1887.2 Joseph Lester Asbury

Born: July 31, 1887 Died: 1960 Buried: His father was Alexander Perry Asbury. His mother was Almira Beecher. He was married to Vervian Ona Waite (born 1893), who was the mother of his first son, 1918.4 Joseph Lester Asbury. Vervian died in 1920, during the 1918 worldwide influenza epidemic. She also bore a son named "Vernon" who died shortly after birth, in 1921. Joe was married in 1923 to 1893.1 Isabel Fitts. They had one child together, 1924.1 William Fitts Asbury. Joe was known as "Ben" among his siblings, the nine surviving children of Alexander Perry Asbury and Almira Beecher Asbury. The "Ben" nickname adhered to little Joe because of A.P.'s admiration and support for Benjamin Harrison, an Indianapolis lawyer and Republican who defeated Grover Cleveland for the presidency in 1888. Joe was born in 1887. A.P. told him then "throw up your hands for Ben Harrison" which Joe dutifully did with a grin. Thus Joe became Ben. President Harrison, an appointed Brigadier general, had led one of the volunteer Indiana regiments during the Civil War. Alexander Perry had served in such a regiment, perhaps the very one Harrison had led. And, besides, A.P. was a great admirer of Abraham Lincoln and thus an ardent Republican. After Vervian and Vernon died in 1920, Joe went to live with his brother Emery and his large family on a farm near Puyallup, Washington. Baby Joe became his life in those hard years. Joe began referring to him as "Daddy's little pal." The nickname "Pal" lasted the 86 years of Pal's life, which ended in 2005. Joe obtained a job teaching journalism and Spanish at Stadium High School in Tacoma. The compensation wasn't much. He had but one suit of clothing whose trousers had been patched so often that he was humiliated. When he wrote on the blackboard he always faced the students, and wrote at his side, to prevent the students from seeing his impoverishment. Joe later became a hotelier and a newspaperman, primarily in Utah but also in Washington and California. He moved his family frequently. There is some information about Joe in his son William's autobiography. Here is a transcription of an informal family history written by Joe about the family history of his father, Alexander Perry Asbury, and his ancestors. Joe died of a heart attack when he discovered his second wife, Isabel Fitts, dead by suicide. Genealogy HOME Search Tool.