Saturday, February 4, 2012

More Askews in Colonial Virginia

While in Virginia, with my Father, we stopped by the St Peter’s Church in New Kent County Virginia … the third oldest Church in Virginia.  As we looked through the Parish Register (1680-1787) we discovered several other Askews that were present in Colonial Virginia.  These entries were as follows:

Page 53
Sarah Askew departed this Life Jany. ye 16, 1709-10.
Jno Askew Departed this Life ye 25th February, 1719.
Page 54
Alexr. son of Jno Askew Dyed Decemr ye 20th, 1726.
Page 75
Anne ye Dar. of Jno & Anne Askew born Octr 29, baptizd Decr 3d, 1727.
Page 76
Eliz. ye Daur of Jno & Anne Askew born Jany. 13, 1729-30.
We also discovered that the above John Askew had received headrights in New Kent County of 900 acres on June 16, 1671 and 1900 acres on December 15, 1673. (Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants, Compiled by Marion Nell Nugent)  This record places his arrival in the Virginia Colony in the early 1670’s.
A headright is a legal grant of land to settlers. Headrights are most notable for their role in the expansion of the thirteen British colonies in North America; the Virginia Company of London gave headrights to settlers and the Plymouth Company followed suit. The headright system was used in several colonies, including Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Most headrights were for 1 to 100 acres (0.40 km2) of land, and were given to anyone willing to cross the Atlantic Ocean and help populate the colonies. (Wikipedia)
A little history on St Peter’s Church, “St. Peter's Church was established in New Kent County, Virginia, on April 29, 1679. Construction began in 1701 and was complete by 1703.  One of St. Peter's vestrymen, Colonel Daniel Parke Custis, married Martha Dandridge in June 1749. She became a widow after only eight years of marriage. On January 6, 1759, the Rector of St. Peter's, Rev. David Mossom, united Martha Custis and Colonel George Washington in marriage. Debate ensues over the exact location of the marriage; some believe it occurred within the church while others believe it took place a few miles away at the White House Plantation on the Pamunkey River.  Following the American Revolution, the church was abandoned and fell into disrepair. Sometime around 1820, Presbyterians started worshiping at the church. Episcopalian services began again in 1843. Both denominations shared the church, alternating weeks, until 1865.  Being centrally located in New Kent County, the church suffered greatly during the Civil War. Union soldiers stabled their horses in the pews and carved their names in the brick exterior. On October 23, 1869 General Robert E. Lee wrote “St. Peters is the church where General Washington was married and attended in early life. It would be a shame to America if allowed to go to destruction.” His son, General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee oversaw the partial restoration in 1872. After being designated as “The First Church of the First First-Lady” by the Virginia General Assembly in 1960, restoration again began on the church with the assistance of architectural and ecclesiological experts. The renovation required making structural improvements to the church and completely gutting the interior.” (Wikipedia)
We also discovered that the St Peter’s Church registry mentions a Thomas Askew and Joseph Askew. Little else is known of these New Kent County Askews or if they are related to the Isle of Wight Askews or what has become of their decendents.   What we do know is that we have another mystery to solve and more Ghosts to Chase.

St Peter's Church, New Kent County, Virginia during our visit

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