ASH, GEORGE W. - The pioneers who came to Sangamon County never imagined that land here would some day be held at the fancy prices now prevailing, and yet they themselves laid the foundations for this wonderful advancement, and to them should be given full meed of praise. One of the men who is fortunate enough to be the owner of some of this high priced farm land is George W. Ash, of Section 12, Williams Township. He was born in Ashville, Miss., March 13, 1848, a son of Ira and Amanda V. Ash, both of Mississippi, the father being born June 22, 1815. These parents married, July 28, 1838, in Louisiana. From there they came to Illinois in 1850, locating north of Springfield, in Sangamon County, on a farm of 160 acres, which the father bought and farmed until his death in 1853, his wife dying in the same year. They had two sons and two daughters, all of whom are deceased except George W. Ash and his sister, Mrs. Harvey F. Bruce, who resides on a farm north of Springfield.
George W. Ash was educated in the schools of Springfield, at the same time working on the homestead, thus learning how to farm profitably. Adopting farming as his occupation, Mr. Ash looked about him for a good location, and selecting Williams Township, moved there forty years ago. Ten years later he moved on his present farm of sixty acres, which is now worth $250 per acre.
On December 23, 1875, Mr. Ash was married in Williams Township by Rev. Worlds, of the Presbyterian Church, at Springfield, to Miss Laura Smith, born in the township, Aug. 8, 1856, daughter of Philip and Rebecca (Hendricks) Smith, he of South Carolina. Her mother was born in Kentucky, where the father moved, later coming to Sangamon County, where they became pioneers of Barclay. Later they removed to a farm north of Barclay, where the father lived until a few years prior to his death, which occurred in Williamsville, his last home, and there the mother also passed away. There were seven sons and five daughters in the Smith family, of whom three survive: Mrs. Ash; Henry, a resident of Kansas, married to Harriet Kenneman, five children; and John, a resident of the homestead in Williams Township, married Amanda Brown (second wife), three children; his first marriage having been to Marthat Williams, two children. Mr. and Mrs. Ash became the parents of three sons and five daughters; Rebecca, wife of George Marsh, of Springfield; five children - Bessie, Willard, Harold, Alberta and Helen Mary; Oscar married Adla Hanson, who died January 9, 1908, after bearing him two children, the surviving one being Lora, and he married (second) Lillian Henselin, of Minnesota, where they reside; one child, Philip E.; Lula married James Ferry and they live in Indiana and have four children - Eva, Hazel, Loyd and Mary; Daisy married James Burge and they have one child, Earl; Leo married Ruth Hawker, of Ewing, Mo., and they reside in Springfield and have no issue; and Mary, living at home, as do Fay and Edith.
For a number of years Mr. Ash has been a Methodist and has given the church his hearty support, both in money and work. He believes in the good influence of churches and has brought up his children in the faith he supports. A hard working man, he farms scientifically, rotating his crops, using improved machinery, and raising a good grade of cattle, having proven by experiments that nothing but the best pays on a farm. His children are a credit to him and his most excellent wife, and they greatly enjoy a family reunion, when the married ones return with their families to enjoy once more the hospitality of the homestead. There is no more beautiful sight than a man and his wife surrounded by their children and grandchildren, all of whom are making the most of their opportunities and developing fine characters. It is such people as the Ash family who form the great backbone of any nation, for they always prove to be reliable, substantial, and willing to advance, although conservative enough to consider first and see if proposed improvements are for the best interests of the majority.