Early History of Ashboro
Ashboro, a town and post office in Sugar Ridge township, on the Lower Bloomington road, ten miles south of Brazil and five miles west of Bowling Green, a station on the Saline City Branch Railroad, founded by Charles W. Moss, in 1858, so named by T. M. Robertson. As the pioneer merchant, as well as founder and proprietor of the town, Moss engaged Robertson as salesman, or clerk, in his store, to whom he committed, also, the, trust and privilege of naming the post office to be established. Bringing to his aid the map of the states and the latest postal guide, Robertson proceeded to make selection and chose Ashboro, from the, map of North Carolina, up to that time the only office bearing this name in the country and, strange to say, though half a century has since elapsed, not another of the name has been added to the list. Though this place was platted in 1858, it did not appear of record until 1860. When surveyed, a square of three acres in the center of the plat was dedicated as a courthouse site for the period of ten years, with the view to the re-location of the county seat. At a later day this plat of ground was rededicated to public school purposes. The impression used to prevail that this town came by its name from the circumstance of a survey made to locate the geographical center of the county, where an ash tree standing near was designated to mark the spot. The name was also suggested to the founder by A. W. Lowdermilk, whose people were from Ashboro, North Carolina. During the time intervening the founding of the town site and the coming of the post office, it was known as “Mosstown,” from the name of the proprietor, who was operating a saw-mill near the site, where much of the lumber was produced then used in building in that locality. The first three purchasers of lots, which they proceeded at once to improve and occupy, were A. W. Lowdermilk, Israel Krytzer and Daniel Wright. One of the first buildings was erected by the proprietor himself, on the southwest corner of the crossing of the Main street, later known as the “McGinnis Hotel.”
T. M. Robertson was the first postmaster, whose successors along the line were Israel Krytzer, John W. McGinnis, James Clark, Mrs. W. N. Haines, Riley Bryant, Elmer C. O’Brien, William Buyh, Isaac McIlvaine, George Moss, J. K. Moss, Matt Jones, Howard Miller, David Mayrose, Laura Ferguson.
The first merchant was C. W. Moss, succeeded by Max Greenburg, Duffield & Morgan, James Clark, Samuel C. Mounts, John W. McGinnis, Myrtle & Wright, John Travis, Ezra Starrett, Henry Haas, John K. Snyder, William T. Yow, R. Gantz, Fisher & Moss, Charles Thrasher, Adams & Grimes, O’Brien & Moss, Kylander & Williams, Miller & Moss, Israel Krytzer, John C. Moss, E. G. O’Brien, Riley Bryant, William Buyh, J. K. Moss, Matt Jones, Samuel Tribble, W. T. Slack, M. J. Watt, Robert Mitchell.
In the year 1868 J. T. Moss & Co. built a large flouring mill here at a cost of $9,000, which was operated successfully until the summer of 1872, when it was destroyed by fire August 24th. The interested partners with J. T. Moss were George J. Moss and Charles Brandau. Three years later (1875) Oliver Cromwell built a mill of less size and capacity on the same site, which he operated several years, then sold to William Watts, who moved the mill to Clay City.
In the year 1859 or 1860, a chair and furniture factory was established at this place by Marion Stoops and Samuel Harmon, which was located on the south side of Main street and immediately west of the McGinnis hotel corner, which was operated during the Civil war and for some time afterward. It was a two-story building, the lathe operated on the ground floor by horse power, and at a later day by steam power. In its day, this plant turned out a great deal of work.
The pioneer blacksmiths of the town were William Null and Joseph Wilgus, succeeded by James Gibbons, Bennett Norton and David Killion.
There have been three schoolhouses here, the first a one-room frame house, built by Trustee Caleb Nash, in 1860, which stood on the south- east part of the town site, the second, a two-story frame house, on the square, built by Trustee George Lash, in 1876, and the present two-story brick, on the same site, built by Trustee Samuel Butt, in 1896.
The practicing physicians have been J. T. Duffield, Dr. Lazaar, Dr. Dowden, Thomas C. Green, Dr. Huff, Dr. McMillan, R. Gantz, James K. Moss. Among the resident population have been three attorneys—A. W. Lowdermilk, Calvin Calvert, Charles Thrasher.
The original M. E. church, which stood on the east side of the town, north side of the road, was built and dedicated in the year 1858, and was in use for the third of a century. The present church, in the west part of the town, succeeded the former one in the year 1891. Ground was broken, and the cornerstone laid, by Rev. C. W. Crook, on the 30th day of May, the house completed the same year, and dedicated on the 18th day of December, the services attending having been conducted by Rev. J. E. Brant, then of Fort Scott, Kansas. The building committee was composed of C. W. Moss (deceased), J. C. Moss, M. A. Jones, John W. Henry, Elmer G. O’Brien (deceased), and John E. Dilsaver.
The Free Methodist church was built in the years 1903-4 and dedicated on the 8th day of May of the latter year.
Ashboro Lodge No. 251, I. 0. 0. F., was instituted May 16, 1866, with a charter membership of ten. There is also a lodge of Rebekahs.
Ashboro is the nearest town site to the geographical center of the county. The population of Ashboro, as enumerated in 1882, was 172; now estimated at 300.