The Ashmore Family Papers document five generations of one Illinois family in Jo Daviess and Stephenson Counties, and contain materials related to Joseph Ashmore (1787-1868), a farmer; his children, Charles (1829-1925); Henry (1842-1908); and Arthur (1882-1969), also farmers; Henry's wife Belle (1850-1925) and son Walter (1879-1960); Arthur's wife Jessie (1887-1972), son Kenneth (1915-2004), a surveyor, and daughter-in-law Verona (1918-62), a clerk; Kenneth and Verona's daughter Connie (1938-), a librarian; Connie's husband Fred Fairchild (1940-), a professor of music; Connie and Fred's grandniece Casandra Ashmore (1985-); and related family members. The collection mostly consists of biographical material; personal correspondence; estate, financial, legal, organizational, real estate, and family history papers; and family photographs.
A significant portion of the collection relates to the Skene Lead Mine, which Charles Ashmore discovered on the family's Wolf Creek Farm, near Elizabeth, Ill., in 1901. The mine was active from 1901 to 1907, when it shut down due to increasing mining costs and decreasing lead prices. The collection contains business correspondence and financial, legal, and real estate papers which document the family's mining interests during this period.
Later, from the 1940s through the 1960s, Kenneth Ashmore attempted to re-open the mine and conducted several mineral tests on the property. The collection also contains material related to his efforts, including correspondence with the Illinois State Geological Survey and leasing companies; drilling records and notes; and reference materials on geology and mining in Northwestern Illinois, the Quad Cities, and southern Wisconsin.
Connie Ashmore Fairchild and Stanley Ashmore, the children of Kenneth and Verona Ashmore, donated this collection to the Library in 2005.