Sunday, April 25, 2010

Anne Askew – Protestant Martyr

As I have continued exploring our family history … one of the most intriguing personalities that I have stumbled across is Anne Askew. She was born in 1521, the daughter of an English nobleman, Sir William Askew. Unfortunately she was forced into an unhappy marriage to Thomas Kyme at the tender age of fifteen but, remained defiant to all unjust authority. She came of age at a time when the Church of England under King Henry VIII was of the Catholic faith but, the English Protestant Reform movement was gaining popularity. Anne was a well educated and devout Protestant. She would visit homes and conduct study groups based on Protestant beliefs. These study groups were considered illegal at the time. Her beliefs were not condoned by her husband so Anne traveled to London in order to obtain a divorce. While in London, Anne continued her Protestant study groups which were believed to be attended by Katherine Parr, King Henry the VIII’s last wife and Queen of England. Katherine Parr was a known reformist and a threat to the Catholic clergy within the Church of England. The Catholic clergy had declared some Protestant practices and beliefs as heresy. Stephen Gardiner, who served as the Bishop of Winchester, determined to stop the Protestant Reform movement, desired to prove that the Queen had engaged in heretic practices against the crown by having Anne confess to the Katherine Parr’s attendance at her study groups. Anne was arrested and endured several ‘examinations’ by the Church of England clergy to determine ‘heretical’ practices and beliefs. While confined at the Tower of London, Anne was tortured on the rack but, she never confessed even under great duress. She was finally condemned and burned at the stake at Smithfield on July 16, 1546 at the age of 25. Although, I cannot draw a direct lineage to Anne as she did have two children with Thomas Kyme, I am positive she is from the same family, as my family originated from England. Recently, I completed Only Glory Awaits by Leslie S. Nuernberg which does a fantastic job of capturing her mortal life and indomitable spirit. Anne wrote of her beliefs and the tribulations of her trails in Examinations. John Foxe, who was married to Margaret Askew (1614-1702) a descendant of Anne and reformist as well, also wrote of her in his Book of Martyrs. Anne has impressed me as a strong young lady with a deep commitment to her faith. I have also had the opportunity to visit the Tower of London a few years ago and could have possibly walked the same grounds as Anne. I truly believe that Anne was a steadfast force of Faith … and a great representation of how Faith can change unjust societal constraints.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

42nd Alabama at Kennesaw Mountain

Last week I visited the Kennesaw National Battlefield Park.  The 42nd Alabama participated in the attempt to check Sherman's march toward Atlanta.  At the time of the campaign George Washington Askew served as a First Lieutenant in F Company of the 42nd Alabama.  His unit was part of Baker's Brigade, Stewart's Division of Hood's Corps.  Below is 1LT G. W. Askew's payroll receipt for March 1864.

On June 4, 1864, Sherman's army had reached Allatoona and flanked Confederate General Johnston out of his position near New Hope Church. Johnston fell back to Kennesaw Mountain in order to block Sherman’s advance. Hood’s corps was placed on the right flank of Johnston's Army.  The Battle of Kenesaw Mountain occurred on 27 June, when Sherman ordered a general assault against the Confederate positions which ended in failure within a few hours. After the battle, Sherman again chose to maneuver around Johnston's position, crossing the Chattahoochee on 9 July. This manuever forced Johnston to abandon his defense on Kennesaw Mountain and fall back to the city of Atlanta.  Private Lambert, assigned to the same regiment as G.W. Askew, described Sherman’s flanking maneuvers, "We held our line some two weeks or more, as best I remember now, without any further desperate attempts on General Sherman’s part, but he finally started getting around in our rear again, causing us to again fall back to a defensible position, which was Kennesaw mountain, Marietta, and Powder Springs, where we locked horns, more or less, for a number of days; and the same performance was again forced on us. This time we fell back across the Chattahoochee River to Atlanta, but Sherman dropped down the river, and his army crossed on pontoon bridges." (R. A. Lambert, “In the Georgia Campaign” Confederate Veteran, (1930) 38: 21.)

Confederate President Jefferson Davis, displeased with Johnston's performance, replaced him with General Hood on 18 July. Lambert described the affect on the 42nd Alabama soldiers upon hearing the news of Hood replacing Johnston, “The effect of this change . . . can best be compared to a very warm man wearing a suit of thin underclothing and having a very cold, wet blanket thrown over him.”

After visiting the park it is easy to understand why Johnston chose this terrain for his attempt to stop Sherman's advance.  It is clearly the key geographic feature with a commanding view of the approaches to Atlanta.  Sherman was indeed wise to manuever around this formidable obstacle after his initial attempt failed.  Below is a photo of Kennesaw Mountain from the Union position, photo was taken shortly after the Civil War.
The below photos were taken from the Confederate positions atop Kennesaw Mountain during last week's trip.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Hashuqua Cotton Factory

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)