Ashby was born on April 26, 1921 to Harold Walter and Artemesha Jepson Reeve. He was born in a one room house in back of the Hurricane Hotel. At the time of his birth, the population of Hurricane was estimated to be about 400 citizens.
The Reeves homesteaded a place in the Canaan Gap known as the Haslam place. Ashby spent a lot of time out there as a 12 year old. This was the beginning of the school of hard knocks where he learned the ins and outs of responsibility and how to get all types of work done as well as survive. There was a spring there that provided water for Ashby and the animals, (cows and horses). He hunted wild mustangs in the spring and summer with Arnold Adair and Lewis Black until the mustangs began to disappear. He has worked on the ranch for 78 years and it has provide him with a love and respect for life and for this great earth.
Travel to and from the ranch in the early days was vastly different from today. He would go in horse drawn wagons. The journey required careful planning and gathering of necessities.
From 1942 – 1945 Ashby served his country in the US Army, A/R Company 1 316 Infantry 91st Division. He was sent to North Africa after basic training, then on to Italy with Patton’s 5th Army. He walked all the way through Italy to Austria. While in Italy he was in the city where the infamous Benito Mussolini had been caught and hanged by his own people by his heels. Ashby walked right near the place and viewed Mussolini hanging. he came home by ship from Naples, Italy and the ship was actually on the way to Japan. The A-bomb was dropped on Japan before the ship arrived in Japan, so it turned toward the good old U.S. of A. Ashby was an undecorated war hero. His army unit was on a hillside in a tremendous firefight with the Germans. His senior officer told his group that they had 15 minutes to leave. Ashby refused to leave because there were men wounded that he would not leave behind. Ashby made the time to get some men to safety but, did not leave with the other men. He was able to get himself and some wounded off that mountain side. He turned down the medal he was awarded for his heroic service.
After the war, he went back to farming, ranching, and many long and hard hours of work on the Hurricane Canal. He could literally write the book of the Canal history. He tells of the account when Victor Sylvester slid off the steep hill side. Ashby and the others dug him out of the dirt and rocks that covered him, but on close examination there were no broken bones, but plenty of cuts and scrapes.
Ashby got started in the cattle business a little differently. He had won a duck in a contest at peach days, and later traded it for a burro. Later he traded the burro for a heifer calf. The calf grew up and had babies, some were heifers, and Ashby was in the cattle business. His father Hap had the first Clydesdale horses in the Hurricane Valley, and Ashby became famous in this part of the county because he would use these animals on the farm. They pulled all types of farm equipment, even large loads of baled and or loose hay.
When the movie industry was in Kanab, Ashby worked for them in many ways. He was able to meet most of the western movie stars of that time period. His most memorable acquaintance was Audie Murphy, who was also a WWII hero prior to his movie experience. Also, Ashby helped in the building of the Tuachan amphitheater, hauling people and equipment to and from the canyon before there were any established roads there.
He was a charter member of the Hurricane Roping Club, appearing in parades and other events with them. He is one of the oldest members of the Utah Farm Bureau. He rendered many hours of service organizing events and doing the leg work that led to the success of the Farm Bureau. Ashby will be honored this July at the Utah State University for his outstanding work as a farmer and rancher in the state.
Ashby joined the American Legion shortly after his discharge from the Army, and was honored for 60 years of dedicated service to that organization. He as stood with other veterans in Honor Guards at the burial of deceased veterans all over eastern Washington County.
One of his loves is racing horses, and he has raced from Beaver to Phoenix. He is a natural with horses and knows how to train them to be winners. Ashby also love the Christmas season because it was a special time to haul ward members on his horse drawn wagon so they could go Christmas caroling. He would also provide horses and wagon for other groups like the SUP for riding in parades.
Raising sugar beets was a mainstay of his farming efforts. He was one of the largest beet growers in the Hurricane valley. Beet seed growing started in Hurricane Valley about 1950 and lasted as a viable crop until 1980.
He married Iva on November 12th, 1942, Just 4 days before entering the military. From this union have come 5 children: Vickie, Artie, Iva Lyn, John and Bernice. They have 11 grand children, 18 great grand children, and 7 great, great, grandchildren.