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Charles T. Askew – A Chronology

In an earlier post, I promised more details would be forthcoming about Charles T. Askew and his career in the paper industry. Here is the information I have gathered so far:

The Alumni History of the University of North Carolina: Electronic Edition lists Charles Thompson Askew from Raleigh; born November 30, 1858; died Sierra Madre, California, December 31, 1923; resided in New York; student 1875-1878; paper manufacturer 1878-1880; merchant 1880-1923.

We know from his obituary that Charles left the University of North Carolina to help his father run the paper mill at the Falls of Neuse near Raleigh. If the alumni directory is correct, he left his father’s business in 1880. Where did he go?

The marriage notice for Charles T. Askew and Leila Dodson said their wedding took place in Baltimore. We are not certain, yet, if this is “our” Charles T. Askew but it makes sense to look for him there to see if we can find any clues. The University of Maryland Digital Collections has Baltimore city directories available to view online for various years from 1816 to 1920. City directories are great sources of information, and are especially useful for filling in the years between censuses. The first directory listing for Charles T. Askew is in the Woods’ Baltimore City Directory for 1883 on page 71. He is listed as a salesman, Lafayette and Gilmor. At this same location is Thomas S. Askew, clerk. Because I know that Charles had a brother named Thomas S. Askew, this must be the “right” Charles T. Askew. Furthermore, at this same address is listed Isaac Emerson, apothecary, who is known to be the brother-in-law of Charles and Thomas.

Charles is not listed in the 1884 or 1885 Woods’ directory. He is listed in 1886 on page 80 as a salesman, 406 Druid Hill Ave. The 1887 directory is not online. He does not appear in the 1888 R. L. Polk city directory. He is listed in the 1889 R. L. Polk directory on page 75. It lists him as a manager at 16 Hanover, and his home address is 336 Presstman. This is the last time I find him in Baltimore. Where did he go from there? His obituary says he joined the sales department of A. G. Elliot and Co. of Philadelphia, then J. Q. Preble & Co. and J. B. Sheffield & Co.

According to The American Stationer, Vol. 27, January 30, 1890, page 231:

Charles T. Askew will continue with J B Sheffield & Son and the Saugerties Blank Book Company, successors to J. Q. Preble & Co. as their Southern representative and will soon call on his friends and customers throughout his territory.

Unfortunately for Charles, Sheffield & Son and the Saugerties Blank Book Company were in the process of reorganizing debts that resulted from the partnership with J. Q. Preble, as reported in the New York Times on December 22, 1889. Charles soon left the company and started his own business.

From The American Stationer, Vol. 27, April 3, 1890, page 796:

Charles T. Askew well-known throughout the South, has resigned his position as a representative of J. B. Sheffield & Son and Saugerties Blank Book Company. He will start at once in the business of manufacturing tablets, locating his factory at 39 Vesey Street, New York, under the style the Manhattan Tablet Company. He will have associated with him W. R. Crump who has been at the head of the tablet department at Saugerties for six or more years. In addition to this business, Mr. Askew will sell paper and blank books on commission.

In 1892, again according to his obituary, he formed a partnership with Henry W. Dewey under the name Dewey and Askew, wholesale paper dealers, which he operated until 1898. Then, in 1899, Charles joins the newly formed Ulster Paper Mills Company in Saugerties, New York, according to an article in The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer, Vol. 10, August 1, 1899, page 486. Charles is listed as manager of sales and Benjamin F. Crump is listed as manager.

At some point after this, Charles tries his hand at another new business which he calls The Askew Company. The New England Stationer and Printer, Vol. 16, April 1902, page 36, reports that he has joined this company with the Edward J. Merriam Company and will once again be calling on customers in the South. In 1905, Charles heads west.

The F. M Husted’s Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley city directory, Volume 1907, lists both C. T. Askew and the Merriam Paper Company at 1003 Broadway. Some time later, he goes to work for the Zellerbach Paper Company, founded in San Francisco, where he works until his death in 1923 according to his obituary.

Charles left quite a “paper trail!”

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons

 

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Finding My Charles T. Askew, Part 2

It was one of those EUREKA moments that happens every now and then, when poking around leads to finding that missing piece of the puzzle that makes everything fall into place. It makes the hair on your arms stand up, as anyone who has ever done genealogy research will attest.

I had left my search for Charles Thompson Askew and moved on. The questions remained unanswered until one day, with some time on my hands and my laptop at the ready, I tried a Google search using “Charles T Askew” and paper mill. The first result was a free Google ebook, called The Paper Mill and Wood Pulp News, Vol. 22. It listed Charles T. Askew or the Ulster Paper Mills of Saugerties, NY. Farther down the list of search results was Husted’s Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley Directory, 1907 listing Charles T. Askew at Merriam Paper Company. Several additional results, which I will detail in a future post, traced his work history from Baltimore, to New York, to California. This was all news to me.

Apparently I had never put his name together with the words ‘paper’ and ‘mill’ in a Google search before. There are two lessons here:

  1. Don’t restrict a search to just the person’s name. Include terms that describe things that you know about the person, like their occupation or hobby.
  2. Repeat searches from time to time. As more information comes online, new results will appear.

All of this information was interesting, but none of it was definitive until I saw this:

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This article was published in The Atlanta Constitution on January 14, 1923. It has been digitized and can be found on the website www.fold3.com

The key piece of information is in paragraph 4. Colonel William F. Askew of Raleigh, manufacturer of paper at the Falls of Neuse, is my great-great-great-grandfather. I have found Charles.

Now, what about Leila Dodson, the widow?

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Askew

 

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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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