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Alberta, Past and Present, Historical and Biographical
Vol 3
James Harrison Ashcraft

Each step in the career of James H. Ashcraft has been a forward one and each change in his business connections has marked an advance. Ambition, energy and ability have enabled him to make steady progress toward the goal of success, and as a director of the James Ramsey Department Store he occupies a most important position in mercantile circles of Edmonton. He is a native of the southern part of the United States, his birth having occurred at Paducah, Kentucky, in 1874, and in the maternal line he is of Scotch-Irish lineage, while his paternal ancestors were of Scotch and English descent. His father, James H. Ashcraft, was born in Brandenburg, Kentucky, in 1840, and in Louisville, that state, he was married, in 1865, to Mary E. Brown, also a native of Brandenburg. She was called to her final rest in 1914, and the father passed away in 1920.

James H. Ashcraft attended the public schools of Paducah, Kentucky, until lie reached the age of twelve years and began life as a newsboy. A year later he began working for his father, who was the owner of a grocery store, driving the delivery wagon, and when sixteen years of age he entered the employ of the St. Bernard Coal Company of Paducah, acting as weigher. He remained with that firm for three years and then became connected with the Paducah, Tennessee & Alabama Railroad Company, first acting as yard clerk and later winning advancement to the position of chief clerk in the master mechanics department, with headquarters in Paducah. He was with that line until 1895, when he went to Memphis, Tennessee, as freight checker and night clerk for the Illinois Central Railroad Company, and in 1901 he became secretary-treasurer of the Central Stock Yards at Louisville, Kentucky. He remained in that city for eight years, and in 1909 crossed the border into Canada, having since been a resident of the Dominion. For six years he acted as manager of the Union Stock Yards at Toronto, and in 1915 he was called to Edmonton to supervise the building of the stock yards in this city. The expert service which he rendered in that connection drew to him the attention of James Ramsey, who owned a controlling interest in the stock yards, and on disposing of his investment therein in 1920, he induced Mr. Ashcraft to become a director of his large department store, which position he now fills. With postgraduate experience in the school of business, he is well qualified for the responsibilities which devolve upon him in this connection and his efforts have been beneficially resultant. Notably prompt, efficient and dependable, he has the genius for devising the right thing at the right time, and his cooperation is regarded as a valuable asset in furthering the success of one of the largest mercantile establishments of this character in western Canada.

On February 24, 1897, while residing in Memphis, Tennessee, Mr. Ash- craft was united in marriage to Miss Jennie L. Jones, a daughter of Thomas T. Jones, deceased, who was for many years one of the leading business men of that city, conducting a large hardware store. Mr. and Mrs. Ashcraft have a son, Harry Jones, whose birth occurred in 1902. Mr. Ashcraft is a loyal, patriotic and public-spirited citizen of his adopted country and exercises his right of franchise in support of the men and measures of the Conservative party. He is a Master Mason and is also a member of the Kiwanis and Edmonton Clubs and the Mayfair Golf and Country Club. He is a forceful and resourceful business man, rich in experience, and his quick, intuitive mind never fails to meet an emergency when it arises. His life has been guided by the principles of truth and honor and he merits and receives the confidence and esteem of his fellowmen.


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