ITS HISTORY AND TRADITION
James Ashburn has led a life of earnest and well-directed labor, crowned with a degree of success that enables him to lay aside the burden of business affairs and spend the evening of his days in leisure and contentment, in a fine
home in Spencer, Iowa. He was born in McLean county, Illinois, on the 26th of August, 1845, and is a son of George W. and Artemesia (Brown) Ashburn, who were born and reared in West Virginia, whence, after their marriage, they
came to Illinois. They located at Bloomington, where Mr. Ashburn established the first store in town, in a small log cabin. After living there six or seven years, they came to Delaware county, Iowa, where they settled on a farm, on
which they remained about seven years. At the end of that time Mr. Ashburn engaged in the hotel business at Rockville, Illinois. Later he moved to Leavenworth, Kansas, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits until 1863, when he
returned to Iowa, where he and his wife died.
Of the eleven children born to them, James Ashburn of this sketch is the only survivor. He was reared and educated mainly in Iowa. In October, 1862, he enlisted in Company G. Sixth Regiment Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, with which he
served until the close of the Civil war, when he was sent to the west and engaged in fighting Indians until October, 1865, when he was honorably discharged from the service. He then returned to Delaware county, Iowa, where he was
employed as a farm hand until after his marriage, when, in 1871 he came to Clay county and took up a homestead. His first home here was a sod house, with a board door and string latch, but in the course of time he prospered and
better living quarters were provided. He also had a sod barn. Later he bought one hundred and sixty acres additional, thus owning two hundred and forty acres, but eventually he sold that and bought eight acres of land at the city limits of Spencer, where he erected a beautiful, modern home, which he now occupies.
On February 17, 1869, Mr. Ashburn was united in marriage to Miss Jennie McCardle, who was born in Pennsylvania, and is a daughter of James and Mary Ann McCardle. Her parents were both natives of England, whence they came to the United States in an early day, locating first in Pennsylvania, where they lived until 1870, when they came to Clay county, Iowa, where they passed away. They were the parents of six children, all of whom are living. To Mr. and Mrs. Ashburn have been born nine children, namely: Frank; Cora M., wife of George Lackner; Charles A; Fred; Edith, the wife of Joseph Lackner; Ella, the wife of A. Darkam; Jennie, deceased; William; and Laura, the wife of Paul Goyette. Mr. Ashburn is a member of the Annett Post, No. 124, Grand Army of the Republic, at Spencer, and he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church. They are genial and hospitable in their social relations, enjoy a wide acquaintance and are extremely well liked throughout the community.
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