Mark Ashdown, deceased, for many years a resident of Port Byron and Coe Townships, was, during his lifetime, one of the best known and respected of the many long time residents of this county. He was born in County Kent, in England. on the third day of June, 1851, and died May 31, 1907. He came to America early and in late years became prominent in local public life as an ardent Prohibitionist and the holder of various public offices in this county at various times. Not until early in 1907 did death finally claim Mr. Ashdown, after he had suffered for six years with paralysis.
The late citizen of Rock Island County, here mentioned, was the son of Edward and Ann Bakurst Ashdown, both of County Sussex, England. Edward Ashdown, father of Mark, came to America in 1842, accompanied by his two sons, Henry and Mark, and after spending thirteen months in Macedon, Wayne County, New York, they returned to England, where the elder Mr. Ashdown died soon afterward.
In the fall of 1850 Mark and his brother returned to New York State and again located in Wayne County. Until 1855 Mark remained there and in that year emigrated to Illinois, spending one Summer in Port Byron. Then going to Canoe Creek Township of Rock Island County, he remained until 1863, engaging in agricultural pursuits. Going into Coe Township in 1863, he remained until 1881, at which time he again moved to Port Byron, engaging in the manufacture of lumber and acting as local dealer in agricultural implements. Not until 1895 did he permanently retire from active business pursuits.
For eight years Mr. Ashdown was a justice of the peace in Coe Township and for thirteen years he was a member of the school board. He was also at one time a member of the Port Byron town board. In early years Mr. Ashdown was identified with the Democratic Party, but in late years, as was stated above, he became a Prohibitionist.
Mark Ashdown married in Wayne County, New York, on December 23, 1852, the bride being Miss Mary Ann Beale, of County Kent, England. Miss Beale came to this country in 1850, with her father, Henry E. Beale. The nearest descendants of Mark Ashdown are two sons and one daughter, namely: William Henry, born in Wayne County, New York, and now living in Coe Township; Charles Edward, born in Rock Island County, Illinois, a farmer living in Coe Township; and Ella E., the wife of Luther S. Pearsell, a Port Byron merchant. One son died in infancy.