Joseph Askew turns 60

Detail of Joseph and caneFor today’s post, I’d like to share an item from a period newspaper that reports on Col. Joseph Askew’s 60th birthday celebration, held at the Menahga town hall. I haven’t had the opportunity to see the original of this article yet, but am instead relying on a transcription made by the late Bob Zosel, a local historian for the Wadena area.
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Joseph Askew on Menahga’s progress

Joseph Askew, ca. 1909.jpgA couple of years before he died, Col. Joseph Askew commented on the town he helped found—Menahga. Joseph built the first frame building in Menahga (which was also the town’s first hotel), and one of the first (if not the first) sawmill in town. He was also the town’s first mayor. In short, Menahga was a town in which he had invested so much of his time, money, and effort as a younger man. Despite his investment in the development of the town, Joseph moved to Wadena shortly after 1900. In the summer of 1908, a couple of years before he died, Joseph was asked to discuss how the village had changed over the years.

I haven’t had the opportunity to see the original of this article yet, but am instead relying on a transcription made by Rebecca Komppa, a local history journalist in the Menahga area.
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Clyde Askew’s autograph book

Front coverAmong the items that document our family history is this autograph album that belonged—at least at one time—to Clyde L. Askew (1896–1967). The author(s)/owner(s) of the album are not easy to determine, as entries appear to have been made during at least three different time periods. The first period is probably around the turn of the century, perhaps 1897–1900. At this time, a young child drew in the album.

The second period of the album’s life is comes in 1907, when Clyde gives the book to his aunt Fanny, doing so with an inscription. A possible third period is in 1927, when Ed Young added his name to the album. The fourth period comes decades later (possibly in 1955), after the book had been stored away for some time and then was rediscovered. The (presumed) wife of the finder then writes a letter to Clyde across two of the pages of the book, and another letter across eight additional pages of the book.

In this post, I’ve tried to see what I could learn about the author(s) and the recipient(s) of the notes contained within this wonderful album, but several questions were left unanswered because I don’t have all the facts. I’m hoping that one/some of you will be able to help me with some of these unknowns, so at the end of this post I’ve posed a list of questions that I’m hoping you can help me answer. Continue reading