My Trip to Richmond, Virginia – Part One

15 Jun

While attending the 2014 National Genealogical Society conference in Richmond, I took some time to check out my family connections to this beautiful, historic city.

My first stop was Oakwood Cemetery, 3101 Nine Mile Road, Richmond. I photographed the headstones in the Askew plot, and the plat book showing the record of Askew family burials. The plat book shows that Mrs. Mary Askew purchased the plot on October 10, 1911. The location in the cemetery is Plat B, Section 1, Lot 81, Part 4. The cemetery is huge! I would never have found the graves without the map and directions given to me by the very helpful cemetery office secretary.


Here is the Askew plot – four headstones in an area outlined by a granite curb.

Oakwood Cemetery Askew Plot

The front of the plot is marked with the Askew name, almost completely hidden by the encroaching grass.


The first burial was James A. Askew (Mary’s husband and my great-great-grandfather) on October 9, 1911. Difficult to read due to the growth of lichens on the headstone, it says that he was born September 17, 1856 and died October 7, 1911.

IMG_1963 - Version 2

Next to be buried was Mary B. Askew (his wife) on March 6, 1934. This headstone has fallen off its foundation.


James Alpheus Askew, Jr. (their son) was buried five years later, on December 8, 1939.


The last two were just one year apart: Charles Thompson Askew (their son) on March 31, 1960, and Rena B. Askew Watson (their daughter) on May 11, 1961.


The neighborhood where the Askews lived was nearby, so my next stop was the home of James and Mary Askew at 105 North 29th Street. The sidewalk in front of the house was being replaced and a huge city truck blocked a good view of the house and prevented me from taking a photo. Here is an old photo (courtesy of my uncle) of the Askew family standing on the steps of that house. We believe that the people in this photo, clockwise from the left, are Robert L. Askew, his wife Martha Ellen Gilliam Askew, his mother Mary Bullock Askew, and his sisters Mabel, Jennie, Rena and Emily.


And here is that same view in a photo taken by my uncle on his trip to Richmond.


After their marriage, Robert L. Askew and Martha Ellen Gilliam (my great-grandparents) lived at 115 North 29th Street, just a few houses away. (More about them in my next post.)

I spent some time wandering around the neighborhood. Less than a block from the house is Libby Hill Park (formerly called Marshall Square), one of the three original parks in Richmond according to the website. From this view standing in the park, you can just barely see the former Askew house (light green) to the right of the tree behind the fountain.


The park features a monument to the soldiers and sailors of the Confederacy erected in 1894.

Confederate soldier monument in the park at the end of N. 29th

It’s a beautiful park with a breathtaking view of the James River.


According to a sign in the park, it was this view that inspired the city to be named Richmond.

Sign at the end of N 29th St

I can imagine the Askews strolling down the very same cobblestone streets where I took these photos. This street leads down the hill from the park to Tobacco Row.



Here is another view from the park.

Former tobacco company plant viewed from the park at the end of N. 29th

There is a wonderful vintage map of Richmond here. You will find the area where the Askew family lived near the right edge of the map. Look for the intersection of North 29th Street and Franklin Street. The map, circa 1909, shows the area as it was when they lived there.

I had a wonderful time exploring Richmond and walking in the footsteps of my ancestors.



Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Askew, Family Photos, Uncategorized


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2 responses to “My Trip to Richmond, Virginia – Part One

  1. Sal

    June 15, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Laurie, what wonderful ancestry info! Thanks for sharing.

  2. J. Whiteman

    June 16, 2014 at 4:27 am

    WOW!!! is all I can say. Wonderful photos and information to add to our archives about our Askew heritage. Thanks you so much, Laurie. You always do a fantastic job. How intriguing to be able to walk in your ancestors footsteps. Love, Mom


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