Saturday, December 29, 2012

Birdie Askew and the Outlaw Home

I had previously posted on my Blog about the Askews as early settlers of North Mississippi.  In my post, Early Mississippi Settlers, I included information and a picture of the Outlaw home built in the 1830’s. 


I recently had an opportunity to visit the Outlaw home again and met the current owner who is currently in the process of restoring the home.  She allowed us to take a tour of the house and pointed out the artifacts that she has acquired for restoring the interior portion of the home.  She has attempted to locate as many of the original artifacts that were originally associated with the home.  She has scoured local antique shops and families, recompiling original artifacts from the home dispersed during an estate sale several decades ago.


Among the artifacts that she has acquired are family photos.  One is a photo of the Outlaw and Harvey Family on the front porch of the home.  Another photo is of an Askew, Birdie Askew, we have no idea who this is … all we have is the name inscribed on the back of the photo, the fact that she is wearing clothing from the late 1800’s or early 1900’s and the name of the Memphis, Tennessee studio on the back of the photo.  This will certainly take some research to figure out exactly who she is, how she fits into the family tree, and her relationship to the Outlaw Home.  Hopefully, another post will develop from this research.


I am very grateful to the current owner for allowing us to take a tour of the home … the interior is very well maintained and she has accomplished much over the past few years.  It was very much like stepping back into the past … to a time that my ancestors lived only a few miles away and probably saw the home very much as I did during the tour.  There is no doubt that they often visited this home of their in-laws and relatives.  It will be interesting to visit the Outlaw Home in North Carolina and see if the design is similar.  Few families can say that their ‘In-Laws’ are ‘Outlaws’ in the same sense that my family can.

Photo of Birdie Askew

Reverse of Birdie Askew Photo 

Outlaw, Harvey Family Photo

Reverse of Outlaw, Harvey Family Photo

Rear Exterior of Outlaw Home

My Father entering the Outlaw Home

Upper Floor Bedroom

Interior Stairwell

Downstairs Parlor 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Battles of Corinth and Davis Bridge Revisited

I recently had the opportunity to return to the Battlefield sites of Corinth and Davis Bridge. It had been almost ten years since I had last visited these sites.  My GGGrandfather had participated in both of these battles while he was a 2LT in the 42nd Alabama … I have previously written of these events in a Blog Post entitled  2LT G.W. Askew, the 42nd Alabama, and the Battle of Corinth and several articles that focused on the 42nd Alabama’s activities during these two battles.

I was very impressed by the improvements that the National Park Service had made … in particular the Civil War Interpretive Center at Corinth.  For more information on these battlefields … visit the National Park service website at:

The Corinth Battlefield Site is part of the Shiloh National Park Site and visiting both sites is absolutely necessary to understand the entire campaign both before and after the battle of Shiloh.  More on my visit to Shiloh in a future post. The two Battlefield sites of Shiloh and Corinth are roughly 20 miles apart.  The Davis Bridge site is a little more out of the way and much more austere; but, some improvements had been made since my last visit.  During this visit I had a little more time to spend and was able to gain a greater appreciation for the events during October, 3-5 1862 and the actions of the 42nd Alabama.

Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center

Monument to the 2nd Texas Moore's Brigade which fought adjacent to the 42nd Alabama during the October 4, 1862 assault on Battery Robinett

Looking up toward the original Battery Robinett ... note the monument and grave markers on the original site

Site of Battery F ... where the 42nd Alabama saw action on October 3, 1862

Memorial near the Davis Bridge Site 

Entrance to the Davis Bridge Site

Actual Davis Bridge Site ... where the 42nd Alabama saw action on October 5, 1862

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Uncle Joe Askew and Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Cavalry Escort

Joseph H. Askew (Known as Uncle Joe) was born on 2 December 1846 in North Carolina.  He first enlisted in the 11th Mississippi Cavalry Regiment (Perrin's Cavalry) during September 1863 and on May 8, 1864 he joined A Troop, 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment which he remained with until the end of the American Civil War when he was paroled in May 1865.  He was only 16 years old when he first enlisted in the Cavalry.  Family folklore had stated that Uncle Joe was a member of Nathan Bedford Forest's escort company and while serving in Forrest's escort he lost a leg late in the war.  Fortunately, we found the following announcement in the “Confederate Veteran”, Volume XIV, p.155, dated April 1906 as an announcement for the sixteenth annual Reunion of the United Confederate Veterans, which confirmed his service as a member of Forrest’s escort.

