Monthly Archives: June 2012

Charles Goes to School

In the fall of 1875, Charles Askew and 68 other male students arrived at the newly reopened University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, forming its first class since the university closed its doors in 1871. Chartered by the state in 1789, the first commencement at the university took place in 1798, making it the first public university to graduate students. Before the start of the Civil War, the university boasted an enrollment of 456 students. It had established itself as the second largest institution of higher learning in the South. During the war enrollments declined drastically. Financial troubles and political changes forced the university to shut down.

Charles’ name is entered in the first roster of students in this new era:

Students at UNC today might be surprised and amused by campus life in 1875. At the first faculty meeting held after the university reopened, it was decided that:

  • Breakfast will be at 7 am, prayers at 7:45 am, dinner at 2 pm and supper at 6:30pm.
  • All students must attend religious worship in one of the churches every Sunday.
  • Students must furnish their rooms with slop buckets.

Absences from daily prayers and Bible recitations were to be reported to parents.

Tuition was $60 and a dorm room rented for $10 per year.

The courses required for the Bachelor of Arts degree included: math, Latin, Greek, French, German, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Logic and Rhetoric, Astronomy, Mineralogy and Geology, Mental and Moral Science, International and Constitutional Law, Political Economy, and English Literature. Charles may have been working towards a Bachelor of Agriculture degree, because his coursework included Botany and Zoology. Here is his grade report for the Fall term of 1876.

Students were also required to join either the Dialectic Society or the Philanthropic Society. Charles signed up to be a “Phil” and served as Secretary for a time. Minutes of each meeting were kept in books like this one:

In his essay “Student Life and Learning,” UNC Professor of History James L. Leloudis discusses the role these societies played in a UNC student’s education:

Students depended on the societies to cultivate the personal style and “polish of manners” that won little recognition in the classroom, but which they considered essential to manly character. Chapel Hill was a tiny village where hogs wandered mud-choked streets and cows grazed on campus lawns; yet, when the societies were in session, the place took on an air of self-conscious refinement. The principals in the weekly debates “studied their subjects well,” often more thoroughly than their lessons, while official critics filled the society minute books with sharp commentary that revealed how seriously students approached the contests. College men valued the lessons of the society halls because they would stake their fortunes on verbal persuasiveness and outward bearing.

In one of the Philanthropic Society debates, Charles argued on the affirmative side of the question, “Ought the right of suffrage be granted to women?” Wouldn’t that have been an interesting debate to hear?

The societies often bestowed honorary memberships on non-students. Charles’ father, William F. Askew, received such an honor from the Philanthropic Society during commencement week in June of 1877. According to the society minutes, Mr. Askew was not present at the ceremony due to illness.

Unfortunately, Charles never graduated. He returned home to Raleigh presumably to help his father with the business of running his paper mill. Charles’ resignation from the Philanthropic Society was recorded in its minutes:

At the end of the minutes on this day, under Charles’ last signature as Secretary of the Philanthropic Society is faintly written, “C T Askew has left us. Goodbye, Charles.”

Sources for this post included:

1) The UNC digital collection called Documenting the American South, “The First Century of the First State University,”

2) History of the University of North Carolina, Volume I and II, by Kemp Plummer Battle, which can be read online at and

3) Photographs taken by me of records from the archives in Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Posted by on June 27, 2012 in Askew


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Is This Our Bertie?

Here is a photo I found years ago while searching for Askew ancestors. It is from the website The Olden Times.

According to the information on The Olden Times website about the photo, it is mounted on a card with the name Jeffers Studio, 106 N. Charlotte, Balto. printed at the bottom. On the back is written the following:

With much love for Bess from “her friend by the sea,” Bertie C. Askew

Isn’t’ she a lovely young lady?

When I first saw the photo and read the inscription, I didn’t have any reason to think that she had any connection to our Askew family. Now, I have some evidence that she may be my first cousin, three times removed.

A newspaper report shows that Bertie and her mother, Lila, were living in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, in 1901. Bertie would have been about 18 years old at this time. In the “Personal and Social News” column of the Denton Journal, published on July 20, 1901 it says:

Mrs. Lila Askew and daughter, Miss Bertie Askew, of Rehoboth, visited Mrs. T. Pliny Fisher last week.

Furthermore, Bertie’s husband, Daniel M. Henderson, wrote an article about Rehoboth Beach for The Baltimore Sun, published on July 31, 1921, entitled “This Sentimental Journey to Rehoboth Discloses Many, Many, Fine Things.” He writes:

Conrad, on his wanderings in search of the romance of his youth, went first to Sweetbay, an English watering place, and was disillusioned.  B. and I chose Rehoboth for a quest akin to Conrad’s.

Please don’t ask how many years ago it was when the pair of us first discovered Rehoboth to be a romantic spot. Let it be sufficient that it seemed so to us at a period considerably over a decade ago. Later, moving from Baltimore to New York, the Delaware resort had been eclipsed by New Jersey seashore places, and had almost faded from memory.

