Richard Truman Ashby (1872-1920)

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Richard Truman Ashby was born Tuesday, April 2, 1872 in Mountain Meadows, Washington, Utah, the oldest child of Nathaniel Ashby and Martha Ann Truman. Richard grew up in St. George, attending school there. He was 9 years old when his father and mother left on a mission for the Sandwich Islands, and almost 10 when his father died on the way back home.

When Richard was almost 13 when his mother remarried. This new family situation had a deep impact on Richard. In 1888 the family moved from the area Richard had known all his life and re-settled in Fillmore, Millard County, Utah. Richard was old enough to help drive the live stock as they traveled from Washington County to Millard County.

It appears that Richard worked mostly as a teamster before he set up a home of his own. Shortly after moving to Fillmore, Richard began to work as a driver for Heber J. Mitchell, with whom he also boarded. In 1890 Richard drove the mail for a time.

In Fillmore Richard met and courted Minnie Colegrove, daughter of Harley Ingersoll Colegrove and Helen Venera McBride. Their courtship soon blossomed and they were married Wednesday, November 14, 1894 in the Manti Temple. Richard and Minnie had a family of 4 children, all of whom were born in Fillmore. They were:

  • Martha Geneva Ashby, b. 13 Oct 1895, d. 2 Dec 1981, m. William Daniel Speakman, 1 Oct 1918
  • Richard Eugene Ashby, b. 30 Dec 1896, d. 29 Sep 1985, m. Sarah Verle Kesler, 14 Nov 1923
  • Fern Ashby, b. 2 Oct 1898, d. 5 Dec 1954, m. Aaron Wayne Robison, 20 Dec 1916
  • Alice May Ashby, b. 3 Oct 1908, d. 5 Apr 1981, m. Lindon Wells Robison, 22 Mar 1933

Richard started a farm in the Sink (The Reservoir Country). "Before the waters of Chalk Creek were utilized for irrigation, the waste water ran on down north and west for about six or seven miles from the present site of Fillmore, and sank into the ground. Thus the pioneers called that part of the country the Sink" (Milestones, p. 184). He also worked in the old, lower mill in Fillmore.

With his family's needs cared for by the produce from his farm, Richard began to take interest in local politics. He was elected Mayor of Fillmore in 1908, serving one term. He later ran for County Clerk, serving in that capacity for 3 terms: 1913, 1915 and 1917. During his second term as County Clerk, Richard employed his daughter, Fern, as his Deputy. It was her unique duty to issue her own fiance' a marriage license and record that marriage using her newly acquired name.

Richard was active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as in local politics. From 1910 to 1912 he served as the Superintendent of the Fillmore Ward Sunday School. When he was released from that calling the local newspaper reported:

Ex Supt Richard Ashby was the recipient of a pleasant surprise last Thursday evening. It was given by the officers of the S. S. As a token of their appreciation of his labors, they presented him with a fountain pen and a silk muffler.

In 1912 Richard was called to serve as 2nd Counselor in the Fillmore Ward Bishopric. He served with Bishop Almon D. Robison. They served together for 5 years.

Richard Truman Ashby died suddenly of a heart attack on Thursday, October 14, 1920. He was 48 years, 6 months and 12 days old. The account in the newspaper described his death:

Richard T. Ashby
Laid at Rest
A depressing gloom was cast over the whole community last Saturday when the sorrowful news was passed from one to another that the esteemed citizen, Richard T. Ashby, had died unexpectedly and apparently very suddenly of heart failure at his farm. Saturday morning he was found by two neighbors in his farm house in a sitting position where he had apparently died a sudden and painless death. The fact that he still wore his boots and his hat indicated that he must have come in from the days work, sat upon the couch and passed away without a struggle. It is thought probable that he died on the evening of October 14th.
The funeral services were held last Monday and the Ward Chapel was filled beyond capacity, not only with townspeople but many form all parts of the county and other parts of the state. It was one of the largest funerals ever held in Millard County.
The speakers were all eloquent and feelingly earnest in extolling the many virtues of that good man. They were Bishop Rufus Day, John Cooper, Attorney James Alex Melville and Judge D. H. Morris. Resolutions of respect and condolence from County Officials at the Court House were read by County Attorney Grover A. Giles. The group of lawyers and court officials now holding court here also presented resolutions of respect. Court was adjourned for the day in recognition of Mr. Ashby's faithful services as County and District Court Clerk for three successive terms.
Mrs. Helen Derrick who came down from Salt Lake especially to attend the funeral, sang very beautifully "The Holy City". The ward Choir led by T. Clark Callister furnished appropriate music.
The floral offerings were profuse and most beautiful -- flowers coming from many parts of the state between St. George on the south and Salt Lake on the north.
A large cortege followed the remains to the silent city where the grave was dedicated by Bishop Rufus Day.
Richard Ashby was born at St. George April 2nd, 1872, the son of Nathan and Martha Ashby. They came to Fillmore in the year 1885. Both of his parents have been dead many years.
He is survived by his wife and four children, three daughters and one son, all whom reside in Fillmore, also by one sister, Mrs. John McBride of Tooele, Utah and a brother Jesse Powell of Manti, Utah.
Mr. Ashby has always been active in church and civic affairs and has held many positions of trust. At the time of his death he was a director of the East Millard Canal Company and Republican Precinct chairman. His friends are legion, won honestly by a life of kindness and service. He was big hearted, honest, industrious and a potent power for good. The people of Millard County will not soon forget the life and service of Richard Ashby.
The sympathy of the whole community goes to the widow and children at this their sad hour.

Bibliography

Black, Susan W. E. Early LDS Membership Data (Infobases, 1995).

Day, Stella H., & Ekins, Sebrina C. Milestones of Millard, pp. 72, 74, 78, 176, 185, 234, 251.

Fillmore City. Fillmore City Cemetary, Volume 1, p. 62, no. 11.

Fillmore City Corporation, Cemetery Single Line List, by Deceased Name, 22 Apr 1990, p. 9.

Lichfield, Beulah Menlove. Cemetery Records, Fillmore, Millard County, Utah, p. 2.

Millard County Marriage Register, Book B, p. 55, #23.

Register (Record) of Deaths, Fillmore City, Utah, Book 2, p. 21, no. 377.

Robison, Lindon Joel, ed. Autobiographical Notes & Diary of Alice May Ashby Robison. Typewritten Manuscript.

Robison, Wayne Ashby. Interviews. 16 Apr 1995, 13 Jan 2002.

Rogers, Sadie, ed. John Powell’s Journal, 1849-1901. Typewritten Manuscript, 1942.

Speakman, Vaughn and Marion. Ashby Family Directory, Jan 1989.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ancestral File, data as of 5 January 1998, Salt Lake City, UT: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS Family Group Records Collection (Patron Section), Family of Lindon Wells Robison & Alice May Ashby, Submitted by Mrs. Alice Robison

The Millard County Progress-Review, Vol. 19, No. 52, Fillmore, Millard County, Utah, Friday, 27 December 1912, p. 12

Washington County, Utah, Probate Record, Guardianship of Richard T. Ashby, et al., Volume F, pp. 131, 136, 147, 203, 212, 213, 220, 457, 461, 613, 619, 639, 645, FHL Film #484836.