“The general commanding announces for the New Orleans Reunion as sponsor for the South Miss Josephine Hamilton Nicholls, of New Orleans, and for her maids of honor Miss Mary Sharp Askew of Columbus, Miss., and Miss Sarah Ruth Frazier, of Chattanooga, Tenn.  These young ladies can boast Confederate ancestry equal to any in the South.  Brig. Gen. Francis T. Nicholls, whom the people of Louisiana delight to honor and twice made Governor of the State, attested his loyalty on many a hard-fought field and came out of the Confederate army deprived of one arm and one leg; Brig. Gen. Jacob H. Sharp, grandfather of Miss Askew, won his promotion by gallant conduct on various occasions, being particularly conspicuous at the battle of Franklin, while her father as a member of Forrest’s escort left a leg on one of the last battlefields of the war; Capt. S.J.A. Frazier was in command of a company of the 19th Tennessee, and came home at the close of hostilities with numerous wounds, not to mention his fearful prison experience.”

Confederate Veteran Announcement Referencing Joe Askew
Mary Sharp Askew was the daughter of Joseph H. Askew, younger brother to George Washington Askew, my GGGrandfather.  It is also well known that Forrest’s personal escort was frequently selected from A Troop, 3rd Tennessee Cavalry Regiment.  Searching Joe Askew’s service records, I found that Joseph H. Askew was a Prisoner of War in May 1865. This must be when he lost his leg during the last months of the war.  The record states the following, “Roll of POW record … of detached, detailed men, a men unavoidingly left off of surrendered by LTG R. Taylor to MG Canby May 1865 … dated Columbus, MS May 19, 1865.”

Joe Askew Service Record

Original Parole Record for Joe Askew
After the Civil War, Joseph was a member of the Mississippi State Legislature and served as a Railroad Commissioner.  He served as a State Legislature for Oktibbeha County, Mississippi in the years 1886 and 1888. He married Willie Sharp, the daughter of Gen. Jacob H. Sharp (Also mentioned in the Confederate Veteran Announcement).  Willie Sharp was from Columbus, Mississippi.  Joseph died in 1895 and is buried in the Askew Family plot at the Friendship Cemetery in Columbus, Mississippi.  His family lived in the Askew Family Home, near Starkville, Mississippi built by his father David Outlaw Askew.  It is believed that the Askew family home was destroyed by fire in the early 1900's.  I have previously written of Joe Askew’s Post War life in a blog post entitled Railroads and Reconstruction.

Headstone for Joe Askew and Willie Sharp
Since Uncle Joe, while only 17 years old, served in Forrest’s Cavalry during the last year of the war, it is very probable that he participated in some of the key battles in North Mississippi.  Recently, I had the opportunity to visit two of those battlefields.

Brice's Crossroads – Undoubtedly, Forrest's greatest victory came on June 10, 1864, when his 3,500-man force clashed with 8,500 men commanded by Union BG Samuel D. Sturgis at the Battle of Brice's Crossroads. Here, his mobility of force and superior tactics led to victory. He swept the Union forces from a large expanse of southwest Tennessee and northern Mississippi. Forrest set up a position for an attack to repulse a pursuing force commanded by Sturgis, who had been sent to impede Forrest from destroying Union supplies and fortifications. When Sturgis's Federal army came upon the crossroad, they collided with Forrest's cavalry. Sturgis ordered his infantry to advance to the front line to counteract the cavalry. The infantry, tired and weary and suffering under the heat, were quickly broken and sent into mass retreat. Forrest sent a full charge after the retreating army and captured 16 artillery pieces, 176 wagons and 1,500 stands of small arms. In all, the maneuver cost Forrest 96 men killed and 396 wounded. The day was worse for Union troops, which suffered 223 killed, 394 wounded and 1,623 men missing. (Wikipedia)

