John H. Ashton and Historic Ashton House

Mr. John H. Ashton started working in a variety store when just 12 years of age and continued his career in retail until his death at 99 years old in 2005. His late wife, Evelyn, and John were not just successful business-people in their community but were dedicated to serving the community outside of their business.

John H. Ashton graduated from Spencerville High School in 1924 and then later from the Lima Business College in 1925.

John and Evelyn, at one time, owned all or part of eleven different Ben Franklin Stores. Additionally, John H. Ashton was a dedicated member of the community in his adopted hometown of Carrollton. John H. Ashton was a founder of the Carrollton Chamber of Commerce and an original member of the Carrollton Civic Club. He was also a member of the Carrollton Rotary club, the Carrollton Village Fire Department, the Elks club, the local Masons, the Carrollton and Spencerville Historical Societies, he served on the Carrollton Boy Scout Committee and he was a 30-year board member of the Cummings Bank.

The Ashtons will certainly be missed by Carrollton and the surrounding communities but their legacy will live on through their contributions and through the museum created in their name. This museum will include items from the Ashton’s family history. Some dating as far back as the early 1800’s. The museum will also include items of a historic or nostalgic nature from Carrollton, the community the Ashtons loved so much.

Items from the Ashton’s personal collection will include their Hummel collection, Anri, their Wade figurines as well as Knowles, Hibel and Bing and Grondahl plates. Also their Haviland dishware from Limoge, France. There will also be, for the sports fans, items from the Kentucky Derby and The Ohio State Buckeyes going back to the 1940’s. There will also be vintage holiday postcards from the early 1900’s, political paraphernalia and vintage toys and games. The museum will even include vintage TV and radio shows playing in the museum that visitors can sit and enjoy.

The Civilian Conservation Corps in Ohio

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in 1933 as part of his New Deal to help deal with the effects of the Great Depression.
The CCC provided employment to almost 3 million men by its end. At its peak half a million men worked for the CCC, including some fourteen thousand Ohioans each year the program was in existence.

The CCC benefited Ohioans in other ways as well. This included improved parks and better flood and soil erosion control projects. The largest and most beneficial project to the state of Ohio that the CCC worked on was developing the Muskingum Conservancy District.

The CCC employed men between the age of 18 and 25 to work on various government projects. These included things like flood control, road construction, reforestation and erosion prevention—like much of the work the CCC performed in Ohio.

Although not a military organization the CCC was organized that way. Workers lived in camps, wore uniforms and served under the command of officers.

The French and Indian War: Ohio

The French and Indian war in early America saw bloodshed across Ohio.

The Treaty of Paris and the British capture of Montreal ended the French and Indian War in North America in 1760 although the war continued in other parts of the world until 1763 as it spilled over into Europe, Africa and India.

According to the treaty, Britain gained control of all French possessions in modern-day Canada and most of the territory east of the Mississippi River including the land that would become Ohio.

Because of British control Native Americans in Ohio feared colonists would move in and take their land. They feared being driven west as had happened since the earliest of the British settlements were built in America.

In 1763 the Pontiac of the Ottawa formed an alliance with other tribes and tried to drive the British from the western Appalachian Mountains. This is known as Pontiac’s Rebellion. The British were able to defeat Pontiac—they feared conflicts like this would cause bankruptcy after their expenditures during the recently ended war.

With the Proclamation of 1763, which forbade the British from living west of the Appalachian Mountains the British hoped to end any further conflict or fear. However, many in the British government and the colonists were upset as they’d wanted to move to the Ohio Country and this was one of the causes of the French and Indian War. This action by the British government convinced many colonists their home country did not understand life in the New World. This would become one reason for the American Revolution.


Congress Green Cemetery

The Pasture Graveyard was established in the early 1800’s in North Bend, Ohio on land originally owned by President Harrison’s family. Among the earliest burials was one John Cleves Symmes. He was a member of the US House of Representatives. He was also a judge in the Northwest Territory and President Harrison’s father-in-law. As one might expect many other Symmes and Harrisons were buried at what became known as the Congress Green Cemetery. It closed to burials in 1884.

During the time the cemetery was open the macabre practice of grave robbing on the part of medical schools to find fresh cadavers was not uncommon. The Congress Green Cemetery was one of their victims. Some of the bodies that were stolen included John Scott Harrison, President Harrison’s son. Family members discovered his body at the Ohio Medical College and we was placed in the Harrison Tomb near his parents.

The Congress Green Cemetery is also home to the endangered plant Running Buffalo Clover. It is named for its shape and the way adult plants dispatch “runners” to seed new plants.

The plant grows white flowers about one inch across. The buffalo that once inhabited Ohio ate the clover and helped distribute its seed. As the buffalo declined and farming took over much of the land the Running Buffalo Clover became endangered.

Giving respite to the endangered Running Buffalo Clover is now part of the Congress Green Cemetery’s legacy.


The Model T and Ohio

It was 1909 when Henry Ford introduced the world to the Model T. From 1910-1920 the Model T was the most popular and affordable car average Americans had access to. The Model T cost about $600 in 1912 making it fairly expensive. However, Ford’s later use of modern production practices (assembly line, interchangeable parts, unskilled labor etc) the price dropped to just $290 making the Model T obtainable to average US family.

Also helping to reduce the price was Ford’s refusal to provide consumers with any frills. Every Model T left the factory painted black and the only changes made between 1909 and 1927 were the addition of a roof and a self-starter.

The Model T dramatically changed life in the US and Ohio as workers no longer had to live near their workplace and moved to suburbs. Schools increased in size because children could be bused longer distances. People could travel further distances to socialize and enjoy things like theaters and art galleries.

People in the US accrued more debt as the purchased vehicles on credit. The first dealership to sell cars on deferred payment plan operated in Toledo, Ohio—Ford quickly took note and encouraged Americans to buy his Model T on similar plans.

Ohio played an important role in the rise of the automobile. Many car companies including Winton Motor Carriage Company, White Motor Company, Peerless Motor Vehicle Company, Packard Motor Company and more—including a Ford plant in Cleveland—operated out of Ohio in the early 1900’s