Ashbrook was the son of Isaac D and Anna M (Coleman) Snellbaker later Snelbaker, his date of birth varies from place to place. In the 1900 NJ census he gave January 1870 but his delayed birth record gives January 1871.
Ashbrook, who never married, was at one time a marble salesman / monument dealer. He became a millionaire as the manufacturer of LeFrance soap.
He built a three story graystone house in 1933 that was considered a mansion for its time. After Ashbrook's death the mansion became a home for "worthy women". The home funded by a multimillion-dollar endowment is still in operation today.