Marker at Battle of Brice's Crossroads

Monument at Battle of Brice's Crossroads

Battle of Tupelo - One month later, Forrest's first major tactical defeat came at the Battle of Tupelo in 1864. Concerned about Union supply lines, MG William T. Sherman sent a force under the command of MG Andrew J. Smith to deal with Forrest. The Union forces drove the Confederates from the field and Forrest was wounded in the foot, but his forces were not wholly destroyed. He continued to oppose Union efforts in the West for the remainder of the war. (Wikipedia)

Monument at the Battle of Tupelo

Marker at the Battle of Tupelo

During the trip we stumbled upon a great little museum commemorating the Battle of Brice’s Crossroads, it was very well organized, great artifact displays, and very informative as to the events of the battle.  For more information … visit the website Brice’s Crossroads Visitor’s Center.   

Brice's Crossroads Visitor's Center

It is highly probable the ‘Uncle Joe’ participated in the later battles at Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville, and Selma. Hopefully we will visit these battlefields in the future.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Visit to Askewville, North Carolina

My father and I had the recent opportunity to visit North Carolina in search of our ancestors aka ‘Chasing Ghosts’.  I had previously mentioned in my Blog Post Early Mississippi Settlers that my GGGGrandfather, David Outlaw Askew, was originally from North Carolina and had moved to Mississippi in 1846.  I also have a Blog Post on my ancestors that were Virginia Colonists entitled Virginia Colonists – Isle of Wight.  In between the Virginia colony and Mississippi Ancestors, roughly three generations of my ancestors lived in North Carolina from about 1730 to 1846, just a little over a century, primarily in Bertie County.  My direct North Carolina ancestors were David Outlaw Askew, John Askew (1778-1829, father of David Outlaw Askew), and David Askew (1740 – 1815, grandfather of David Outlaw Askew). David Askew was actually born in Isle of Wight, Virginia and moved to Bertie County, North Carolina.

David Askew was a Planter who owned 1400 Acres in Bertie County, NC.  In 1768 he purchased 150 Acres from William Outlaw and on February 5, 1794 received another 162 acres in Quiopksan Swamp; also from William Outlaw.   On January 10, 1794, he received 320 acres in Bertie County, North Carolina on the south side of stony creek, adjoining property of Capt. William Outlaw.  He married Millicent (aka Milly) Outlaw daughter of Edward Outlaw.  Milly and David had a large family of eight children.  He received land in North Carolina from George Outlaw Sr. in 1768 and 1804.  David died in 1815. 

His son, John Askew (father of David Outlaw Askew), was also a substantial landowner and prominent citizen in Bertie county. The John Askew will of 1827 and will of his wife, Mary Outlaw Askew in 1835 identify eight children as heirs. He was possibly a member of Capt Henry W. Will's Company in March 1813, during the War of 1812.

David Outlaw Askew, my GGGGrandfather, was born on 31 January 1794 in Duplin, NC (Bertie County).  David Outlaw was a State Senator in the North Carolina State Senate during 1827-28 for Hertford County, NC.  He married Martha Etheridge, daughter of William Etheridge and the family moved to Mississippi in approximately 1846. 

We have done some extensive search of records; but, I had not had the opportunity to travel to their former location in North Carolina … I finally had the opportunity and took it.

Our first stop was Edenton, NC which is on the banks of the Albemarle Bay.  The first permanent settlement in North Carolina, Edenton is the ''mothertown'' of the State.  Edenton at once became the focal point of civilization in the Province, the capital of the Colony and the home of the Royal Governors.  Originally incorporated in 1715 as ''The Towne on Queen Anne's Creek,'' and later as ''Ye Towne on Mattercommack Creek'' and, still later as ''The Port of Roanoke,'' the spot was named Edenton in 1722 in honor of Governor Charles Eden. It served as the capital of North Carolina from 1722 to 1743.  It is quite likely that my ancestors visited the town. 
Town of Edenton, NC

