John L. Ainsworth
Among the honored citizens of Denison is John L. Ainsworth, who as a school teacher has attained an enviable record in Crawford county, having devoted his best talents and energies to that vocation for thirty years past.
He was born in Lomira, Dodge county, Wisconsin, August 5, 1861, a son of Michael and Mary (Rice) Ainsworth, the former a native of New York state and the latter of Alsace-Loraine, France. The father was a farmer by occupation. Coming to Crawford county, Iowa, in the fall of 1868, he located five miles north of Denison in Goodrich township, where he purchased a farm of one hundred and forty acres, upon which he lived for thirty-three years. He passed away in 1901, having then reached the age of eighty-four years. His beloved wife died at the age of seventy-seven years in 1905. They were both stanch believers in the authority and inspiration of the Bible and active members of the Methodist church, performing their part nobly in the upbuilding of the county.
Joseph Ainsworth, the paternal grandfather of our subject, who was also a native of New York state, was a farmer by occupation and served in the American army in the war of 1812. He died in Wisconsin, being then well advanced in years.
The maternal grandfather, Joseph Rice, was a native of Alsace, France. Seeking more favorable conditions than he found in his own country, he came to America and lived for many years in Dodge county, Wisconsin. He spent the last part of his life in Crawford county, Iowa.
Seven children in the family of Michael and Mary Ainsworth grew to maturity, namely: Joseph O. and Edwin M., both of whom are now deceased; Charlotte H., now Mrs. E. O. Thien, of Denison; Ancil D., of Ute, Iowa; George E., of Canton, Illinois; John L., the subject of this review; and Adelle, now the wife of J. C. Phillips, of Virgil, South Dakota.
John L. Ainsworth came to Crawford county with his parents when seven years of age and has ever since been a resident of this county. He was reared under the favoring influences of a country home and as a member of a family in which each was expected to perform his duty, either in the house or in the fields. He early gained practical lessons of application and self-denial that have been of inestimable value to him in later life. In the district schools he gained his preparatory education, later becoming a student 'of the Denison Normal & Business College. After preparing himself for such a responsibility, he began teaching in Crawford county in 1881, continuing without interruption to the present time, and becoming recognized years ago as one of the thoroughly qualified educators of this section.
On the 2d of April, 1890, Mr. Ainsworth was united in marriage to Miss Edith Shirtcliff, a daughter of Henry and Frances (Colley) Shirtcliff, a record of whom appears elsewhere in this work.
Mrs. Ainsworth is a member of the Episcopal church, but her husband is not identified with any religious denomination. Fraternally he is connected with the Knights of Pythias, and politically he supports the candidates and principles of the republican party as those best adapted in his opinion for the preservation of the liberties of the republic. As a professional teacher he is a constant student of the world's progress and being a man of unusual intelligence and of wide observation his opinions command respect wherever he is known. He is conscientious in the discharge of his duties and hundreds of young men and women who have been under his care as pupils regard him as a friend and counselor whose greatest desire is to promote the welfare and happiness of others.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.