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Showing posts from November, 2017

James Henry Ashdown – From Tinsmith to Titan

James Henry Ashdown was eight years old when his family emigrated from London, England to Upper Canada in 1852. Ashdown’s family lived in several places in Ontario before Ashdown left home at 18 to become a tinsmith’s apprentice. After his apprenticeship, Ashdown went to Kansas to work construction in Fort Zarah. After ten months of construction, Ashdown was ready for something new and headed north, destine for the Red River Settlement in Manitoba. Ashdown arrived in June of 1868 and quickly set about finding work. Cutting wood on the banks of the Assiniboine River, helping build the St. Charles Catholic Church and working on a survey crew were just some of the jobs he took up. Ashdown scrimped and save, amassing enough savings to buy George Moser’s tinsmith shop at the corner of Portage Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg in 1869. After purchasing an additional lot at the same intersection, Ashdown erected a sign there officially announcing the business as “James H. Ashdown Hardware a…