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Asher Family

Posted by MarthaCrossSargent 
Asher Family
March 16, 2007 01:24PM
Dr. John J. Dickey Diary, Fleming County, Ky. Recorded in the 1870's and
beyond. Reprinted in Kentucky Explorer, Volume 11, No.10, April, 1997,
p. 80. By permission. Clay County.

THE ASHER FAMILY (BY John W. Culton, of Clay County, KY.) I marked the
first sawed log above the Cumberland Falls. This was in 1874. There
being no railway crossing the Cumberland River above the falls, rafts
could not be taken over the falls hence there was no market for the
timber. The Southern Pump Company built a boom below the mouth of
Rockcastle River, caught the timber, rafted it, and took it to Nashville.
The Indian Lumber Company was interested in the boom as they also bought
logs. In 1875 or 1876 an ice tide swept the boom away breaking the
companies and crippling me. A boom between Barbourville and Pineville had
been built. Here logs were caught and at a certain stages of water, were
turned loose. The ice tide swept this away also. The ice piled up to 45
feet high. The breaking away was like the firing of artillery. If the
boom had not given away the whole country would have been inundated. The
first timber I marketed was walnut. I bought walnut trees 45 inches in
diamater for $2.00 apiece. I cut thousands of walnut logs on the banks
and islands of the river which did not have to be touched but were floated
away by the rising tide. Walnut and poplar were the only kinds of timber
taken out at that time. This ended the floating of timber till the L&N
was built to Williamsburg about 1892.
The Ashers have been great factors in the development of the timber
industry in the mountains. Chief among these have been the Asher
brothers, sons of Jackson D. Asher, who lived and died on the head of Red
Bird. These sons are named as follows: George Mattison, Thomas J.,
Andrew Jackson, Hugh L., and Abijah B. They were raised barefoot. Their
father was a money-maker, by saving. He raised stock, loaned his money,
then began the lumber business by putting small lots of logs from the wood
into the Cumberland River on contracts. Each year he put in more logs.
Matt and Jack went to California. They returned, and they all went in
together. Their father helped them, and then other brothers joined them.
They soon became the lumber kings of the mountains. When Mr. Huntington
built the K.C.R.A. from Paris to Livingstone [sic], with his keen
perception he saw that the crossing of the road at Ford on the Kentucky
River made the best mill site in the mountains, four of the brothers,
(Matt, Tom, Jack and Hugh), formed the Asher Lumber Company there, created
mills, put in a boom, bought large tracts of timber on the upper forks of
the Kentucky, and began business on a large scale. They made money
rapidly. They ran the business for many years, then sold to a Michigan
company. Matt, Hugh, and Jack bought fine farms around Lexington where
Hugh and Jack still reside. Tom now owns one of the best mills south of
the Ohio River at Wasiota, one mile above Pineville. It is of iron;
nothing about it can burn. Jack Asher lives at Pineville and is operating
a saw mill at that point. The two have $300,000 worth of lumber on their
yards at present.

Culton Asher Huntington
Nashville-Davidson-TN Barbourville-Knox-KY Pineville-Bell-KY
Williamsburg-Mason-KY CA Paris-Bourbon-KY Livingston-Rockcastle-KY MI

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