James 'Big Jim' Ashley (November 14, 1824 - September 16, 1896) was an Ohio politician and railroad builder who was involved in the building of the rail line from Toledo to Ann Arbor and points north. Ashley Street is named after him.


  • 1897. Eulogized in Ann Arbor at the Unitarian Church.
  • September 16, 1896, Dies in Alma, Michigan. Obituary, New York Times.
  • 1892. Runs for US House of Representatives, loses.
  • 1890. Runs for US House of Representatives, loses.
  • 1869. Appointed governor of Montana Territory by President Ulysses S. Grant.
  • 1858. Elected to US House of Representatives from Toledo, Ohio; serves five terms as an abolitionist Republican.

More information

Annie was the brainchild of James M. Ashley, an energetic man who had been governor of the Montana territory, a United States congressman from Ohio, and a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. In a eulogy at the Unitarian Church in Ann Arbor in 1897, he was described as a large man, "intellectually, physically, and morally. There was nothing petty, small or mean about him." The name of the street upon which this station stands was changed to Ashley to honor him.

  • The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, 1891, p79

In the news

TOLEDO, April 28 -- Following in the wake of Vice President J.M. Ashley's financial reverses, the Toledo, Ann Arbor and North Michigan Railroad has been thrown into the hands of a receiver. The Hon. Wellington R. Burt of Saginaw, Mich., father-in-law of General Manager Harry W. Ashley, is the receiver.