yates Center. He took a very active part in local affairs. On becoming an American citizen he allied himself with the democratic party. When Yates Center was incorporated as a city he was elected its first mayor, and at the time of his death, which occurred September 25, 1913, was filling the office of county commissioner. In England he was a member of the Established Church and was one of the small congregation of the Episcopal Church at Yates Center and did much toward maintaining the organization in which he served as vestryman. Henry Ashley married Julia M. Skinner, who was born at Williamsburg, Kentucky, in 1861, and is still living at Yates Center. She was the mother of eight children: Tiny, at home with her mother; Frances, wife of M. Payne, a retired real estate man now living at Rochester, England, and employed in training troops for the British Government; Bessie, who lives with her mother; Jennie, a teacher at Swaledale, Iowa; Mildred, at home; Harold, a freshman in the Yates Center High School and Francis, a public school student.

Harry O. Ashley was born at Yates Center January 27, 1891, and had spent his life in that city. He graduated from high school in 1909, attended Washburn College at Topeka one year and had two years in the State Agricultural College at Manhattan. He specialized in civil engineering, and in 1913 became county surveyor of Woodson County and city engineer at Yates Center. He is giving a very effective administration in both positions and his offices are in the courthouse.

Mrs. Henry Ashley owned the comfortable home where she and her children reside on Grove street at the corner of Ridge street, and also had business property and farming lands in Woodson County.

Harry Ashley is a democrat in his party affiliations, and is serving as a vestryman of the Episcopal Church. Fraternally he is affiliated with Gilead Lodge No. 144, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, at Yates Center, and with Yates Center Lodge of Knights of Pythias.


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