Among the more recent pioneers of this district – one who is and has been successful and prominent in the community’s development is Hugh L. Asher, residing in his splendid residence at 507 Hoyt Avenue.
Mr. Asher was born in Clay County, Kentucky, December 18, 1862, the twelfth in a family of twelve children, whose parents were Jackson D. and Margaret (Hendrickson) Asher, both also natives of Kentucky.
As a boy, Mr. Asher’s education was much neglected, but, when almost grown, he was given the benefit of a private school and by perseverance and determination, he later spent two years in the A. & M. College at Lexington, Kentucky. In 1882, with his brother, Madison, he engaged in the lumber business on the Kentucky River, which work included the “booming” of logs from three hundred miles upstream. A steamboat company sought to restrain the Asher brothers from “booming” their logs, but the Federal courts ruled that the lumber business was more important than steamboating, and thus the steamboat interests lost their suit.
In 1889, Mr. Asher acquired 670 acres of land and improvements from W.C. France, well-known horse racing operator identified with the famous Louisiana Lottery. Here he remained until 1902, during which time he acquired many fine horses and also engaged in farming and stock raising. In 1893, he assisted another brother, Jack, in the operation of a lumber business on the Cumberland River.
In 1902 he sold his holdings in Kentucky and went to Chicago, where he remained one year and then came to California. He stopped first in Los Angeles, where he remained until coming to El Monte in 1907. On settling here he purchased a twenty-four acre tract west of town on Hoyt Avenue. Part of this tact was set in walnuts when he acquired it. The remainder he immediately set to walnuts, and in 1909 made other improvements on his property by the erection of his present splendid residence and outbuildings. In 1913 he acquired twenty acres adjoining his original purchase, and later, fifty acres below Garvey Avenue which he still owns. For years Mr. Asher specialized in the production of celery, tomatoes and sugar beets.
On March 16, 1886, Mr. Asher was untied in marriage with Miss Hannah Hendrickson, a native of Kentucky whose parents were George and Elizabeth (Steele) Hendrickson, both also natives of Kentucky. To Mr. and Mrs. Asher were born six children, four of whom are still living, namely: Catherine (a teacher in the Los Angeles Junior College); Skillman, of Los Angeles, Lillian, (Mrs. W.D. Haughton, wife of the City Attorney)(1936) of El Monte; and Christine, (Mrs. Dr. Rounds) of Los Angeles. The two deceased children were named Hugh and Georgia.
By family tradition, Mr. Asher is a Democrat, but in 1896, he adopted Republican tendencies and has since supported that party. For four years he served on the El Monte City Council, and has always been a conscientious supporter of public improvements. He is still successful and active in the management of his El Monte properties.
Source: Mayon, C. D., F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.