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Category Archives: Askew

My Trip to Richmond, Virginia – Part One

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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

105N29th

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

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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 Richmond.gov 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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

 

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Another Brother – Jefferson Davis Askew

His name should give you a clue about when and where he was born. Jefferson Davis Askew grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was born shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter, during the first days of the Civil War. It was with some difficulty that I tracked him down, finally, in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana. Here is an excerpt from a book of Vigo County biographies, where I found some important clues. Because the information contained in these types of books is often secondhand, I take it all “with a grain of salt.”

jdaskew copy

Stay tuned – there is more to this story!

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons, Uncategorized

 

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Who was Albert Emerson Askew?

Albert’s uncle, Charles Thompson Askew, the subject of my earliest posts on this blog, led me to find Albert and his family. The 1883 Woods’ Baltimore City Directory, which I referred to in an earlier post about him, lists Charles T. Askew, salesman, at the corner of Lafayette and Gilmor, along with Thomas S. Askew, clerk, and Isaac Emerson, apothecary. (There’s that Emerson name again, hmmm.) I also know that Charles and Thomas are brothers. How do I know that? In addition to wills and other evidence, which I won’t go into right now, here they are in the 1870 federal census for Wake County, North Carolina:

1870 NC Wake Askew William copy

I was unable to find Thomas in the 1880 census. However, I did find him in another Baltimore city directory in 1893. The listing reads:

ASKEW & CO (Thos S Askew, Albert W Young) druggists, 501 N. Carrollton

It seems he rose from being a clerk in a drug store to a druggist in his own business. This was the last evidence I could find for Thomas in Baltimore. An 1894 city directory for Wilmington, Delaware, listed “Askew TS, druggist.” At first, I wasn’t certain whether or not this was, in fact, the same person. Some evidence I discovered recently, however, proves it was. Where did Thomas go after that?

Legal documents pertaining to his father’s estate indicate that by 1888 he has a wife named Sadie. Using that as a clue, I found him in Pennsylvania. Here they are in the 1900 federal census for Philadelphia:

1900 PA askew t s copy

It shows that they have been married for 14 years and that he is a drug salesman. They have two sons who were born in Delaware: Albert E., born in May, 1891; and Frank L., born in May, 1897.

I haven’t had any luck finding a birth record for Albert, but I did find one for Frank. He was born in Wilmington, Delaware on May 1, 1897. It also shows his mother’s maiden name is Sadie Young. Could she be related to the Albert W. Young listed as a druggist at Askew & Co. in the 1893 Baltimore directory mentioned above? It seems likely, but I don’t know for certain.

Askew Frank L

Searching Delaware records, I also found that Thomas and Sadie had a daughter who died at age 2. According to the death certificate, her name was Edith Young Askew. She was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She died on June 17, 1890 of meningitis.

For some reason, I haven’t been able to find this family in either the 1910 or 1920 federal census. This meant turning to other sources for clues to their whereabouts. Once again, books available online in digital format provided answers. Just as I found clues about Charles Askew by searching in publications about his occupation as a paper salesman, I turned up valuable information about Thomas in pharmaceutical materials. A publication titled Practical Druggist and Pharmaceutical Review of Reviews, Vol. 21-24, pg. 585, which I found at http://www.books.google.com, in the section dated December, 1908, lists Thomas S. Askew as a registered pharmacist, having passed the New Jersey Board of Pharmacy exam in October.

Now that I knew where (and “when”) to look, it was easy to trace the family in city directories. A city directory for Vineland, New Jersey lists Thomas as a druggist and Albert as resident manager at 712 Grape Street. In 1910, the whole family appears in the Camden city directory. Their address is 835 N. 2nd. The 1915 Camden city directory shows that, by then, the family had moved to 419 State Street. Albert is listed as a drug clerk.

