A log cabin in Ohio County, West Virginia, a few miles from the city of Wheeling, on 29 October 1848, was the birthplace of John Ashenhurst, a man who was to become the Prohibition candidate for governor of Ohio in 1891.
His father, Rev. J.Y. Ashenhurst was a minister of what is now the United Presbyterian Church He was an ardent Abolitionist and an elector on the Birney ticket in Virginia, in 1884. In 1856 Rev. Mr. Ashenhurst accepted a call as pastor in Hayesville, Ohio, the seat of Vermillion Institute. Here his son John, the subject of this sketch, received as thorough an education as the Institute afforded. During his school days he worked on a farm, clerked in a store, and taught school to help out the family of the poorly paid minister. When 15 years of age he got hold of an amateur printing press and soon issued his first paper, the Hayesville Chronicle. A few years later he entered the office of the Times, at Ashland, Ohio.
In 1869 when the Prohibition Party was organized in Ohio, Mr. Ashenhurst was one of the first to join its ranks, and he has been working for it ever since by pen and voice. Although not a voter when he joined the party, yet the first year he went out to school-houses and made speeches for Dr. Scott, of Dayton, the Prohibition nominee for governor of Ohio. In 1872 he started a paper at Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, The Ohio Valley News, which he published for two years as a straight Prohibition paper.
In the fall of 1880 Mr. Ashenhurst began the publication of the Press at Freeport. In 1882 he took the editorship of The Wayne County Herald, at Wooster, which then had the reputation of being the best-edited and most influential Prohibition county paper in the United States. In 1888 he went to Omaha, Nebraska, and took a position on The Midland, a United Presbyterian Church paper. In 1890, he returned to Ohio and began the publication of the Canton Leader. He is very proud of having been the founder, in 1876, of Thyne Institute, a school for freedmen in Virginia, now under the care of the United Presbyterian Board of Freedmen’s Mission.
Mr. Ashenhurst has twice been the nominee of the Ohio Prohibitionists for Congress. In 1891 he was the party’s candidate for governor of Ohio, polling a very large vote.
—Data from An Album of Representative Prohibitionists (1895)