biography from Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
JAMES R. ASHER, of the firm of Asher & Wormley, proprietors of the Asher House, Oskaloosa, was born at Carthage, Hancock Co., Ill., Aug. 22, 1837, and is the son of Preston P. and Ursula (Towles) Asher. The father was born in Kentucky and the mother in Virginia. The family came to Illinois in 1835, and when the subject of this sketch was eleven years old his father died. Left at that early age without a father's guiding care, James H. saw more of the world in his youth than most boys. He was a witness to the killing of the Mormon leader, Joe Smith, at Nauvoo. He traveled quite extensively in the south, and for a while made his home at Kirksville, Mo., and then returned to Illinois. At the commencement of the late war he enlisted at Keokuk, in April, 1861, in the 100 days' service, and subsequently re-enlisted in Co. C, 21st Mo. Vol. Inf., served seven months, and was then discharged on account of physical disability. Mr. Asher came to Oskaloosa in March, 1863, and was employed as clerk with one house for eight years in the grocery business. In the year 1872 he began business for himself in the same line, continuing until 1876, when he went to Bussey, Marion Co., Iowa, followed the same business, and also operated in coal for a period of two years, and then returned to Oskaloosa. On his return to this city he opened the famous Clipper Restaurant, and operated it until February, 1886, when he engaged in his present business. In April of the same year Mr. Asher associated with him in the business, Col. F. P. Wormley, an experienced hotel man, not excelled as a caterer in the West. The Asher is a first-class hotel, of seventy-five rooms, situated at the southwest corner of the Square. It is furnished in an elegant style throughout, is heated by steam, lighted by incandescent electric light, and is complete in all its appontments. Nov. 21, 1862, Mr. Asher was united in marriage with Miss Zerilda McCarty, a native of Kentucky, and a daughter of James and Malinda (Lough) McCarty. To them five children have been born, three only of whom are living: Melinda is the wife of W. H. Bowen, of Oskaloosa; James P. is in California; Nellie Z. is at home. Mrs. Asher is a member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Asher is a Mason and an Odd Fellow, and in his political affiliations a Democrat. One event in the life of Mr. Asher, not unworthy of mention was his tour through the western Territories to the Pacific Coast, made in the summer of 1884, for the improvement of his health. During this trip he visited the famous National Park at the headwaters of the Yellowstone, the principal cities of Montana and Idaho, the various mining regions, and also visited Oregon and Washington Territory. This tour was one of great interest to him, as indeed it is to every one who visits this far- off region, either for health or pleasure. The wonders he saw cannot be described, and to be appreciated, must be seen, but he gained that which he sought and returned to his home with improved health and a fund of western yarns that only Jim Asher can tell with the proper expression. To use a western expression, Mr. Asher is a "rustler," and would succeed in any undertaking and under any circumstances, because of an indomitable push and energy that is characteristic of the man. He is popular as a landlord because of his courtesy and attention to the wants of his guests, and he who visits his present elegant hotel once is sure to call again.
Portrait & Biographical Album of Mahaska Co., Iowa, 1887
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy