JOHN ASHTON,  retired manufacturer and merchant, was born in Staffordshire, England, January 13, 1811, and is a son of Richard and Esther (Skidmore) Ashton, both of whom lived and died in England. John there grew to manhood, and attended a select school of his neighborhood. He afterward worked in a rolling-mill, and in June, 1832, immigrated to the United States, and found employment in an iron-mill in New Jersey about two years. He then removed to Pittsburgh, Penn., and continued to work at the iron business there until the fall of 1850, when he came to Sharon with a number of other mill-men to form a stock company with Joel B. Curtis, George Boyce, Peter Shoenberger and David Agnew, under the name of the Sharon Iron Company. This company built the first plant, and Mr. Ashton was connected with it till the mill shut down. He subsequently followed farming a few years, and then worked for the Westerman Iron Company. Mr. Ashton was one of the company who erected and put in operation the Atlantic Iron Mills, the firm being Alexander, Ashton & Co. P. L. Kimberly subsequently bought Alexander’s interest, and the firm became Kimberly, Ashton & Co. In 1871 Mr. Ashton sold out to Col. James Carnes, whose name succeeded his in the firm. He next went into the grocery business, and soon afterward engaged in developing the coal fields of Trumbull County, Ohio. For the past seventeen years Mr. Ashton has not been engaged in active business, except looking after his real estate and other property. He was married May 28, 1835, to Miss Frances, daughter of Stephen and Rebecca Manfull, natives of England, where Mrs. Ashton was born. Ten sons and three daughters were the fruits of this union: Richard (deceased), Mary Esther (deceased), William A. (deceased). Joseph, Stephen M., John, C. A., David (deceased), Frank, James (deceased), George W. (deceased) and Alice (deceased); five sons and one daughter surviving. Mrs. Ashton died February 16, 1881, a member of the Christian Church, to which denomination most of her children adhere. Politically Mr. Ashton is a Republican, has served in the borough council several terms, and one term as burgess. Coming to the United States comparatively a poor man, he has accumulated through the passing years a large estate, and is not only recognized as one of the wealthiest retired business men of Sharon, but also one of its honest, enterprising and respected citizens.

Source: (History of Mercer County, 1888, pages 704-705)

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