James Dasher Ashley, son of Cornelius R. Ashley and Harriett Dasher, was born in Valdosta on November 26, 1886. His first wife was Nancy “Nassye” Henderson, and his second marriage was to Ann Goddard of Griffin, Georgia. Ashley attended Valdosta public schools and Georgia Military Academy. He earned his law degree at the University of Georgia, but preferred directing his abilities toward business affairs. He was engaged in the insurance business and he managed the Ashley family estate. James Ashley served on the Valdosta City Council and was a member of the Georgia Legislature. He was the first president of the Georgia Mayors Association, served as the director of First National Bank, and was the vice-president and director of First Federal Savings and Loan Association. During his term as mayor Moody Field (Moody Air Force Base) was established and the municipal airport South of Valdosta was completed. Mayor Ashley died in office on September 26, 1943.