Thursday, January 5, 2012

Virginia Colonists – Isle of Wight

This past Summer I was able to travel with my father to the Isle of Wight County near Smithfield, Virginia.  We spent our time finding former locations of our ancestors and researching records at the Isle of Wight Court House.  This blog will cover the first Askew colonists, our discoveries and places we visited while ‘chasing the family ghosts’ in Virginia. 

The first Askew found is William Askew, who arrived on the ship Prosperous in May 1610.  He is also mentioned in the ‘Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginia” in 1624 which is a listing of the adventurers or stockholders of the Second Charter of the Virginia Company, London, England.  He is listed as age 30 and founded a section of land named Sherley One Hundred in Nancemond which later became Isle of Wight.  No other references to this William Askew could be found.  

Looking at the history of the area, we discovered that tobacco was introduced to the region in 1612 and became the primary cash crop in the Isle of Wight, almost all goods were purchased or priced in comparison to pounds of tobacco.  In 1619 approximately only 1000 colonists were present in Virginia by 1700 the population had greatly expanded to a population of 58,000 making it the most populous colony of the English Colonies in America. (Some Askew Family History by Earl Scott Glover).  The Askews were some of the first colonists to Virginia.  In 1635 the population of Isle of Wight was 520 and by 1658 the population had grown to 2019 colonists. 

An interesting find was discovered in the Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers, 1607-1635, A Biographical Dictionary by Martha W. McCartney.  It lists two similar entries for a John Askew (Ascue) the first states, “On August 19, 1618, the justices of Bridewell Court decided to send John Askew (Ascue), a vagrant from the Bridge Ward, to Virginia.  The second entry states, “On February 27, 1619, it was decided that John Askew (Ascue), one of the youngsters rounded up from the streets of London, would be sent to Virginia.”  Little else was found on this particular John Askew. 

Later, John Askew (different from the John Askew mentioned above), who is believed to be the direct ancestor for our branch of the family, born in England in 1638, arrived at the Virginia colony in 1653.   It is known that he settled in Isle of Wight Virginia and married Bridget Smith in 1662. A search of the records revealed the following: Francis Morrison grants 200 acres to John Askew on April, 5 1662.  John sells 200 acres of land to Nicholas Smith on January 12, 1668 and sells cattle to Nicholas Smith on January 2, 1670.  He sells a gelding to William Bodie in January 1, 1672.  In January 14, 1673 sold land to William Bodie.  John died on August 23, 1683 in Isle of Wight, VA.  It is possible that John may have been related to the William Askew mentioned above.   

John and Bridget Askew had two sons John and Nicholas Askew.  Nicholas being my direct ancestor was born 1665 at Isle of Wight, Virginia.  A search of the records revealed Nicolas to have paid 99,000 lbs of Tobacco thru October 1694 to purchase the plantation of Thomas Oglethorpe, 170 acres, Nicholas resided at the Orglethorpe plantation at the time of the deed.  He lived his entire life in Isle of Wight, married Sarah Ogelthorpe in 1694 and died in 1751. 

Nicholas and Sarah had two sons, Thomas (b.1700 – d.unk) and Aaron Askew (b.1705 – d.1771).  These two brothers were born in Isle of Wight and migrated to North Carolina, more than likely in search of more fertile soil for tobacco crops, they settled in what would later be Bertie County, North Carolina. Thomas was my direct ancestor.    

Historical Map of Isle of Wight County depicting the location of John Askew’s property
Samuel L. Askew Jr. (my father) as close to the location of John Askew’s property as possible based on the above map
At the Old Isle of Wight Courthouse in Smithfield

Current Isle of Wight Courthouse where archived records are maintained
One of the records of John Askew located at the Isle of Wight Courthouse … this record depicts an appraisal of his estate dated August 23, 1683


  1. I love reading your blog because you have included so much information to give the reader a clear understanding. The photos are a plus and I think its great how you, your father and your brother work on these projects together! Keep up the awesome work.

  2. Just starting to trace my Askew ancestry. My family is from Bertie County, NC. Keep hitting dead ends. Plan to read your blog and see if you have found info I can't seem to find. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks for the comments ... feel free to contact me via e-mail if you need any additional information.


  4. My husband, Wayne Askew, is from the lineage of John Askew, brother of Nicholas Askew, the sons of John Askew and Bridgett Smith. We have been reading your blog for a while and are now going to journey to Isle of Wight, Virginia and Bertie County, North Carolina. We'll be visiting the court houses and taking pictures as you did with your "feet on the ground" of our ancestor. Would love to be able to discern the connection of William and at least one of the John Askews. Your article about your DNA testing is very intriguing and is something that we will probably do this winter. Thanks for your blogging and keeping the rest of us informed.

  5. It was a delight to find your blogs and read your journey of discovery! I've managed to trace my lineage back to a John Askew born in 1700/1710 who married Mary Heddon but have come to a standstill going back any further. I was wondering if during your quest you found any information on John, son of John and Bridget Askew you mentioned above?

  6. Thank you for you hard work! I found this blog to be very interesting.

  7. Thank you for you hard work! I found this blog to be very interesting.