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Henry T. Ashford has had much to do with Kansas newspaper life during the last quarter of a century. He is now editor and proprietor of the Elsmore Leader, which he founded. His name is also familiar in republican party circles in this section of the state, and whatever he undertakes he does with the fullness of enthusiasm which gets results and begets confidence in his ability.
He represents a family of Kentuckians, though his people have lived in Kansas since pioneer times. His grandfather, of Irish-English stock, went at an early day into Kentucky and died near Bowling Green in that state. He married Elizabeth Pocahontas, said to have been of the same ancestral stock as the famous Pocahontas of early colonial Virginia.
Henry Tulley Ashford was born in Logan County, Kentucky, August 23, 1874. His father, Thomas H. Ashford, who was an only surviving son, was born near Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 1838. He grew up in that community, was married in Logan County, Keutucky, and had spent his active career as a farmer, and was also agent for the Singer Sewing Machine a number of years. He first knew Kansas when it was almost an unexplored district. He came out in 1850 and sojourned for several years in the home of a cousin on the Pottawatomie Indian Reservation. He then returned to Kentucky, but in 1879 came to Kansas again, ran a meat market for two years at Salina, and then went back to Logan County, Kentucky, to his farm. In 1883 he returned to Kansas, this time locating at St. Paul, where he followed the trade of carpenter until 1904. From that year until 1907 he was in business as a carpenter and contractor at Chanute, Kansas, and since then had been largely retired and makes his home with his children. He is now with his son, Henry T. Ashford, at Elsmore. Thomas Ashford was a Union soldier, serving eighteen months with a Kentucky regiment. He is a loyal republican, and at one time served as deputy sheriff of Neosho County, Kansas. During the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis he served as postmaster for Kansas on the Exposition grounds. He is an active member and supporter of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Thomas H. Ashford married Mary Tulley, who was born in Logan County, Kentucky, in 1850. She died at Chanute, Kansas, in 1902. There were four children, Henry T. being the youngest. Florence died in infancy. B. H. Ashford is field manager for the Humboldt Oil and Gas Company, living at Humboldt. Myrtle, who died at Nevada, Missouri, in 1910, was the wife of G. B. Thompson, who is a locomotive engineer now living at Kansas City, Missouri.
Henry T. Ashford during his early boyhood in Kentucky attended a private school known as the Cottage Home College in Logan County for two years. After that his education was acquired in the public schools at St. Paul, Kansas. At the age of eighteen he left school and entered the printing office of the Osage Mission Journal at St. Paul (then Osage Mission), serving a complete apprenticeship and acquiring both a knowledge of the printing business and the general routine of newspaper work. He was with the Osage Mission Journal from 1892 to 1896, subsequently spent six months with the Chanute Times, six months on the Longton News, and then for eight years was foreman of the office of the Erie Sentinel. Entering the newspaper and printing business on his own account, he leased a paper at Galesburg and later at Elsmore, and in July, 1907, purchased the Elsmore Leader of Roy W. Cox. While conducting the paper he also served as postmaster from 1908 to 1911. He resigned the post office and sold the paper, and spent the following year on a farm. The next six months he was with the Humboldt Union, and then acquired a half interest in the Savonburg Record, but sold out at the end of six months. Returning to Elsmore, Mr. Ashford established the Elsmore Leader on February 6, 1913. The paper which he had formerly owned at Elsmore had in the meantime been removed. He is now editor and proprietor of the Leader, and publishes a bright and newsy paper that is a credit to him and to the community. The offices of the plant are in the post office building on Main Street and the Leader had a large circulation over Allen and surrounding counties. It is a republican paper.
Mr. Ashford is himself a republican, and had always been active in the affairs of his party. During the progressive movement Mr. Ashford never wavered in his firm belief of republicanism, and had always stood firm for the principles of his party, and his influence in Eastern Allen County had done much to again unite the two factions of the party. He had served as a delegate to the state and congressional conventions for about twelve years. In 1914 he was elected township treasurer and in 1916 was re-elected for another term of two years. He was city clerk of Elsmore when the town was first incorporated. During his former residence there he built a home, but sold it in 1909. Mr. Ashford is affiliated with the Knights and Ladies of Security at Savonburg. He is also a member of the Anti-Horse Thief Association.
He was married at Erie, Kansas, in 1901 to Miss Anna Smith, daughter of C. D. and Elizabeth Smith, the latter a resident of Coffeyville, Kansas. Her father, now deceased, was a merchant at Erie. Mr. and Mrs. Ashford have two children: Harrison, born September 24, 1901, and now in the first year of the Elsmore High School; and Isabelle, born December 6, 1904.