Bittner, Ed and Ashton, Anna

Anna Ashton was born in Canton, Ohio in 1880. With her first husband, Wright Ashton, she had a daughter, Catherine, born in Massillon, Ohio in 1899. The Ashton family first came to Alaska in 1900, landing in Nome. In 1915 Anna and her daughter made the long boat trip from Nome to Seward and thence to Anchorage.

Anna Ashton opened a small grocery story at 4th Avenue and I Street in Anchorage, and in 1916 she opened a ladies' ready-to-wear shop, named Ashton's Ladies Apparel, near 4th Avenue and D Street. Mother and daughter operated the store in Anchorage until 1930 and also maintained a shop in Seward from 1920 to 1927. Anna built the Ashton Apartments on the property near 4th Avenue and I Street and lived there until her death in 1945.

In 1916, Catherine Ashton married Harry Schultz, who was born in Beatrice, Nebraska in 1886. Their son, William, was born in 1917. Harry had mined in interior Alaska prior to becoming a U.S. Deputy Marshal in Anchorage and Valdez. Catherine and Harry divorced after several years.

Edward Frank Bittner was born February 23, l894 in Portland, Oregon. He arrived in Skagway in 1898 with his parents, en route to the Klondike gold fields. His father mined in other locations including Nome and Chisana. Edward came to Anchorage after World War I, and went to work for the Alaska Railroad. In 1927 he married Catherine Ashton Schultz and adopted Catherine's son, William.

William Bittner married Elladean Hays, and they had three children, the grandchildren of Catherine and the great-grandchildren of Anna Ashton. Catherine Ann, the oldest, married U.S. Senator Ted Stevens; her younger siblings are William Hays Bittner and Judith Ellen Bittner.

Anna Ashton died in 1945 and is buried in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, as is Edward Frank Bittner, who died in 1954. Catherine Ashton Schultz Bittner died in Seattle, Washington in 1981. Harry J. Schultz passed away in 1983. William Bittner died in 1989 in Arizona.


This biographical sketch of Ed Bittner and Anna Ashton is based on an essay which originally appeared in John Bagoy's Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 152-153. See also the Edward Frank Bittner file, Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11, Box 2, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Anchorage, AK.  Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012.  Note:  edited by Bruce Parham, May 5, 2016. 

Preferred citation:  Mina Jacobs and Bruce Parham, eds., "Bittner, Ed and Ashton, Anna," Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940,

Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501, or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website, Copyright © 2017 by Cook Inlet Historical Society. All Rights Reserved.