He goes on to say:

There is a place on the Delaware coast where one (who has suffered the prolonged tortures of the train ride) may find a wild beach and a friendly people; may walk in odorous pine forests and hear, with the song of the surf as a background, the minstrelsy of thrushes, warblers and hummingbirds; may plunder (with bees and June-bugs) blackberry vines and blueberry bushes; may catch his own fish and fry his own crabs–and be as lonely and content as if he had plunged a thousand miles into the wilderness.

This is what Rehoboth meant to us. To you it may be “the last place on earth.” It depends on whether at one time in your life you met there and formed a life companionship with–a man or a girl!

Isn’t that romantic?

Do you think there is enough evidence to conclude that she is the Bertie in our family tree? VOTE by leaving a comment!


Posted by on June 25, 2012 in Askew, Family Photos, Uncategorized


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Bertie Askew’s DAR Membership

Lesson: Finding and Using DAR Information

Having learned from her obituary that Bertie Askew Henderson was a member of both the Daughters of the American Revoluiton (DAR) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), it made sense to look for copies of her applications to these organizations to see what ancestors she used to gain membership. In her UDC application I found out that she claimed William F. Askew of Raleigh, NC, as her grandfather. Her DAR application gave me information about her mother’s side of the family.

Using the DAR Genealogical Research System, I started the search for Bertie’s membership information. There are three ways to search: by member, by ancestor and by descendant. I tried the Member search first, but it required a member number which I didn’t have. Then I tried the Ancestor search. This didn’t yield any results either, because it searches by the named patriot ancestor of the member. The Descendants search was the one I needed to use. Searching for Bertie Askew turned up no results, but by using her married name of Bertie Henderson I hit pay dirt.

The results of the search showed enough information, including her father’s and mother’s names and birth dates, that I knew I had the correct person. It also gave me Bertie’s DAR member number. There was also a link to order a copy of the record. It was so easy!

What I learned from the application included information about her mother’s ancestry going back to Bertie’s great-great-grandfather. It also confirmed that her mother had been married before. Bertie listed her parents as Charles T. Askew, born in 1857 and Lila Skinner, born April 26, 1855, and married in 1882. Prior to this, I had Lila’s last name as Dodson. I suspected that she had been married once before, because she reported two marriages on the 1910 census record. Now I knew that her first husband’s last name was Dodson and her maiden name was Skinner. Here is all the information from the application:

  • I am the daughter of Charles T. Askew, born 1857, died 1905 and his wife Lila Skinner, born April 26, 1855, died May 4, 1923, married 1882.
  • Lila Skinner was the daughter of William Skinner, born January 20, 1811, died (blank) and his wife Eliza Saulsbury, born March 4, 1815, died May 1, 1855, married November 7, 1833.
  • William Skinner was the son of Zachariah Skinner, born March 13, 1787, died May 19, 1864 and his wife Hannah Bond Jones, born (blank), died (blank), married March 22, 1810.
  • Zachariah Skinner was the son of William Skinner (a recognized patriot), born 1741, died February 20, 1813, and his second wife Elizabeth Fookes (Stewart), born October 5, 1756, died (blank), married December 21, 1781. She was the widow of John T. Stewart. William Skinner was married first to Elizabeth Jones.
  • Elizabeth Jones and William Skinner had a son, Thomas Skinner, born February 2, 1772 who married Sally Lee on February 16, 1800.
  • Elizabeth Fookes Stewart and William Skinner had the following children:
  1. Polly Hamilton Skinner, born October 6, 1782 who married Eggleston Brown.
  2. James Fookes Skinner, born September 5, 1784 who married Nancy Pattison.
  3. Zachariah Skinner, born March 13, 1787 who married Hannah Bond Jones.
  4. Margaret Skinner, born January 23, 1790 who married Thomas Goslin.
  5. William Skinner, born February 6, 1792 who married Beckie Pattison.
  6. Sarah Skinner, born March 1, 1794 who married Minos Conaway.
  7. Ann Skinner, born June 27, 1797 who married Samuel Pattison.
  8. Elizabeth Skinner, born November 20, 1800 who married Stephen Hurst.
  • William Skinner of Dorchester Co (Maryland) was one of those who took the “Oath of Fidelity” in March, 1778 as entered on the original manuscript returns made by Thomas Jones.
  • William Skinner’s grave is still on the old estate known as “Fooke’s Resolution” on Fishing Creek, Dorchester Co. MD. On his tombstone the inscription contains this date – William Skinner born 1741, died 1813.
  • William Skinner’s DAR ancestor number is A104895.
  • Bertie Askew Henderson’s DAR number is 167714.

I found it interesting that Bertie stated that her father, Charles T. Askew, died in 1905. As you can see from earlier posts on this blog, I feel strongly that he was living in California at this time. What she really knew about her father will probably remain a mystery.

Although at least some of this information has been verified by the DAR, I will try to find corroboration with primary sources before I take it as being factual.

The DAR Library website makes it very easy to find and order copies of membership applications. You can do it all online, or by mail or fax. The cost is $10 per record, if you order online, or $15 by mail or fax. I used the easy online system and downloaded the copy immediately. Unfortunately, I can’t show you what the copy of the application looks like. According to the restrictions listed on the DAR website:

Copies of NSDAR membership applications or supplemental applicationsmay not be resold, digitized, posted online, or published in any form.

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Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons


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