From A Biographical
History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 486
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
Honored and respected by all, there is no man in Lyons who occupies a more enviable position than Jesse Ainsworth in industrial and financial circles, not alone on account of the brilliant success which he has achieved, but also on account of the honorable, straightforward business policy he has ever followed. He possesses untiring energy, is quick of perception, forms his plans readily and is determined in their execution, and his close application to business and his excellent management have brought to him the high degree of prosperity which is today his. He is now superintendent for the Bevis Rock Salt Company, of Lyons, an industry which has made this city known throughout America.
Mr. Ainsworth is a native of England, his birth having occurred in North Staffordshire, September 13, 1857. He represents a good family of that country. They came to the United States in 1876, and located in Illinois. His father, Samuel Ainsworth, is a mining superintendent now having control of the well known Taylorsville mines, of Illinois. He was born, reared and educated in the “merrie isle,” and in his native county of Staffordshire he wedded Miss Mary Ann Hall, who was also a native of the same locality, and proved to her husband a faithful companion and helpmate on the journey of life. They became the parents of eleven children, nine of whom, three sons and six daughters, reached years of maturity.
Mr. Ainsworth of this review acquired an excellent education in the Mechanic’ Institute, at Hanley, England, where he became a mining engineer. He stood well in his classes, his scholarship indicating his thoroughness in his work. Well prepared for the practical and responsible duties of life, he then put aside his text-books and at the age of nineteen bade adieu to family, friends and native land and sailed for the United States, believing that better opportunities were afforded to young men in the new world than could be obtained in the older countries of Europe, where competition was greater. He was strong and hopeful, had an accurate knowledge of his profession and was possessed of a laudable ambition. Good health, honesty and industry stood him instead of fortune and proved the foundation upon which he reared the superstructure of his present prosperity. After arriving on the Atlantic coast he made his way westward and secured a situation in the mines in Collinsville, Illinois, where he remained for four or five years. He then went to Colorado and was engaged in mining at Canyon City for the Colorado Coal and Iron Company. Later he returned to Illinois and entered the service of the Lebanon Coal Company, with which he was connected for eighteen months. He next went to Smithboro, Illinois, where he sunk a shaft for the Smithboro Coal Company and remained in charge of their mining interests for a period of eighteen months. On the expiration of that time he entered the employ of the Consolidated Coal Company, of St Louis, Missouri, with mines at Richland and White Oak, Illinois, acting as superintendent of the company for four years. His advancement had been steady, continuous and well deserved, and at the age of twenty-six he occupied a very important position, one entailing great responsibility as well as a comprehensive knowledge of mining operations. In 1890 Mr. Ainsworth came to Lyons as superintendent for the Bevis Rock Salt Company, and the industry of which he has control is the leading one in Rice county. The business was established in 1890 and the plant was erected at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars. Employment is furnished to over one hundred workmen, and the salt which is mined is equal in quality to any produced in the entire world. This has made Lyons, famous, and the enterprise has proved not only of practical benefit to the stockholders, but has largely promoted the welfare, prosperity and advancement of the community in which it is located. Mr. Ainsworth is well qualified for his position, having a thorough understanding of mining and the great scientific principles which underlie the work. He has great executive and business ability and is capable of controlling the efforts of those under him. Kindness, amiability and courtesy not only characterize his social relations but are a marked feature in his business life, and the humble employe never sees a trace of the overbearing task-master in him. In addition to his other business relations he is now vice-president of the Lyons National Bank.Mr. Ainsworth was married in Caseyville, Illinois, on the 9th of October, 1883, to Miss Catherine Jones, a lady of intelligence and culture and a daughter of William L and Mary (Morgans) Jones, both of whom came from western Wales. The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Ainsworth has been blessed with eight children, namely: Ida, Samuel, Jesse, William, Lydia, Bessie, David and Alfred. They lost one child, Lewis William, who died at the age of three years. Mr. Ainsworth was reared in the Episcopal faith, and he and his wife are now identified with the Methodist Episcopal church. In his political affiliations he is a stalwart Republican and was president of the McKinley club in 1896 and 1900. He does all in his power to advance the growth and insure the success of his party and keeps well informed on all political issues, thus being able to support his position by intelligent argument. He is a prominent and valued Mason, having attained the Knight Templar degree in the York Rite and the thirty-second degree of the Scottish Rite, being a member of Wichita Consistory. In manner he is frank and genial, in all business transactions is honorable, straightforward and reliable, and throughout this portion of Kansas he is known as one of the popular and valued citizens of Lyons. He takes an active interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community and his devotion to the public good is unquestioned and arises from a sincere interest in his fellow men. His career has ever been such as to warrant the trust and confidence of the business world, for he has ever conducted all transactions on the strictest principles of honesty and integrity.