Albert seems to be following in his father’s footsteps in the pharmacy business. Perhaps seeking new opportunities apart from the family business, Albert takes over the management of a pharmacy in Trenton, New Jersey, according to this article published in the Trenton Evening Times on October 6, 1915:

Askew takes over Davidsons drug store copy

On June 5th of 1917, Albert registered for the draft. His registration card lists his age as 26 and date of birth as May 4, 1892. (This differs from the 1900 census, above, by one year.) His home address is 145 State Street, Camden, and he now works as a pharmacist for J. T. Kelly in Hammonton, New Jersey. He is married. He is tall, with blue eyes and black hair. The Camden city directory for 1917 shows that Thomas and Sadie continue to live at 419 State Street.

Exactly one year later, his brother, Frank, registered for the draft, too. His registration card lists his age as 21 and date of birth as May 1, 1897. His home address is 418 N. 2nd, Camden, and he works for the Electro Dental Company of Philadelphia. He is medium height, with light blue eyes and brown hair. Interestingly, he lists his mother as his nearest relative. Also, he reports his middle name as “Young,” although it is shown as “Laplace” on his birth record. Why the change, I wonder?

We know what happens to Albert later in 1918. In fact, the address where his funeral was held is the same as the address that Frank lists as his home address on his draft registration. Albert’s widow, Florence, moved to San Francisco after his death, and appears there in the 1925 city directory.

Something happens to Thomas between 1917 and 1920, but I’m not sure what it is. He may also have died of the Spanish flu, but I have been unable to find a death record for him. The 1920 Camden city directory lists Sadie, but not Thomas. She is living with Frank. One day I may be able to solve this mystery in the New Jersey archives.

Are there any living Askews from this line? Albert and Florence had no children. I have no record of Frank after 1923. So, for now, it seems the story of my great-great-great uncle Thomas and his family has come to an end.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in Askew, Uncategorized

 

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Askew Among 675,000 Dead from Flu

Between the start of “flu season” and the middle of October, nearly 7000 people in Camden, New Jersey fell ill with the flu. By October 19th, 615 of them were dead. Across the river in Philadelphia, the death toll climbed quickly past 700. No epidemic of this magnitude has been encountered before or since. One unfortunate victim, Albert Emerson Askew, succumbed to the flu on October 23rd, during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. He was 27 years old.

According to his obituary, published in the Philadelphia Public Ledger on October 25, 1918, he was survived by his wife, Florence Patterson Askew; his father, Thomas Askew; and his mother, Sadie Askew. A funeral service was held at the home of family friend William E. Comley, 418 N. 2nd Street, Camden. Interment took place at Riverview Cemetery in Wilmington, Delaware.

In 1918, the Spanish flu caused an estimated 675,000 deaths in the United States alone. The worldwide death toll may have been as high as 50 million people. It killed rapidly, often overnight, as infected people suffocated when their lungs filled with fluid. Some reports indicate a bloody froth spilled from their mouths. Secondary bacterial pneumonia infections were common. Those in the age range of 20 to 50 had the highest mortality rate, which is somewhat unusual for the flu. At the time, Philadelphia’s population numbered approximately 1.7 million. By October 25th, 150,000 cases of the Spanish flu had been reported there. The city morgue, designed for 36 bodies, overflowed with more than 500 dead stacked in the halls. Burials couldn’t keep pace. In Philadelphia, as well as in Newark, New Jersey, and other cities, the dead were sometimes buried in mass graves.

Some of the first reported case of the Spanish flu in the US occurred among a group of sailors in Boston at the end of August, 1918. By October 1st, the number of reported cases in Massachusetts exceeded 75,000. In New Jersey, more than 150,000 cases were reported, and by the end of October more than 4,400 people were dead. By contrast, this year Boston’s mayor declared a state of emergency when the number of confirmed cases of the flu reached 700 and 4 people had died.

Public response to the Spanish flu epidemic seems to have been mixed. In some cities, public gathering places such as schools, theaters, and churches were closed, and people were encouraged to don gauze masks. Not everyone agreed with this policy, however. One Philadelphia newspaper accused authorities of trying to “scare everyone to death,” and relegated news about the flu to its back pages, despite the mounting death toll. Ultimately, Philadelphia had the highest number of deaths of any US city with over 12,000 reported. Most of these occurred within four weeks during the peak of the flu season.

