One by one the soldiers of the Civil war answer to the last roll call and pass on to join the greater army of the
boys in blue, who have gone before. Clarkson Ashmead was among those who were spared to enjoy for many years the
peace and prosperity which came to the country following the cessation of hostilities between the north and the
south. Patriotism ever remained one of his dominant qualities, for he was as loyal to his country in times of peace
as he was when he followed the nation's starry banner on the battlefields of the south. His birth occurred in Washington
county, Pennsylvania, June 8, 1829, his parents being Samuel and Abigail (Milleson) Ashmead, who were natives of
Maryland and Pennsylvania, respectively. The father was a farmer by occupation and for many years cultivated a
tract of land in the Keystone state but in 1855 he left the east and came to Iowa, settling in Jefferson county.
He purchased and improved a farm in Cedar township, continuing its cultivation until his death, and his wife also
passed away upon the old homestead.
Clarkson Ashmead came to Jefferson county with his parents when a young man of twenty six years. He had acquired
his education in the schools of Pennsylvania and had afterward learned the carpenter's trade, at which he worked
until he came to Iowa. He then took up farming in connection with his father and following the latter's death,
he rented a farm, which he operated for a year. At the end of that time he went to Missouri, where he purchased
an improved tract of land, making his home thereon for ten years. He returned to Iowa and purchased a farm near
Brookville, to the further development and cultivation of which he devoted his energies until 1903, when his children
having married and left home and his own health being somewhat impaired he retired from the farm and removed to
Fairfield, where his remaining days were passed, his death occurring in February, 1903. As an agriculturist he
had labored diligently and untiringly and had converted the once wild prairie into a productive tract, gathering
large harvests as a reward of his persistent and practical methods. He kept everything about the place in a state
of good repair:and neatness, and thrift pervaded every part of the farm.
On the 8th of January, 1852, Mr. Ashmead was married to Miss Jane McCutcheon, a daughter of John and Margaret (McCutcheon)
McCutcheon, who though of the same name were not relatives. The father was born in Ireland and the mother in Pennsylvania.
When he was but twelve years of age the family came to the new world, settling in the Keystone state, where he
secured employment in the iron works of Pittsburg. Later he engaged in farming for a number of years and was a
resident of that part of the country up to the time of his death, which occurred in the city of Pittsburg. His
wife passed away in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. To Mr. and Mrs. Ashmead were born five children, two of whom died
in Pennsylvania in infancy. Those still living are: Benson C., a resident farmer of Davis county, Iowa; Addie May,
the wife of Moses B. Shelby, a resident farmer of the state of Washington; and Uel J., who is also engaged in farming
While Mr. Ashmead devoted the greater part of his life to general agricultural pursuits he allowed nothing to interfere
with what he considered his duty to his country in the dark days of the Civil war. Responding to the call for aid
he enlisted as a member of Company E, Thirteenth Iowa Infantry and the hardships and rigors of war were such that
his health became undermined and his death was really the result of his military experience. He held membership
in the Grand Army of the Republic in connection with the post at Batavia and he thus enjoyed meeting with his old
comrades. He always voted with the republican party and his religious faith was that of the Methodist church, to
which his wife and family belonged. For many years he was a resident of Jefferson county and his good qualities
were recognized by all with whom he came in contact. He worked earnestly and persistently in the cultivation and
improvement of his farm, was ever willing to give his support to progressive measures for the benefit of the community
and at all times cast his influence on the side of right, justice and truth. Mrs. Ashmead still survives her husband
and now resides in a pleasant home, at No. 406 West Briggs street in Fairfield.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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