Had the recent opportunity to chase some ghosts of our family history. My great, great, grandfather, George Wahington Askew had joined in with several other local farmers and confederate veterans to establish the Hashuqua Cotton Factory in 1866. My father and I had conducted significant research and located a lengthy article produced by an ancestor of one of the owners, some industrial census records, several newspaper articles, and a possible photo of the factory. We were recently able to visit the site of the old Factory located in Noxubee County, Mississippi. All that remains is the abutments for the dam along the Hashuqua stream, a small portion of the wooden structure of the water gates, and the foot pillers or piers that supported the floor of the factory structure.
A few facts on the factory:
- Operated from 1866 to approximately 1890. Unfortunately the company was forced into foreclosure and the property went back to its creditors.
- The machinery was imported from Liverpool, England through the port of Mobile, Albama. The import tax cost as much as the machinery.
- 1870 Mississippi Manufactoring Census of Noxubee County lists the Capital Stock at $70,000, employed 10 males and 14 females, and produced domestic yarn. By 1880, the factory employed seven males, eight females, and three children.
George W. Askew's initial investment was five thousand dollars, he was the acting secretary and treasurer for the company, and managed the general store on the site. By 1868, the company was at 'low ebb' through several misfortunes which included high water damage to the factory structure, machinery, and the deaths of three of the original owners, leaving only my GGGrandfather and one other. My GGGrandfather is described as "a young man of about 30 years of age, who was a graduate of Chapel Hill College, N.C. He came among us as active secretary and treasurer of the company; being a stockholder of five thousand dollars, he put his shoulder to the wheel right at the start. By this time the company had established a general store, and Askew was in charge of this and put in all his time, accepting such fare and eating at the same table with all the others. He remained at Hashuqua for several years until his health gave way from the effects of malaria." (Historical Notes of Noxubee County Mississippi by John Anderson Tyson)