Marina at Edenton, NC

The county that my ancestors are from is primarily Bertie County.  The county was formed as Bertie Precinct in 1722 and named for James and Henry Bertie; both Lords Proprietors of the Carolina Colony.  Bertie County is one of the largest counties in North Carolina, spanning 741 square miles.  By 1780, Bertie County had been divided to resemble its current shape.  It is in the northeastern section of the State and is bounded by Albemarle Sound, Chowan River, and Washington, Martin, Halifax, Northampton and Hertford Counties.  After only seven years as a Proprietary Province (1722-1729), Bertie County became a province of the Crown. The Crown sought to strengthen the colony's dependence on England and placed governors, judges and other officials on salary answering only to the Crown and not the electorate. North Carolina settlers had become used to the "off-hand" manner of the Proprietors and resented this "control". Bertie County's county seat is Windsor, which was established in 1766 and was made county seat in 1774.  The County includes the eight incorporated townships of Askewville, Aulander, Colerain, Kelford, Lewiston-Woodville, Powellsville, Roxobel and Windsor.   Bertie County is comprised of fertile uplands and lowlands, with some large swamps called pocosins, making Bertie County ideal for agriculture. In addition, the timber industry is key to the area. Livestock and the growing poultry industry, which focuses on broiler production, are major contributors to Bertie County's agriculture base. 

Township Map of Bertie County

Our next stop was Askewville, North Carolina.  Obviously, my ancestors are from this area.  It is certainly not a very large town, as of the census of 2000, there were 180 people, 75 households, and 60 families residing in the town. We were not able to find much on the history of Askewville; but, this will certainly make a great research project for a future Blog Post.

At Askewville

My goal was to locate the grave site of my GGGGGrandfather, John Askew, father of David Outlaw Askew.  Unfortunately, we did not find it; however, with a little help from my brother, we did find the grave of John O. Askew (1813 – 1878), the nephew of my GGGGGrandfather John Askew and First Cousin to David Outlaw Askew.  He was in an Askew Family Cemetery that is well maintained and near the site of Pitts Landing, North Carolina, not very far from Askewville.

Askew Family Cemetery 

Grave Site of John O. Askew

I will plan on another trip in the future after a little more research … at least now I have a better idea of the lay of the land and the best route to Askewville.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Frontier Culture Museum

My Father and I made a recent trip to North Carolina ‘chasing ghosts’ in search of our direct ancestors … more on what we found will be in a future post. On our way back to DC, while traveling I-81N near Staunton, Virginia … we stumbled upon the Frontier Culture Museum.  What a great place where history has been so well preserved.  These few acres of real estate capture the essence of our Colonial culture, as well as, the blended European, Native American, and African cultures that make-up our modern American culture.  It only took a few hours to discover and visit vastly dispersed geographical locations all while traversing several centuries.     

The Frontier Culture Museum website provides all the additional information you need and captures its core purpose as follows:

The Frontier Culture Museum tells the story of the thousands of people who migrated to colonial America, and of the life they created here for themselves and their descendants  These first pioneers came to America during the 1600s and 1700s from communities in the hinterlands of England, Germany, Ireland, and West Africa. Many were farmers and rural craftsmen set in motion by changing conditions in their homelands, and drawn to the American colonies by opportunities for a better life. Others came as unwilling captives to work on farms and plantations. Regardless of how they arrived, all became Americans, and all contributed to the success of the colonies, and of the United States.

To tell the story of these early immigrants and their American descendants  the Museum has moved or reproduced examples of traditional rural buildings from England, Germany, Ireland, West Africa, and America. The Museum engages the public at these exhibits with a combination of interpretive signage and living history demonstrations. The outdoor exhibits are located in two separate areas: the Old World and America. The Old World exhibits show rural life and culture in four homelands of early migrants to the American colonies. The American exhibits show the life these colonists and their descendants created in the colonial backcountry, how this life changed over more than a century, and how life in the United States today is shaped by its frontier past.

