John was born on 18 June 1849 at Brimstage, Cheshire, to parents John Ashley, a joiner, and Elizabeth Piers. He was baptised on 27 July 1849 at Brunswick Wesleyan Chapel, Birkenhead, Cheshire.
Before entering the ministry, John worked as a railway clerk.
He married Hannah Hughes (1855-1923) in the summer of 1877 at Chester, Cheshire. Census returns identify six children.
- Charles Leonard (1878-1900)
- Martha Millicent (1880-1963) – married James Archibald Herndon, an express agent (1910), in 1908
- Hannah Winifred (1882-1966) – married Edward Spencer Clark, a physician (1910)
- John Lucas (1884-1938) – a land title abstracter (1930)
- Hugh Vincent (1889-1975) – a doctor
- James Munford (1890-1957) – a dentist
The 1900 USA census describes John as a physician.
John died in 1916 at Bloomfield Stoddard County, Missouri, USA.
- 1873 Stockport
- 1874 Chester I
- 1875 Newry
- 1876 Liverpool I
- 1877 Wigan
- 1878 Oldham II
- 1880 Pontypool
- 1882 disappears
W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers