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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

ASHLEY, William Henry

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ASHLEY, William Henry. (Powhatan County, VA, 1778--Boonesville, MO, Mar. 26, 1838). Working on behalf of his Missouri constituents, Ashley, a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1831 through 1837, attempted to prove claims made against the estate of Julien DUBUQUE. Ashley asked Secretary of War Lewis Cass to place the issue before President Andrew Jackson who rejected the issue. Ashley passed this information along to the people in Missouri where it encouraged the heirs of Auguste CHOUTEAU to pursue the claims in court.

Ashley gained fame as a leader of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company (1824 to 1826) and as an explorer of the Far West. He organized the rendezvous system, pioneered the employment of free trappers rather than hiring trappers or Indian tribes, and established durable routes to the fur country.

He was elected as the first Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and served from 1820 to 1824. Ashley was elected to the Twenty-second Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Spencer D. Pettis. Reelected to the Twenty-third and Twenty-fourth Congresses, Ashley served from October 31, 1831 to March 3, 1837. He did not seek renomination in 1836, but was an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Missouri in 1836.



Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Online: http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=A000315