Old English Manor ... could very well represent the housing of my English Ancestors

Irish Farm

Blacksmith's Shop
Native American Home

Early Settler's Cabin

1820's Virginia Home

Period Actress

1850's Virginia Home

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Askews, Quakers, and Colonization

I have recently discovered that my ancestors were involved in the Quaker movement from England to the English colony of Virginia.  This is another discovery that possibly illuminates one of the reasons that my ancestors came to Virginia.

First some background on the Quaker movement … originally known as the Religious Society of Friends.  During the English Civil Wars, George Fox pulled together groups of disparate seekers that formed the Religious Society of Friends in 1647. He targeted "scattered Baptists," disillusioned soldiers, and restless commoners as potential Quakers. Confrontations with the established churches and its leaders was inevitable as the Quakers believed that God could speak to average people, through his risen son, without the need to heed churchmen, pay tithes, or engage in deceitful practices. They found fertile ground in northern England in 1651 and 1652, building a base there from which they moved south, first to London and then beyond. Fox also established a more equal role for women, which served both to isolate the opposition and fuel discontent.  Despite the survival of strong patriarchal elements, Quakers believed in the spiritual equality of women, who were allowed to take a far more active role in the church.

Two acts of English Parliament made it particularly difficult. The first was the Quaker Act of 1662, which made it illegal to refuse to take the Oath of Allegiance to the King and country. The second act was the Conventicle Act of 1664, which reaffirmed that holding secret meetings by people who did not pledge allegiance to the country was a crime.

An early leader of the movement was George Fox’s wife, Margaret Askew Fell Fox, also known as the ‘Mother of Quakerism’.   She was born Margaret Askew in Dalton-in-Furness, a small town in the north of England, where the Askew family originated. She had married Thomas Fell in 1632, and became the lady of Swarthmore Hall. Thomas Fell had served as a Justice of the Peace for Lancashire County, England and in 1645 was a member of Parliament. He died in 1658 leaving Margaret Askew a widow.

In late June 1652, George Fox visited Swarthmoor Hall. Margaret stated of George Fox, he 'opened us a book that we had never read in, nor indeed had never heard that it was our duty to read in it (to wit) the Light of Christ in our consciences, our minds never being turned towards it before.' Later, she invited George Fox to preach at their local parish.  Over the next weeks she and many of her household became convinced.  Over the next few years, Swarthmoor Hall became a center of Quaker activity and Margaret served as an unofficial secretary for the new movement.  She wrote many epistles herself, as well as, collected and disbursed funds for those on missions. After her husband's death in 1658, she retained control of Swarthmore Hall, which remained a meeting place for Quakers and haven from persecution, even though it was sometimes, in the 1660s, raided by government forces.

In 1664 Margaret Fell was arrested for failing to take an oath and for allowing Quaker meetings to be held in her home. She defended herself by saying that "as long as the Lord blessed her with a home, she would worship him in it". She was sentenced to life imprisonment and forfeiture of her property. She remained in prison until 1668, during which time she wrote religious pamphlets and epistles. Perhaps her most famous work is "Women's Speaking Justified", a scripture-based argument for women's ministry, and one of the major texts on women's religious leadership in the 17th century. Margaret bases her argument for equality of the sexes on the basic premises of Quakerism that is spiritual equality. Her belief was that God created all human beings; therefore both men and women were capable of not only possessing the ‘Inner Light’ but also the ability to be a prophet.

After her release from prison she married George Fox in 1669. On returning to Lancashire after her marriage, she was again imprisoned for about a year in Lancaster for breaking the Conventicle Act. Shortly after her release, George Fox departed on a religious mission to America, and he too was imprisoned again on his return in 1673. Margaret again traveled to London to intercede on his behalf, and he was eventually freed in 1675.

