Charles D. Ashley

CHARLES D. ASHLEY, of Columbus, was born in Colebrook, Ashtabula County, Ohio, May 3, 1854. His father, Rev. John Ashley, who was for 40 years a minister of the Free Will Baptist Church, was born in Canada, but his parents moved to Huron County, Ohio, when he was three years of age. His mother's name before marriage was Betsy Vaughn, but she died when he was but two years of age and his father married Francis S. Proctor when he was three years old and she was always a good mother to him. During Charles D. Ashley's boyhood days, his parents resided in Ohio and Michigan at places where his father was engaged in his ministerial labors and he was sent to the common schools and given a Christian training at home. When he was 15 years old, his father gave him his time that he might earn money to go to school and he afterwards attended school for some time at the North Western Normal School at Republic, Ohio, and later spent one year at Hillsdale College, at Hillsdale, Michigan. He supported himself and paid his own way at school. He taught school for several months and afterwards began the study of the law with Wickham & Wildman at Norwalk, Ohio. He took a two-years course and was a close student, enjoying the work of fitting himself for his chosen profession. He was admitted to the bar before the District Court, at Cleveland, Ohio, after a very thorough examination which was conducted by five of the ablest lawyers of that city, four of whom had been on the bench in that State.

Soon after he was admitted to the bar, Mr. Ashley came to Kansas, arriving in Cherokee County, about the first of April, 1879, and that spring he formed a partnership with C. O. Stockslager, who had a good law practice at Galena. Stockslager & Ashley had a good practice, but only remained together for one year, when Mr. Stockslager gave up the practice for a time that he might attend to his mining interests. Mr. Ashley continued in the practice with much success at Galena, until the fall of 1882, when he was nominated by the Republican party and elected prosecuting attorney of Cherokee County. He then removed to Columbus, where he has reside and practiced law ever since. He held the office of county attorney for two years and although a young practitioner at the time he made one of the best public prosecutors in the State and was very successful in his cases. He was not a candidate for renomination, but in the fall of 1888, while he was in Ohio, visiting with his wife and daughter, the Republicans again nominated him for prosecuting attorney and he was elected by a good majority, receiving 200 more votes than Harrison was given in this county for president. During the last two years that Mr. Ashley was the public prosecutor, he only lost two cases which he prosecuted before a jury in the District Court of Cherokee County, and during that time he convicted many who were sent to the penitentiary. He was always ready to try his cases when they were called and never prosecuted any one out of malice or to satisfy the spite of any complainant. He has always been in favor of the enforcement of the prohibitory liquor law of Kansas, having ardently supported the amendment to the Kansas Constitution when it was adopted, and he believed that the law should be enforced and whenever he had the evidence that it had been violated he prosecuted the violator and convicted many of this charge, collecting several thousand dollars in this way for the school fund of the State. Mr. Ashley has had much experience during the past 25 years in the prosecution and defense of criminal cases and is considered one of the most successful criminal lawyers of the State.

Mr. Ashley has recently filled the position of assistant attorney general for Cherokee County, Kansas, and has prosecuted successfully some 26 out of 70 cases wherein indictments were returned by the grand jury and there are some 25 yet to try out of the number, who have been arrested for violations of the prohibitory liquor law. He has not yet had a single acquittal and out of 10 cases which were taken to the Supreme Court of this class of cases he has won nine and one is still pending in that court. The Attorney General of Kansas requested him to take full charge of the cases in the lower and in the Supreme Court, which he did.

As a lawyer, whether in civil or in criminal practice, Mr. Ashley has few equals in Southeastern Kansas. The success which he has attained has given him a high reputation, and he is widely known among members of the bar of the State. He is a close student, is of keen and ready perception, thoroughly prepares his cases and is a very earnest and able trial lawyer. He is strictly honest and bears that reputation wherever he is known. He insists that it requires integrity as well as ability to make a good lawyer. He always guards the interests of his client with much care and never begins a case simply to get a fee.

Mr. Ashley was married to Clara B. Keefer, in Kansas City, Missouri, May 20, 1880. They have two children,—a daughter 22 years old, now Mrs. Stacy Haines; and Charles Dickens, a son, nine years old,—and one grandson who is but a few days old, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Haines.

Mr. Ashley's family are attendants of the Presbyteran Church and have been for many years: he is a member, but his wife and daughter are not members of any church but are believers in Christianity. Mr. Ashley is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America. Woodmen of the World and Ancient Order of United Workmen. He has been successful in his business and has recently built a good, modern residence on his property, which is in the best part of the city. He has always taken an active interest in politics, being a Republican, but has refused every opportunity for office except that of public prosecutor, and he only accepted that as it was strictly in the line of his profession. He has a very high regard for his profession and believes that it furnishes as good an opportunity for usefulness as one could wish. He thinks a great deal of his family and can be found at his home almost any evening.


History of Cherokee County Kansas and its representative citizens, ed. & comp. by Nathaniel Thompson Allison, 1904, transcribed by students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Baxter Spring, Kansas, 5-6-97.


[TOC] [Biog. Index] [1904 Index] [Cherokee Co.] [Archives]
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