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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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What I Learned From Bertie Askew’s UDC Application

When I sent for a copy of Bertie Askew’s United Daughters of the Confederacy membership application, I didn’t know what to expect in return. Yesterday, I received copies of three forms. One is her original membership application, for the Baltimore Chapter of the UDC. The other two forms are titled “Demit” and show her moving from the Baltimore chapter to the Robert E. Lee Chapter in East Orange, New Jersey and then to the Stonewall Jackson Chapter in Glenridge, New Jersey. Do they contain useful information? Yes!

Membership in the UDC is limited to women with certain ties to the Confederacy and is by invitation. According to Article I of the By-laws of the UDC, printed on the application form:

Those women not less than 18 years of age entitled to membership are the women who are the widows, wives, mothers, sisters, grand nieces, and lineal descendants of such men as served honorably in the Confederate Army, Navy or Civil Service, or those men, unfit for active duty, who loyally gave aid to the Cause. Also Southern women who can give proof of personal service or loyal aid to the Southern Cause during the war, and the lineal descendants or nieces of such women wherever living. Northern women having no male relative who served the Confederate States of America in the War Between the States, 1861-1865, and having themselves performed no special service to same, but having married a Confederate soldier since 1865, and through this means becoming a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, shall have the words “by adoption” placed upon their certificates of membership and upon the Registrar’s books . . .

In her initial application for membership, Bertie gives information proving her relationship to a confederate soldier. She states that she is the granddaughter of Col. W. F. Askew of Raleigh, a colonel in the Commissary Department located at Raleigh, North Carolina. Furthermore, she is a great niece of W. H. Moore in the North Carolina Cavalry. Her birthdate and location are, unfortunately, left blank. She signs her name “Bertie Askew Henderson (Mrs. D. M. Jr.) and gives her address as 2113 Guilford Ave., Baltimore. To be admitted to the UDC, she must receive recommendations from three members. She lists S. A. Williamson, Rebecca Marshall and E. R. Beall She was admitted to the chapter on November 6th, 1906.

At first glance, the new information contained in this application may seem to be scant, but it does provide support for her placement in our family tree and introduces a new name, W. H. Moore. If he is her great uncle, then he is likely to be a brother-in-law to William F. Askew, her grandfather. Here is a clipping from the 1850 census of Wake County, North Carolina, showing Wm. F. Askew and his wife, Harriet Moore (More), living with her father, John C. Moore (More) and brother, William.

By 1860, William and Harriet have moved out of her father’s house, but William is still living there:

Putting together the information from these census pages and his Confederate service record might lead to new information about the Moore family.

The other bit of information worth pursuing is William F. Askew’s service in the Commissary Department during the war. What was his role in the department? How did he obtain the rank of colonel? Did he form relationships during this time that helped him after the war was over? It looks like I’ll be learning something about Confederate Service Records and making a trip to the North Carolina State Archives.

On May 8th, 1922, Bertie transfers her membership to the Robert E. Lee Chapter, East Orange, New Jersey. Her name is listed as Bertha Askew Henderson (Mrs. Daniel M.) This form lists her date of birth as December 29, 1883 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Both Col. Wm. F. Askew and W. H. Moore are named, but next to Moore’s name is written “41st State Troops, CSA, Co. A, 3rd NC Cav.” As this was written by hand and most of the other information is typed, this must have been added later. A quick search online shows that the history of the 3rd Cavalry is widely known, but also turns up more than one W. H. Moore in their ranks. Further research will be necessary to determine whether or not the information given on the UDC form is correct.

Her transfer to the Stonewall Jackson Chapter in March of 1932 states that she was the founder of the Robert E. Lee Chapter of East Orange and is a charter member of the Stonewall Jackson Chapter. Her name is again written as Bertha Askew Henderson. Perhaps she used “Bertie” as a nickname when she was younger, but resorted to Bertha as she matured, as I have done with my name. People who have known me more than 25 years still call me Laurie, but I began using my given name, Laurel, when I wanted to be taken more seriously in business settings and continue to use it today.

