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Tag Archives: University of North Carolina

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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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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Weekend Reading: The History of Alamance

Want to know more about the friends and neighbors of our ancestors and the lives they led? The History of Alamance, by Sallie Walker Stockard tells their stories. (Note: the colored text is a link that will take you to the free Google ebook which you can read online.) In her book, she mentions several of the rivers and creeks we find in the deeds for land owned by our ancestors: Sandy Creek, Stinking Quarter Creek, Deep River. It includes an interesting account of the Regulator Movement, which was a precursor of the American Revolution, led by some residents of Alamance County, North Carolina. At the end of the book, she includes detailed family histories of some of her ancestors.

While reading the book, I found myself struggling to remember which sides of the fight the “whigs” and “tories” were on. (My American history classes were such a long, long time ago.) For those of you in the same boat, here are the definitions:

  • Whig: supported American independence from Great Britain during the Revolutionary War; later became the Republican Party in opposition to Andrew Jackson and the Democrats.
  • Tory: supported the British Crown against the colonists who sought independence.

The author, Sallie Walker Stockard, made history in 1898 as the first woman to earn a degree from the University of North Carolina. She wasn’t allowed to attend the commencement ceremony with her male peers, and wasn’t included in the class photograph. The University commemorated her achievements 100 years later. The press release about the event makes note of the difficulties she faced as a student, such as not being allowed to enter the library to study or borrow a book. It also says:

Stockard represented the independence of her generation of college women by marrying, having two children and eventually separating from her husband and taking back her maiden name, “a subject of no little controversy,” according to Gladys Hall Coates’ book.

As Stockard stated, “I have supported myself and brought up two children from birth without help. I am under no obligations to any man for the use of his name. . . . Shall I have to be cremated to keep that man’s name off my tombstone? Wooden headed tradition!”

I found this book by coincidence while researching a person in our family tree, Henry Jerome Stockard, who turns out to be Sallie Walker Stockard’s first cousin, once removed. Henry Stockard married Mildred Holding, who was Col. William F. Askew’s grand-daughter. Henry and Mildred are buried in the Holding/Askew family plot in Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, NC. Incidentally, the book is dedicated to General Julian Shakespere Carr, also in our family tree – more on him in a future post!

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2012 in Askew, Weekend Reading

 

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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:

Image

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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