Peter W. Ainsley was born November 11, 1839, in England. He arrived in the United States in October of 1857, at the age of 17. In 1870 he appears in East Liverpool, Columbiana County, Ohio, working in a pottery. The pottery industry was well established in West Liverpool and had attracted many English workers. It is possible that Peter went there because he knew someone working there.
In 1869 he met and married Mary Graften. She was born in England in March 1850, the daughter of James and Mary Graften. Peter and Mary’s first child, James, was born in 1870.
By 1874 the family had moved to Jefferson County, Ohio, where Peter applied for citizenship at the probate court. He was accompanied by Joseph Robertson, who attested to his character and his residence in Ohio. Peter then renounced his allegiance to Queen Victoria and became a citizen of the United States.
The family moved to Illinois by 1884 and Peter was employed in Dayton as a brick burner in 1900. He probably worked for the Chicago and Dayton Brick Company, newly established in the old woolen mill building.
Peter and Mary had four children –
- James Henry Ainsley was born July 7, 1870, in East Liverpool, Ohio; he died September 16, 1946, in Ottawa, Illinois. He was married June 24, 1896, in La Salle County, to Jane “Jennie” Doyle. She was born in March 1872 in Pennsylvania and died May 26, 1953 in Ottawa.
2. Alice Ainsley was born about 1873 in Ohio; she died March 18, 1895, in Dayton and is buried in the Millington-Newark Cemetery in Millington, Illinois.
3. William Ainsley was born about 1876 in Ohio; he died July 26, 1894, in Dayton and is also buried in Millington.
4. Albert Joseph Ainsley was born February 7, 1884, in Illinois; he died September 19, 1937. On April 19, 1911, in La Salle County, he was married to Helen Caroline Jacobs. She was born February 7, 1887, in Jerauld County, South Dakota and died August 31, 1976, in Ottawa.
Peter’s wife, Mary, died in 1908 and was buried in St. Columba Cemetery in Ottawa. Peter died in Dayton October 12, 1913 and was also buried in St. Columba Cemetery. On his death certificate, his occupation was listed as kiln-burner and janitor, as he had been janitor for the local school in his later years.