Chester, Pa., Saturday, November 27, 1920
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HENRY G. ASHMEAD,
HAD LONG ILLNESS
Was Chronicler of County and State Events;
Served as Secretary of Important Legislative Commission
Henry Graham Ashmead, aged 82, years, noted historian, former post-master and editorial writer, succumbed this morning to a protracted illness, his death occurring shortly before 9 o'clock at his residence, 419 East Broad Street.
Two years ago, while attending a meeting of the commission to erect a State Hospital for the Criminal Insane in one of the up-State cities, Mr. Ashmead, who was commission's secretary, suffered a stroke and for several weeks after being brought to his home, his life was despaired of. He recovered sufficiently, however, to leave the house and take short walks, but was unable to pursue his official duties. About three weeks ago, Mr. Ashmead suffered another attack and thought he put up a strong fight against great odds. It was realized by the members of his family that the end was not far distant.
This morning he suffered a relapse and passed peacefully away with members of his family at his bed-side.
Probably no man was better known in this section of the country as an expert on historical information and facts than Henry Graham Ashmead. He was one of the organizers of the Delaware County Historical Society and served as its secretary since its institution. He was a member of the Pennsylvania History Club and of the State Commission referred to in a preceeding paragraph.
His contributions of an historical nature to newspapers and magazines were always in demand and in addition he wrote several plays which proved successes when presented on the legitamate stage.
Genial and Kind
Possessed of pleasing personality and of kindly disposition, Mr. Ashmead readily made friends, both in everyday and official life and was always sought for information as pertaining to family history. He was always found ready and willing to give aid to any worthy project and at all times anxious to promote his home city and its industrial advantages.
He is survived by his wife, who has the profound sympathy of her many friends and aquaintances and those of her husband in her bereavement.
Arrangements for the funeral had not been completed this morning.
Henry Graham Ashmead, son of John Wayne and Henrietta Graham (Flower) Ashmead, was born at Philadelphia, June 30, 1838. He was educated at the Chester Academy, West Chester, of which the Rev. James Crowell was principal, and at the Saunders Institute, West Philadelphia. He read law in his father's office and was admitted to the Bar in New York on November 29, 1859 and entered into partnership with Leon Abbett, afterwards twice governor of New Jersey. His health failing him, Mr. Ashmead, by advice of physicians, abandoned the active pursuit of the law. While in New Orleans, in 1863, a friend who was correspondant of one of the leading New York dailies became ill with Typhoid Fever, Mr. Ashmead acted in his stead for a period covering several months, during which time he had opportunity of seeing much of the active campaigning in the Department of the Gulf. On the death of his father in 1868, the following year his family moved to this city.
In June 1872, when the Chester Evening News was established by F. Stanhope H?? , Mr. Ashmead became first reporter and local editor of that daily paper and in 1874 held a like position on the "Delaware County Republican", at which time the late Y.S. Walter was editor and proprietor. In the Fall of that year, Mr. Ashmead edited "The Campaign", a political sheet designed to advocate the election of Thomas J. Clayton as judge of the Delaware County Courts.
From this time on Mr. Ashmead was a busy writer. In 1876, he wrote "The Sketch of Delaware County", published in Eagle's "History of Pennsylvania". He was appointed in 1882 corresponding secretary of the Bi-Centennial Association of Chester and he wrote "Historical Sketches of Chester on the Delaware", William Shaler Johnson furnishing the account of the Bi-Centennial exercises, the work of the committee, the celebration and other interesting matter which forms a part of that volume.
Postmaster of Chester
In 1884, Mr. Ashmead wrote "A History of Delaware County, Pennsylvania", a volume of permanent value and involving much diligent labor.
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Henry G. Ashmead, Historian Dies, Had Long Illness
Continued from Page One.
Aug 3, 1885 President Cleveland appointed Mr. Ashmead Postmaster of the city and during his administration (on June 6, 1886) the special delivery service was instituted, and July 1, 1887, he organized the free mail delivery by carriers and put it into active operation on the date mentioned. In the spring of that year a committee was appointed to urge upon Congress an appropriation a United States post office building in Chester and at the request of the committee, Mr. Ashmead prepared a pamphlet entitled "Chester and it's Suburbs," which in a compact form presented the industrial features of the city of that day and its importance as a commercial center as an adjunct to the Port of Philadelphia. This pamphlet was distributed to the Senate and House of Representatives and from the data therein contained the subsequent reports of the committees of both Houses were founded and upon which a favorable report was made.
In 1889 he collected and wrote the geater part of the pamphlet published by the Board of Trade, entitled "Chester, Pennsylvania's History of its Industrial Progress and its Advantages for Large Manufacturing," but did not supervise the oral form in which it was given publication.
In 1890-91, Mr. Ashmead was in Colorado with an invalid son, who had gone there in search of health.
From 95 to 1900, he was editorial writer on the "Chester Morning Republican." In 1897 he wrote the text of the "Arts Works in Delaware County." In 1902 he prepared a genealogical sketch tracing the decent of the children of Robert and Phoebe Ann (Delaney) Wetherill through the Sharp, Keen, Sanderlands and other families, which was printed book form for private distribution.
In the same year he wrote the plays, "Mistress Nancy," "The Captain's Ward," and "Miss DeCourey."
In the following year, 1903, he wrote other plays, viz; "The Matchmakers," "The Silent Witness," "By Order of the Czarina," "In Troublous Times," and a "Hallowe'en Tangle." In the same year he wrote the "History of Chester," and was also associated editor of "Pennsylvania, Colonial and Federal," a history of the commonwealth. His fugitive contributions to the periodical and newspaper press, upon historical subjects, are numerous, far exceeding if gathered into volumes his publications in book
form. He also wrote "The Story of Lapidea Farm," the country seat of Governor William C. Sproul and "The History of the Bank of Delaware County and its Successor; the Delaware County National Bank."
In 1887, Mr. Ashmead read before the Delaware County Historical Society a paper entitled, "Chester Street Nomenclature," and in 1901, "The Man in Leather Stockings," "Noted Trials in Early Colonial Days," and "Some Ghosts and Haunted Places in Delaware County." He was called upon to make historical remarks at the unveiling of the tablets placed by the Delaware County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution on the Washington House, April 20, 1902, and on the old City Hall, April 19, 1903. Again on June 27, 1903 at a meeting of the Society of the War of 1812, he delivered the historical address, taking for his theme the story of Camp Gaines.
Mr. Ashmead was twice married first, September 2, 1872 to Miss Rebecca Frances Warner, daughter of Captain Richard N. Warner, of Alexandria, Virginia and second, October 26, 1881, to Miss Emma Campbell, daughter of James and Angelina (Garsed) Campbell, who survives him. To the first marriage of Mr. Ashmead was born a son, John Wayne Ashmead, whom death occurred in 1891.