Organizations like the UDC provided women with opportunities for accomplishments outside of their traditional roles as mothers and wives at a time when most women did not work outside the home, and for forming friendships with a common bond. The objectives of the UDC include preserving the history of the War Between the States, assisting descendants in obtaining an education by providing scholarships, and honoring those who served.

 

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons

 

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2 Wives – 2 Lives

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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Paying It Forward With the 1940 Census

Would you be surprised if I told you that thousands of people have contributed their time, at no charge, to help me with my genealogy research? Well it’s true! And I couldn’t have done it without them. Now it’s my turn to help others with their research. One way I am doing that is by volunteering as a transcriber for the 1940 census. By typing the census data into a form that the the computer can manipulate, an index will be created that will allow people to search for their ancestors by name, age, birthplace and other information recorded by the census takers in April of 1940.

The Federal census, taken every ten years, determines the number of seats each state has in the United States House of Representatives. It also collects information about the population, such as how many people are employed, the number of people in a household, and levels of education. The type of data collected varies with each census. The first Federal census took place in 1790 and counted 3.9 million people. Some states have conducted their own, separately from the Federal government. Also, there have been some special censuses for specific purposes, such as mortality and agriculture.

The 1940 census was released on April 2nd, at the end of the required 72-year waiting period. It contains over 3.8 million pages of hand-written information. As a transcriber, my job is to read the hand-written census pages and type the information into a computer form. Each page is transcribed by two different people. The data is compared and if differences occur it is up to an arbitrator to determine which is correct. After enough data is compiled, an index will be created.

Without an index, you have to know where the person was living in 1940 so that you can determine the correct enumeration district. Then, you still have to search through many pages of handwritten records to find the right one. Census takers went door to door to collect information. If no one was home, they returned at a later time. These records will be recorded on pages at the end of the enumeration district, making them even more difficult to find. Having an index means you can find the person you are looking for quickly and easily.

I am deeply indebted to all the people who spent their time transcribing the records that I have used in my genealogy research. I am paying them back by paying it forward to researchers in the future who use the 1940 census index.

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Finding My Charles T. Askew, Part 1

Charles Thompson Askew was born in 1859, married Leila Dodson in Baltimore, Maryland on December 19, 1882, and died before 1900, or so I thought.

His birth year was calculated using census data. His marriage to Leila was suggested by a notation in legal documents pertaining to his father’s estate and confirmed by a notice on page 4 of the Raleigh News and Observer, published on December 24, 1882. The notice states that Charles T. Askew was married “last Tuesday evening” in Baltimore to Leila Dodson by the Reverend AC Dixon. Furthermore, the R. L. Polk & Company Baltimore City Directory for 1899 lists a Charles T. Askew in the paper business at 1804 Bolton Street. I know he learned the paper business from his father, who owned a paper mill in Wake County, North Carolina. In the 1900 census for the 2nd Precinct of Baltimore, Maryland, Leila Askew is listed as a widow with her daughter, Bertie, born in July of 1883. So, Charles must have died some time before the 1900 census.

It all made sense, until I found this listing in the Alumni History of the University of North Carolina:

*ASKEW, CHARLES THOMPSON

From Raleigh; New York, N. Y.; b. Nov. 30, 1858; d. Sierra Madre, Cal., Dec. 31, 1923; s. 1875-78; paper manufacturer 1878-80; merchant 1880-1923.

Was this the same person? The 1910 census for Los Angeles, California lists a Chas. T. Askew of approximately the correct age, but from South Carolina, living with Edith, his wife of 13 years, and son Charles E. His place of business is a paper house. His name, age and occupation suggest he is the same man who lived in Baltimore. The state where he was born doesn’t fit, though. Who is Edith, and what about Leila and Bertie??

Could there be two different men of the same age, both named Charles T. Askew, and both in the paper business? If so, which one belongs in my family tree?

After more than four years of searching, I believe I have the answer!

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2012 in Askew

 

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