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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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CHARLES B. ASHTON is of English descent, his grandfather, Benjamin Ashton, having been born and reared in England, and his father having lived in that country until after his marriage. He was born in Phoenixville, Chester county, Pennsylvania, December 22, 1858.

Benjamin Ashton (grandfather) was born in Hull, England. He was a manufacturer of cloths and broadcloths, and also was engaged in contracting and building. He built the famous docks and wharfs in his native city, and was a man of means. He married Miss Ann Stewart, a descendant of the famous Scottish Stewarts. Benjamin Ashton died in Sheffield, England, and was buried in that city. His wife married (second husband) John Cliffe, of Wortley, England, and after her death was buried in the same cemetery as her first husband.

Charles Ashton (father) was born in Sheffield, England, May 19, 1815, and grew to manhood in that city. He married Caroline Butterworth, daughter of John and Mary Butterworth, residents of Balby, near Dorchester, England. The Butterworths had lived in that section of England for generations. Charles Ashton was married October 28, 1843. His wife was born February 28, 1823.

Charles Ashton (father) was a student in the parish school during the early part of his life. Here the text-book was the Bible. His education was completed in the Sheffield Academy and he afterwards was employed for several years by an iron manufacturing company at Sheffield. He was apprenticed to learn chemistry and the apothecary business, and after finishing his apprenticeship he sailed for America, bringing with him his wife and two sons, George and Benjamin, and leaving his eldest daughter, Catharine, with her grandmother Cliffe. He arrived in America in 1848 and settled in Philadelphia. His first position was with the Sauerman firm, who put fire plugs in Norristown. About 1852 he removed to Phoenixville, Chester county, and was employed by the Phoenixville Iron Company until 1865. In 1867 he went to Bridgeport, having secured employment with the Newbold Iron Company as a blacksmith and there remained a number of years. He afterwards became a traveling salesman for Levi Oberholtzer & Company, which position he was filling at the time of his death. In 1882 he and his family removed to Norristown. He was a member of the First Baptist church in Bridgeport for many years. Although an Englishman by birth, reared under the free trade government, he was a firm believer in the Republican policy of protection, and advocated it in an able manner on all occasions. He was an active member of the Republican party.

Charles and Caroline (Butterworth) Ashton had the following children: Catharine, born December 9, 1844, in Sheffield, married Joseph F. Atkinson on April 2, 1874. Their children are: Theodora, Grace and Eveline. George B., born February 4, 1846, died November 12, 1850, in Sheffield, England. Benjamin, born March 29, 1848, died March 10, 1853, in Sheffield, England. Ann, born January 20, 1850, died September 25, 1853, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Esther, born March 12, 1851, died January 11, 1852, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Caroline, born February 6, 1853, died August 5, 1898, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Mary Jane, born April 1, 1855, died September 28, 1881, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Isabella Angeline, born May 20, 1857, died February 25, 1859, in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Charles B., born December 22, 1858, is in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Justitia Matilda, born May 1, 1861, died August 10, 1889, in Phoenixville. Sarah Elizabeth, born May 24, 1863, is unmarried.

Charles B. Ashton removed with his father’s family from Chester county to Port Providence, Montgomery county, when he was five years old. Two years later the family removed to the Corner Store, near Montclare, Montgomery county. About 1867, they settled in Bridgeport, where Charles B. Ashton attended the public schools. His school days ended, he entered the employ of J. D. Sisler of Bridgeport, and remained with him one year. Not being satisfied with the opportunities afforded in that business, he secured a position with William Stahler, druggist of Norristown, with the intention of learning the profession. In 1883 he matriculated at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and in 1887 received his diploma for proficiency in his craft, which established him as a Doctor of Pharmacy, Ph. G., and qualified him a fully registered pharmacist under the laws of Pennsylvania.

He was appointed druggist for the State Hospital for the Insane for the southeastern district of Pennsylvania, at Norristown, and served very acceptably for a term of four years, when he resigned that he might enjoy a visit of six months with his sister’s family in England.

After returning to America he held several positions, the most prominent being with Hazzard & Hazzard Company, of New York city, at their Newport branch. He left this firm in 1893 and opened his drug store at the corner of Arch and Airy streets, Norristown, where he has since been engaged in business, besides operating a branch store at the intersection of Fourth Ford and Holstein streets, Bridgeport, since February, 1904.

Mr. Ashton is a staunch and active Republican and has been honored by his party with the office of coroner, being appointed by Governor Stone on January 2, 1901. He has been a member of the Republican county committee for six years and has represented his party in senatorial conventions for a number of years. He has been a member of the Baptist denomination for twenty years, and has been prominent as a teacher in the Sunday-schools, and in the church choir. He was baptized in the Bridgeport Baptist church and transferred his membership by letter to the Norristown Baptist church. Later, with sixty-seven others, he withdrew from this church, the object being to organize the Olivel Baptist church, the third Baptist church in Norristown, which was organized in 1903. He was elected trustee and chorister of the new organization.

On June 22, 1896, Charles B. Ashton married Mary, only daughter of Joseph and Melissa (Lang) Ruch. Mr. and Mrs. Ashton have one son, John F. Lang Ashton, born August 22, 1898.

Mr. Ashton is active among the druggists of Pennsylvania and is an energetic worker in the Montgomery County Druggists’ Association, of which he is secretary. He represented the organization in the National Association of Retail Druggists, which met at Cleveland, Ohio, in September, 1902. Mr. Ashton is a member of Charity Lodge, No. 190, F. and A. M., of Norristown; Norristown Chapter, R. A. M., of Norristown; Hutchison Commandery, No. 32, K. T.; Norristown Lodge of Elks, No. 714; and Linnwood Lodge, A. O. U. W., of Norristown.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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