Still, many more people lived through the pandemic than died. Unfortunately, Albert E. Askew wasn’t one of the lucky ones. The odds may have been stacked against him, though, because he would very likely have come into contact with many sick people. He was a druggist. In those days, the fledgling medical profession had neither the knowledge nor the resources to mount an effective battle against this virulent strain of flu. Also, many doctors and nurses were overseas taking care of the soldiers fighting in World War I, leaving fewer “trained” medical personnel to care for the sick. The pharmaceutical industry was in its infancy, with druggists creating and dispensing “cures” for many ailments. They were often sought out by the sick for medical advice and treatment. There was no cure for the flu, however whisky was often proscribed. Druggists were a source of supply even when public places, such as saloons, had been temporarily closed during the height of the pandemic.

Where does Albert Emerson Askew reside on my family tree? I will tell you in my next post. Hint: we are 1st cousins, 3 times removed. If you don’t remember what that means, read this post again.

Here are a few of the sources I used for information about the Spanish Flu:

The 1918 Influenza Pandemic; http://virus.stanford.edu/uda/

Pandemic Flu History; http://www.flu.gov/pandemic/history/1918/

University of Pennsylvania article; http://www.upenn.edu/gazette/1198/lynch.html

Boston flu deaths for 2012-13 season total 6 before Jan 11th according to this article. Five were over 65 years old.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2013 in Askew, Uncategorized

 

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The Askews and the North Carolina State Fair

As the North Carolina State Fair ends today, it seemed fitting to post this tidbit regarding the Askew family and the history of the fair.

William F. Askew, my great-great-great-grandfather, served on the Executive Committee of the North Carolina Agricultural Society in 1873, when the State Fair moved from its original location to its second site in Raleigh, across from NC State University. It occupied approximately 55 acres along Hillsborough Road from Brooks Avenue to Horne Street, according to the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Highway Marker Number H-34. The Agricultural Society ran the fair until 1927 when the Agriculture Department took over and the Agricultural Society disbanded. It moved to its present location in 1928.

Here is an excerpt from the North Carolina Agricultural Almanac 1873, published by L. Branson. You will find William F. Askew’s name listed in the Executive Committee.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2012 in Askew, Uncategorized

 

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Charles T. Askew – Looking Ahead and Looking Back

Bringing the Charles Thompson Askew family into the present day requires more research than I am prepared to do. Because of privacy concerns, the information available online for people presumed to be still living is somewhat limited. And rightly so! Here is what I know of the rest of this story.

We know from her obituary, that Charles’ daughter Bertie (from his first marriage to Leila Skinner) and her husband Daniel Henderson had a daughter named Ruth, who was attending Swarthmore College at the time of Bertie’s death in 1935. Ruth’s engagement to H. Woodward McDowell, two years after her mother’s death, was announced in the New York Times:

New York Times; published May 2, 1937.

 

Although I have some clues about Ruth and H. Woodward McDowell from news articles which suggest they had two daughters named Nancy and Ann, I cannot prove it at this time.

We know from Charles’ obituary that he married a woman whose first name was Edith and that they had a son named Charles. The 1920 federal census record for Sierra Madre, Los Angeles county, California, shows Charles T. Askew, head-of-household, age 61, born in North Carolina; Edith M. Askew, his wife, age 48, born in England; Charles E. Askew, his son, age 19, born in New York. Given all the evidence I have already presented about Charles T. Askew, I have concluded that this record must pertain to him and his family. The last record I have for Charles Thompson Askew is the obituary, published just 3 years after this census was taken. His wife’s maiden name may have been Matthews. The California Death Index lists Edith Matthews Askew, born November 12, 1870 in “other country” and died February 19, 1957 in Los Angeles.

His son, Charles E. Askew, can be found in numerous records. The 1930 federal census record for Sierra Madre, Los Angeles county, California shows Charles E. Askew, head-of-household, age 30, born in New York, father born in North Carolina, mother born in England; Freeda I. Askew, his wife, age 24, born in California; Helen E. Askew, his daughter, age 4, born in California; Betty J. Askew, his daughter, age 6 months, born in California. This census also asked for “age at first marriage.” In this case, it gives us some very important information. For Charles, his age at first marriage is reported to be 21 – approximately 9 years earlier. For Freeda, however, her age at first marriage is reported to be 23 – just one year earlier, and too soon to be the mother of Helen who is 4 years old. I suspect that Freeda is his second wife. Can I prove it?

