John Stanley Ashley
CLEVELAND, in addition to its very favorable location on the lake at a point particularly adapted to the creation of a great harbor, is also the nearest lake point to the vast resources in coal and coke and in great iron and steel industries which center in the Pittsburgh district of Pennsylvania. Thus Cleveland has become naturally the point of distribution by lake service to all the coal markets that border on the lakes and to the distribution of coal in the great Northwest, and is also the point of receipt of the iron ores of the Minnesota and Wisconsin ranges to be transferred to the furnaces and mills of the Pittsburgh region.
The transportation of coal is the chief feature of the outgoing Lake trade of Cleveland, and in it have been built up enterprises of vast importance in shipment and distribution. The firm of M. A. Hanna & Company, of Cleveland, Ohio, has been for many years one of the largest distributors of coal and iron ore by lake and rail; and there are other companies of much importance in like business. The transportation end of the coal and ore business has no more prominent representative than John Stanley Ashley, manager of the transportation division of M. A. Hanna & Company, and similarly related to a number of other associated or affiliated companies.
Mr. Ashley was born at Pardeeville, Wisconsin, September 12, 1856, the son of Yates and Virginia M. (Pardee) Ashley. In both the paternal and maternal lines he is of English descent. He received his education in the public schools of Wisconsin, concluding his studies with a preparatory course in the Academy of Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He began business life in 1877, when he entered railroad service as a telegraph operator for the Allegheny Valley Railroad. He afterward became train dispatcher for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad until 1888, and during the eleven years of his railroad service he made a study of railroad transportation, mastering its details with an efficiency that has counted a great deal in his subsequent relation to the transportation problems.
In 1888 he became connected with the coal trade, of which he has since been a very efficient and successful exponent, beginning as the resident manager in Cleveland, from 1888 to 1900, of the New York and Cleveland Gas Coal Company. On January 1, 1900, he began his connection with the great business of M. A. Hanna & Company, being manager of the Lake Coal Shipping Department of the company from 1900 to 1908 inclusive; and since then has been manager of its Transportation Department, which has attained greater prominence and prosperity under his able direction and personal supervision.
Mr. Ashley has a knowledge of the lakes transportation business, and especially that con-nected with the coal and ore trade on the lakes, which is not surpassed by any other man identified with lake transportation. He is recognized as an authority upon all questions in relation to lake shipping and is active in all measures and activities intended to promote the welfare of lake carriers and to expand the lake transportation business. He is a member of the Great Lakes Protective Association and was elected chairman of the advisory committee of that body in 1909, and he is also a member of the Lake Carriers Association and has been its vice-president since 1915. Besides his connection with M. A. Hanna & Company he is also secretary, treasurer and director of The Franklin Transportation Company, The La Belle Steamship Company, The Virginia Steamship Company, The Calumet Transportation Company and The Scott Steamship Company; is a director of The Kinney Steamship Company and secretary and director of The Eastern Coal Dock Company. All of these transportation companies are actively operating upon the Great Lakes, chiefly in the carriage of coal from Cleveland and return cargoes of iron ore from Duluth, Superior and other points of shipment from the ranges of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Mr. Ashley, besides his business prominence, is well known as a progressive citizen of Cleveland. He is a member of the Union and Athletic Clubs of Cleveland, the Mayfield Country, Shaker Heights Country, Chagrin Valley Hunt Club, and Westwood Country Clubs.