Margaret spent most of the rest of her life at Swarthmore Hall. After the death of George Fox in 1691, she continued to take an active part in Quaker affairs.  She died at the age of 88.  One has to think that she was probably inspired by the Protestant Martyr, Anne Askew, possibly a distant ancestor of Margret. 
One also has to believe that she was possibly related to the Askew’s that migrated from England to the Isle of Wight in Colonial Virginia during the mid 17th Century.  Studying Isle of Wight history … I have discovered a strong Quaker connection.  The oldest group of Quakers in Virginia settled in the southeast corner of Virginia (e.g. Norfolk, Isle of Wight Co. etc.) and date to the time of arrival of the earliest Askew’s to the Virginia Colony. This group of Quakers spread from Southeast Virginia into the northeast corner of North Carolina. It is also interesting that the Askew family migrated from Southeast Virginia to Northeast North Carolina. 

George Fox visited Isle of Wight in 1672.  From George Fox’s journal, “On the 5th we set sail for Virginia, and in three day’s came to a place called Nancemond … Next day we had a great meeting there of Friends and others.”  He continues, “Another very good meeting also we had at William Yarrow’s at Pagan Creek which was so large that we were fain to be abroad.”  One of the largest meeting houses of the Quakers in Virginia was located at Pagan Creek in Isle of Wight and located near John Askew’s property.  His journal goes on to mention ‘kinsmen’ attending these meetings … could these ‘kinsmen’ have been Askews?
The Quakers were also persecuted in Virginia.  In 1659 the Virginia General Assembly passed a law against the Quakers, fining 100 lbs. sterling to any ship's master who brought in Quakers and prison terms were imposed on Quakers who refused to leave the colony. This caused church members to flee to a colony to other locations such as the Maryland colony.  

In Virginia, the authorities refused to accept Quaker marriages as legal, and they were fined for fornication. For this reason, there are very few records of the first converts to the church. It was not only until 1688 that the Religious Toleration Act was passed.

Due to these acts many of the Quaker’s that remained in the Virginia colony probably held their religious beliefs in secret … which may be why it is difficult to positively identify these early Virginia Askews as tied to the movement; but, considering their possible connection to Margaret Askew Fell Fox, their timeline of arrival in the Virginia Colony, and their close proximity to the Isle of Wight Quakers, it is possible that my ancestors were tied to the Quaker movement as one of their reasons or means for migrating to Virginia in the mid 17th century.

Margret Askew

Society of Friends' burial ground in Sunbrick, Urswick, England Margaret's resting place

Friday, May 18, 2012

Life in Colonial Virginia

I have written several previous posts on my Colonial Virginia ancestry.  These posts include:

Last Summer my father and I had the opportunity to visit Cluade Moore Colonial Farm located near McLean, Virginia.  The farm is a living history demonstration of a Colonial Virginia family farm set in the year 1771.  Living history interpreters authentically recreate the colonial life and interact with visitors in order to allow them to step back in time to Colonial Virginia.  This visit provided us a glimpse into the life of our 18th century ancestors that settled in Colonial Virginia.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fort Boykin Virginia

My Father at Fort Boykin
While Chasing the Family Ghosts in Virginia, my father and I had the opportunity to visit Fort Boykin, located near Smithfield, Virginia.  Fort Boykin was established around 1623 in order to protect the entrance of the James River from raiding Spaniards.  Fort Boykin provided early warning and protection for the early colonists who had settled along the James River,.  We found the Fort Boykin to be very well preserved and maintained … it was easy to make out the layout of the Fort which was a wooden and dirt structure.  Fort Boykin fronts the James River on the highest point of land in the area, at a point where the navigable channel is close to the shoreline, which would have forced all vessels traveling the river within firing range.   The fort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Virginia Landmarks Register, Virginia Civil War Trails, Captain John Smith’s Trail and the Star-Spangled Banner Geotrail. Fort Boykin was named after Francis Marshall Boykin who was a Virginia state senator, general in the state militia and owner of the property on which the fort was built.  The fort is open daily from 8 a.m. to dusk.  A link to the parks website:

The Fort's Cistern
We chose to visit this historic site due to the fact that it was active when the first Askew colonists came to the area.  While standing at Fort Boykin … it is easy to imagine the passenger and supply ships that passed by on their way to these Virginia colonist settlements.  Fort Boykin was absolutely essential to their survival and existence. 
The Entrance to the Fort ... it goes over the original ramparts