Ashman P. Combs is one of the well-known businessmen of Riverside. He is in the real-estate and insurance business, and has one of the best established agencies in Riverside, representing some of the strongest insurance companies issuing policies on the Pacific Coast. Mr. Combs came to Riverside in 1876 and was first employed among the orange groves as a horticulturist in pruning, etc. In 1877 he started a nursery business on Mulberry Street between Seventh and Eighth streets. The next year he purchased a two and one-half acre block between Vine and Mulberry, and First and Second streets, and in the same year erected a cottage and planted his land to oranges. Mr. Combs has, since his arrival, been engaged in horticultural pursuits, in addition to his other business enterprises, and has been one of the most successful orange growers in the colony. His two and one-half acres between Mulberry and Lime and Thirteenth and Fourteenth streets is in budded orange trees, of Washington Navel and Mediterranean Sweet varieties. As illustrating what may be done in the orange culture in Riverside under intelligent care and cultivation, it is worthy to note that in 1887 these two and one-half acres gave a yield that sold for $1,800, an average of over $700 per acre. The trees at that time were nine or ten years old.
Mr. Combs is a native of Canada and dates his birth in Wentworth County, in 1829. His father, John Combs, was a native of Pennsylvania; his mother, Sarah (Cowell) Combs, was also from that state, and both were descended from old Colonial families. Mr. Combs was reared to farm life, receiving such an education as could be obtained in the public schools. At the age of eighteen years he learned the carpenter’s trade, and when he reached his majority he engaged as a carpenter and builder and a farmer until 1871. In that year he entered into mercantile pursuits in Hamilton, Wentworth County, and conducted the same until he came to California in 1876.
Mr. Combs is an enterprising and progressive citizen, and has always been a strong supporter of the public enterprises that have built up the city of Riverside. He was one of the incorporators of the Riverside and Arlington Railway. In his real-estate dealings he has done much to attract a desirable class of settlers to the colony. He is a consistent member of the Methodist Church and a steward in the society. Politically he is a Republican, but is a firm supporter of the Prohibition movement and has served as a delegate to the conventions of that party. He is a notary public, having been appointed to the office in April 1889. He has a large circle of warm friends in Riverside, as well as in the county. In 1856 he was united in marriage to Miss Susan J. Inglehart, a native of the county in which Mr. Combs was born.