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