The California Birth Index, which I found on Ancestry.com, lists Helen Edith Askew, born in Los Angeles county on July 25, 1925. Her mother’s maiden name is recorded as Vanblack. The California Death Index, also found on Ancestry.com, lists Helen Edith, born July 25, 1925 in California and died May 7, 1996 in Los Angeles county. It records her mother’s maiden name as Vanvleck, her father’s surname as Askew, and her full name as Helen Edith Pennington. Despite the different spellings of her mother’s maiden name, which could easily be due to a transcription error, these records appear to match each other and are consistent with the 1930 census record. Could Vanblack (or Vanvleck) be the maiden name of Charles E. Askew’s first wife?

After much searching, I hit pay dirt! In a family history published on Ancestry.com (the complete source for this record is listed at the end of this post) here is what I found:

Child of Frank Abram and Eliza B. (Stanbery) Van Vleck: Helen Janette Van Vleck (adopted), born Feb 2, 1904; died at the birth of her only daughter; married in Sierra Madre CA April, 1922, Charles Askew. Child Helen.

It appears that Charles E. was married first to Helen Van Vleck and second to Freeda (last name unknown.) Helen apparently died in childbirth. So sad . . .

In census records I found Frank Abram, Eliza and Helen. That information together with the Van Vleck family history led me to the book The History of Cerro Gordo County, IA, 1910, which has quite a bit of information about the Stanbery/Stanbury family. It reports that Frank Van Vleck and Eliza Belle Stanbury are living in Minot, ND and that she is the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. William C. Stanbery. The Iowa connection led me to an article published in the Mason City Globe Gazette on October 17, 1957 about a lawsuit that the local power company was bringing against many people who had an interest in land located in the Stanbury Addition, Mason City, Cerro Gordo county. The defendants included Charles E. Askew and Irene Askew, husband and wife, and Helen Edith Askew Pennington!

One detail that I have yet to prove is the maiden name of Charles E. Askew’s second wife. The census records list her name as Freeda or Freida I. Askew. Given that the name listed in the news article is “Irene,” I think that may be her middle name.

Old high school and college yearbooks are increasingly available online. Here is a photo I found in the 1945 Pasadena Jr. College Yearbook for Helen Edith Askew.

What else do I know? From his military registration card, I know that Charles E. Askew’s middle name is Emerson (keep that in mind, it is a name you will see again) and that he had blue eyes and brown hair, and that his birthday was August 18, 1900. He may have served in the US Air Force as a pilot and may have been a volunteer fireman in Sierra Madre, according to various records I have found but that I can’t prove pertain to him. I have not found a death record for him. The California Death Index lists Freida I. Askew, born October 17, 1905 in California, died September 10, 1975 in Los Angeles. I haven’t been able to find any records for their daughter, Betty.

Next, we will return to the east coast at the end of the 19th century and follow one of Charles T. Askew’s brothers.

There is always “more to the story!”

 

Source:

Ancestry.com. Ancestry and descendants of Tielman Van Vleeck of Niew Amsterdam : with some descendants of Benjamin Van Vleck and Marinus Roel [database on-line]. Provo, UT: The Generations Network, Inc., 2005. (Original data: Van Vleck, Jane,. Ancestry and descendants of Tielman Van Vleeck of Niew Amsterdam : with some descendants of Benjamin Van Vleck and Marinus Roelofse van Vleckeren or Van Vlack. New York: unknown, 1955.)

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Askew, Family Photos, Uncategorized

 

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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,” http://docsouth.unc.edu/unc/browse/creation.html

2) History of the University of North Carolina, Volume I and II, by Kemp Plummer Battle, which can be read online at http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/battle1/battle1.html and http://docsouth.unc.edu/nc/battle2/battle2.html

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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