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2 Wives – 2 Lives

16 May

Mounting evidence supports the theory that Charles Thompson Askew married twice. Although his obituary mentions a wife, Edith, and a son, Charles, I have found additional information proving an earlier marriage to Leila Dodson and the birth of a daughter, Bertie. Besides the marriage announcement mentioned in my first post about Charles, new information sheds light on his first wife and daughter.

Married in December of 1882, Charles and Leila were no longer living together by the time the 1900 census was taken. The 1890 census would be helpful, but it was almost completely destroyed by fire and by bureaucratic ineptitude. Fortunately, more and more newspapers are being digitized and made available online, either through subscription services or through library websites for free.

A newspaper article from the Baltimore Sun, February 27, 1895 lists Charles T. Askew, Mrs. Charles T. Askew and Miss Askew, of Brooklyn, New York, attending the Drew-Hodson wedding in Baltimore. This is consistent with what we know of his employment history, which places him in New York around this time. It means Charles, Leila and daughter moved to New York together. We can only speculate about why their lives soon changed.

Here is a clipping from the 1900 census for Baltimore, Maryland. It shows (reading the columns from left to right) Leila Askew, head of household, White, Female, born October 1858, age 41, Widowed, mother of one child, one child still living, born in Maryland, her father born in Maryland, her mother born in Maryland. On the next line is Bertie Askew, daughter, born July 1883.

That Leila is listed as widowed could mean several things: she could be widowed, she could be divorced, or she could be abandoned. First, we don’t know who gave this information to the census taker. Second, divorced women often preferred to be known as widows in an era when divorce carried such a stigma. Third, a divorce was difficult to obtain.

I cannot find Charles in the 1900 census. It’s possible he wasn’t counted because he was traveling as a paper salesman at that time.

The 1910 census shows Leila Askew, mother-in-law, living with Daniel M. Henderson and Bertie C. Henderson. It also shows that Bertie and Daniel have been married for 5 years, and that Daniel’s parents were born in Scotland. Interestingly, Leila is listed as having been married 2 times, with the present marriage of 27 years duration, and as having had 2 children, with one still living (Bertie, of course.) Census data can never be presumed to be fact without further proof, however it raises the possibility that she may have been abandoned and never divorced. She may have been married to someone else before Charles. Perhaps Bertie had a brother or sister who did not survive.

In 1920 Leila is again listed in the census as a widow, and Daniel and Bertie have a 5-year-old daughter named Ruth. They are living in Orange, New Jersey. I have no further information about Leila. More proof is needed to confirm the link between Daniel and Bertie Henderson, Leila Askew and Charles T. Askew (son of William F. Askew of Raleigh.) What we have so far relies on census data and needs to be corroborated with additional evidence.

I believe I have found the evidence that proves this relationship, and this is what led me to it-

Here is an obituary for Bertie, published in the New York Times on December 29, 1935:

To become a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, you have to prove that an ancestor fought in the War Between the States (AKA Civil War) or supported the Confederate war effort. You can obtain a copy of a member’s application by contacting the UDC library. I am awaiting the copy of Bertie’s application that I requested last week, but here is the reply I received to my email inquiry:

Dear Ms. Sanders,

Bertie Corinne Askew Henderson joined the Baltimore Chapter #8 in Baltimore, MD on November 6, 1906.  She transferred to the Robert E. Lee #1773 in East Orange, NJ in 1922, and then transferred to the Stonewall Jackson #2058 in Glenridge, NJ in 1931.  The transfers state that she was the Founder of the Robert E. Lee Chapter and a Charter Member of the Stonewall Jackson Chapter.  I’ll be happy to make a copy of the application for you; our charge for a copy of an application is $16.00. Her Confederate Ancestor was Col. William F. Askew, her Grandfather.

Thank you,

Betty Luck

Research Librarian

United Daughters of the Confederacy

328 North Boulevard

Richmond, Virginia 23220

Is this enough proof to consider the case closed? I could pursue additional records, but I am satisfied that the question of whether or not Charles T. Askew was married to Leila Dodson has been answered. New York, New Jersey and California are locations that appear frequently in our family history. Coincidence, or something more?

Here is a question for YOU to answer: In Bertie’s obituary, Daniel M. Henderson is mentioned as an author and New York magazine official. What did he write and how famous (or infamous) was he? When you find out, leave your answer in a comment on this post!

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Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons, Uncategorized

 

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2 responses to “2 Wives – 2 Lives

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