I wrote my first post on this mystery photo two and a half years ago. Thanks to my grandmother’s memories, as well as a great find made by my second cousin once removed Ruth Rogers in a set of family photos now in her possession, I can now declare the case closed on this mystery.
This mystery photo was actually identified last Fall, but the preparations, anticipation and excitement of becoming a new dad led to me setting this blog aside for several months until just a couple of weeks ago.
This post is about a man who was either part of our family or was close to our family, but I don’t know exactly who he is. I have at least eight photos of him (one additional photo is uncertain), and nothing is written on any of these to help identify him. I’m hoping that someone reading this recognizes this man or has additional photos of him, perhaps even some that may yield clues as to his identify.
My 3rd-great-grandfather Chester William “Chet” Eddy (1846–1928) was the contemporary of my 3rd-great-grandfather Col. Joseph Askew (1840–1911), and the two men had much in common. Both left the familiar regions of their childhoods and decided to settle in Wadena County, Minnesota, to be able to homestead and own their own land. Both were among the earliest settlers of Menahga, MN (Joseph built the first framed building in Menahga, the Arlington Hotel, and Chet built the first sawmill in Menahga), and they were both industrious, hard-working men who worked a variety of jobs over their lifetimes (Joseph: miner, land-clearer, farmer, sawyer, hotel proprietor; Chet: gardener, farmer, sawyer, carpenter, grocer, bicycle mechanic).
The lives of the two men became intertwined when Joseph’s son Wilfred married Chet’s daughter Hattie around 1894, presumably in Menahga, MN—the village that Joseph and Chet helped found, and where Wilfred and Hattie most likely met.
The death of my great-great-grandmother Harriet S. “Hattie” (Eddy) Askew, young wife of Wilfred L. Askew, was a bit of a mystery at the time she died, and it’s been a big mystery to me for years, given that the evidence I had (mainly family stories until recently) was scant and often contradictory. I had reported in previous posts (here and here) that Hattie died of pneumonia while on a trip to Cripple Creek, Colorado, and that she was buried in Cripple Creek. I had also heard that she died on a train while travelling between Cripple Creek and Wadena, Minnesota. More recently, I heard another version, that “Hattie’s death was in childbirth, the baby died too. It was in a snowstorm and they could not get the doctor there in time.” Continue reading →
Clyde Askew, my great-grandfather, was a hard-working man. According to my grandmother, he could do pretty much every kind of work and was always working to support his family of five children. So far, I’ve heard stories and/or found evidence of his work as a machinist, a road-builder, a road maintainer, a hobo-chaser for a railroad, a fireman, a lumberjack, and a teamster for lumberjacks.
Today I found evidence of another job he did—helping install rural electric power lines. I found three photographs among my grandmother’s old photographs that appear to have been taken at the same work site at nearly the same time. There is no information inscribed on the back, so I’ll have to rely on details contained in the photos for hints as to where and when the photo was taken. [Note to relatives: People. Come on. Would it kill you to write some basic info on the backs of some of your photos?] Continue reading →
Another loose photo I found among my grandmother Harriet Prettyman’s old photos. It’s a photo of Clyde Askew, my great-grandfather, and fellow employees at his place of work in the late 1940s or early 1950s. I believe my grandmother said he worked as a machinist at the General Electric plant the utility company (PG&E?) that was just down the street from where they lived in Oakland, CA, at the time.
As with the majority of the family photos I have, this one has no inscription on the back, so I’ll have to rely on details contained in the photo for hints as to where and when the photo was taken. Continue reading →
Among 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 →
For today’s post, I’d like to present a transcription of an amusing article from 1890. I haven’t yet seen the article in its original published form, but when I do, I’ll attach a scan of the article to this post. The late Wadena historian Bob Zosel found this article in the May 22, 1890, issue of the Wadena County Pioneer. He transcribed it and sent the transcription along to my great-great-uncle, Gordy Askew. While visiting Gordy last month, I saw this transcription for the first time and scanned it to add it to the family archives.
What I present below is Bob Zosel’s transcription, plus a few notes of my own. Continue reading →
Just a quick post to share a photo I recently found among old family photos. In this photo, Clyde Lawson Askew, my great-grandfather, is seen standing in front of a Caterpillar road grader that he apparently parked in front of his house. Among his many other jobs (drayer, teamster, laborer, machinist, fireman, railroad brakeman, railroad bouncer, oil station manager), Clyde was also a road builder. Among other projects, he worked on the Washburn project in McLean County, North Dakota, and in Wadena, he had the title of “Maintainer of City Streets.” Continue reading →
As I’m gearing up for my big Wadena, MN, family history trip next week, I’ll be scaling back on my blog posts. I won’t be writing posts of any substantial length until after I return home in a little over two weeks, but I’ll do what I can to post updates from the road.
Speaking of road, today’s post is a thematic one. As I’ve been scanning my family history photo collection, I’ve come across a number of photos of people with their bicycles. I’d like to share them with you. I’ll present them in chronological order, from oldest to most recent. Continue reading →