Phenas was the son of David C. Ashworth who came to California in 1849 from Missouri. He was born on Halloween in 1855 in Mariposa. The Ashworth Family engaged in farming and stock raising. David C. eventually accumulated 1500 acres in the Big Spring Hill area where the family ranch was located. Phenas also became a farmer and rancher, but was also known as a person good with a gun. He married Mary Ellen Reynolds on June 22, 1882 in Mariposa. Mary Ellen was the daughter of Margaret Gordon and lived most of her life in the county. They were survived by five children. Phenas died February 15th 1930 at his home near Mormon Bar at the age of 74. Mary died while visiting her nephew, Herman Wass, in San Francisco at the age of 57.