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John Thomas Ashcraft

Contributor: Pat M. Mahan


JOHN THOMAS ASHCRAFT, a prominent member of the Lauderdale county bar, was born in Clay County, October 15, 1859. He is the son of Andrew J. and Eleanor E. (Wiley) Ashcraft. His father was born in Jackson county, Ga., December 18, 1839. John, the grandfather of A. J., came from England and settled in Anson county, N.C., where his father, Thomas was born August 6, 1786. The mother of A. J. was the daughter of Ephriam Able, a Baptist minister of Culpeper county, Va. Mrs. Eleanor E. Ashcraft, the daughter of John Wiley, was born in St. Clair County, Ala., September 21, 1839. John Wiley's father was Thomas, his grandfather was an Englishman, his mother was Tabitha Noel, the daughter of a Scotchman. Thomas and Tabitha were married in North Carolina, where John was born in 1809. Thomas was in the Indian war, and way lying sick in Talladega when the battle of Jackson's Ford took place. Near the site of this battle John soon afterward settled. John Wiley married Susan, the daughter of Thomas Fairris, who came from the Emerald Isle and settled in Edgefield, S. C., where Susan was born August 20, 1812. 

Source: Memorial Record of Alabama. Vol. II. Brant & Fuller. Madison, Wis., 1893. pp. 356-357]

John T. Ashcraft, the subject of this sketch, is a lawyer by nature, by education and by actual training and experience, occupying a very prominent place at the bar of Lauderdale County, where he has practiced for the past eleven years.
Mr. Ashcraft was born in Clay County, Ala., and after receiving a thorough common school education, entered the Agricultural and Mechanical College, now the Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn, from which he was graduated with the degree of B. E. in 1880. subsequently he was engaged in teaching, and during that time read law and was admitted to practice. In 1889 he removed to Florence and entered upon a legal career that has been successful to a remarkable extent. He is recognized as one of the best attorneys in North Alabama, is a hard worker and energetic in looking after the smallest details of the business of his clients.


Mr. Ashcraft is a Democrat of the highest and best type, and while he has ever been an indefatigable worker for his party and for the interest of his personal friends among the aspirants for office, he himself has invariable declined to make a race for any position, notwithstanding that his friends have repeatedly urged him to do so. He has preferred to devote his time to his practice, which, in fact, occupies all of his hours. Mr. Ashcraft’s success has been so marked that it is the cause for frequent congratulations from his many warm friends in this, his adopted city. He is easily one of the leaders of the legal fraternity in Lauderdale.


Source: Souvenir And Industrial Edition. The Florence Herald, 1900.

John T. Ashcraft was born in Clay Co., Ala., on October 15th, 1859. He received his primary education in the common schools of the neighborhood, and at the Lineville Academe, afterwards entering the State Agricultural and Mechanical College at Auburn, Ala., from which institution he graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Engineering with the class of “80.


For nine years after he left college he taught school, coming to the city of Florence, Ala., in the summer of 1889, where, in September of the same year, he was admitted to the bar of his State. As a lawyer he quickly pushed to the front rank. While he does general practice, Mr. Ashcraft has given special attention to corporation law and industrial problems. At the present time he is the general counsel for and a director in many of the corporations in his section of the State; such as the Florence Wagon Works, Tennessee Valley Fertilizer Co., Ashcraft Cotton Mills, Florence Ice and Coal co., and the Merchants’ Bank.        


Mr. Ashcraft is a member of the Committee on Publication of the Alabama Bar Association, was a member of the late Constitutional Convention, where he occupied positions on the committees on “Education” and “Judiciary.” He is an ex-member of the city council of Florence, is President of the Lauderdale Educational Association, and has been Secretary of the board of Education here for the past seven years.

On December 21, 1886, he was married to Miss Annie Hendrick (a graduate of the Judson Institute), daughter of Gustavus Hendrick of Brundige, Ala., and their union has been blessed with five children, four girls and one boy.

In all probability it would be hard to find a citizen of Lauderdale county who gives more of his time, energy and money for the advancements of her best interests than John t. Ashcraft. He yearns to see the city and county of his adoption in the front rank of the educational and industrial sections of the South; and no project of worth can be promulgated in their behalf but that he can always be found ready to do his best by deeds as well as words. He is a Master Mason, and a deacon of the Florence Baptist Church. He believes the church has a practical place in the moral and social growth of the individual and the community, and takes an active interest in its work. 


Source: The Florence Times, 1901. Florence As She Is [Special Edition]

John T. Ashcraft

John T. Ashcraft

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