Ashton, James – Grundy County land has proven an excellent investment of both time and money, and those foresighted enough to secure farms before the price increased to its present quotations, have been able to acquire a desirable competency. One of the successful agriculturalists of Grundy County, now living retired at Morris is James Ashton. He was born in Delaware County, Pa., in September, 1831, a son of John and Elizabeth (Shaw) Ashton. John Ashton was born in England and in 1827 came to Pennsylvania where he worked in a factory until 1851. In the latter year he moved to Lisbon, Kendall County, Ill., and there bought a farm. He died on that place in 1872, being at that time the oldest member of the Odd Fellows’ lodge in Morris.
James Ashton was brought up on a farm and received a common school education. Until his marriage, he lived with his parents, but following that event went to Nettle Creek Township and rented a farm for a few years. He then bought two farms comprising 320 acres, in Wauponsee Township, and, moving upon one, operated it, and rented the other. In 1889 he moved to Morris, building his handsome residence which has all modern improvements, and is one of the best in the city. Later, he sold his two farms, and in 1897 bought 344 acres in Saratoga Township, renting a portion of the farm to a son and the balance to an outside party, as he has lived retired since coming to Morris.
On Mary 25, 1869, Mr. Ashton was married to Harriet McKinzie, born in Shelby County, Ind., daughter of William and Sophia (Speelman) McKinzie of Indiana. Mr. and Mrs. Ashton have had the following children: William J., residing on N. Liberty street, Morris; Bert, residing on N. Wauponsee street, Morris; has one son, Harold; James, living on a farm, has two children, Raymond and Dorothy; and Fred, of Morris. Mr. Ashton is a Methodist in church connection, and politically is a Republican. Ever since moving to Morris, Mr. Ashton has been interested in the development of the city, and is justly regarded as one of its most representative men, while he is a recognized authority upon agricultural matters.
Source: History of Grundy County, Illinois. Chicago, IL, USA: Munsell Publishing, 1914, p. 757.