Death of Simon S. Ashe Father-In-Law of Dr. Lee
Christian Recorder: November 8, 1888
The sad tidings flashed over the wires a few days since, from Galveston, Texas, that Simon S. Ashe, breathed his last on the 24th inst., is calculated to shroud any one in gloom, who was acquainted with his ability, graces, and many virtues. Mr. Ashe was no ordinary man; to the contrary, he was a private citizen, a silent worker, but an extraordinary character. We first made his acquaintance in Mobile, Alabama, in the early part of 1858, while en route from Columbia, S.C., to New Orleans, La. Being compelled, by circumstances over which we had no control, to remain in Mobile a few days, we chanced to visit the State Street colored church which at that time was the center of attraction among the leading colored people of the city. Upon invitation, we delivered a short exhortation which arrested the attention of Mr. Ashe, and at the close of the service he invited us to dine with him. We accepted the generous proffer, and accompanied him to his residence where everything betrayed taste, comfort, plenty, and a social refinement far above what was common among colored people of that day. His house, yards and general surroundings were literally elegant. And I marked him as a superior man. But without being tedious in narrating what I saw and heard, let it suffice to say that we found Mr. Ashe a man of great influence, business tact and in possession of abilities which came from experience and common sense. Notwithstanding the gloomy surroundings of slavery with all its hamperings and shackles, he was a cotton dealer and made money by the bushels. Five, six and seven thousand dollars a year income was of common occurrence in his business career. His employees respected, honored and obeyed his orders as readily and as pleasurably as they would the whitest man in the city.
Mr. Ashe was born in the State of North Carolina and was the son of his master (slavocratically speaking). His father, moved to Mobile, Ala., while Mr. Ashe was quite young, where, in process of time, he purchased his freedom and that of several relatives and obtained sufficient means to reach the exalted station in which I found him when I visited Mobile. He remained in Mobile, until the threatening aspect which culminated in the war of the rebellion, suggested the advisability of leaving the South, and he moved to the State of Ohio where he remained till after the war, then he returned to his former home and became prominent factor in the reconstruction of Alabama, not only giving advice and imparting wise counsel but was a hard and brave worker in the reorganization of the State.
Mr. Ashe, for many years, was Grand Master of the Masonic fraternity of Alabama, and for a time one of the Aldermen of Mobile, being looked upon as one of the ablest of the city fathers. He was married but once, and the wife of his youth, maturity and old age, survives him in Galveston, Texas. Nine children were born to grace his household, all of whom have passed beyond this sphere of existence except the wife of Rev. B. F. Lee, D.D. His children in the main, were educated at Wilberforce University, and among those who graduated there was Mrs. Dr. Lee, whose qualities, attainments and graces make the doctor’s home an earthy paradise.
Mr. Ashe was born in 1812, which made him 75 years of age when he departed this life. He had been a member of the church between 35 and 40 years and for the last 25 years had been a zealous worker in the same. He was not only a Christian gentleman, but he was genial, kind and affable, generous to a fault, quick in expression, severe in his criticisms yet charitable in his opinions. In his demise, we lose an able representative of our race.