If you’ve ever eaten fast-food fried chicken, you’ve probably heard of at least one case of a man who goes by the title “Colonel” despite not having served in a military branch that bestows that rank. (And we’re not talking about stolen valor, but a genuinely bestowed title—just not bestowed by the military.) Harland David Sanders was formally given the honorary title “Colonel Sanders” by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. His title is a legitimate example of the more than two century old tradition known as the Kentucky Colonel.
So when and why was Col. Joseph Askew given the title “Colonel?” I’ve never found evidence of Joseph ever having served in the military in either his native England or his adopted county of the United States. Of course, absence of evidence does not indicate conclusive evidence of absence, but it is still a strong indication that his title of “colonel” has a non-military explanation.
In talking with staff at Scottish Water (the folks who rescued these rare photos from the dumpster), I learned that Joseph Askew is the only worker they know of from the early days of the project who has descendants that know about his involvement with that project. And with the 160th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s dedication of the project coming up this October 16th, the folks at Scottish Water are excited about this newly found connection to Joseph Askew and want to write and/or publish a story about the Joseph Askew connection to the Glasgow Water Works.
Today’s post was inspired by my second cousin once removed, David Richard Askew. We’re both descendants of Wilfred L. Askew and his first wife Hattie S. (Eddy) Askew. He reached out last week to let me know how much he appreciates the work I share on this blog, especially with respect to our shared ancestors. We talked for nearly three hours about all things Askew, and he gave me several new leads (in the form of inherited family stories that I hadn’t heard), and made me realize that I’ve only scratched the surface of Joseph and Jane Askew’s story.
In today’s post, I’ll do a bit more scratching to see if I can reveal more information about Joseph and Jane and their family in the two decades prior to their migration to the United States.
I found another few interesting tidbits about my third-great-grandfather and everyone’s favorite Minnesota Askew family patriarch, Joseph Askew (1840–1911). I was scouring a new Wadena newspaper title I ran across recently, and I discovered that Joseph Askew owned two additional parcels of land I hadn’t previously known about. Each of the two parcels was 40 acres, so this was a total of 80 additional acres of land.
Below I present a portion of a supplement included in the Thursday, July 24th, 1884, edition of The Northern Pacific Farmer, a short-lived paper that was published in Wadena, Minnesota, between 1878 and 1885. The supplement was entitled “Delinquent Tax List.” Uh oh. Continue reading →
Today’s post highlights a photo that my second cousin once removed Ruth Rogers recently scanned last fall from the collection of family photos she received from her mother Ruth (Manfred and Hope Askew’s daughter).
Col. Joseph Askew was the first distant ancestor I researched as a boy, and I’m always delighted when I find a new photo of him. Until this photo, I knew of only eight different photos of the Colonel (dozens and dozens of prints and illustrations derived from these, but only eight distinct photos). Today’s photo is number nine.
This is definitely the latest photo taken of Joseph and his wife Jane—he’s clearly much aged beyond the photos I have of him from 1909 and 1910. Since he died on September 21, 1911, I’d estimate that this photo was taken in the year of his death—1911. Given the outdoor setting and the warm weather clothes being worn, especially by the children, I’d guess that this dates to either summer or early fall, 1911. It may well be the last photo taken of Joseph before he died.
I came across this tidbit while exploring yet another database of historical newspapers (Elephind for those who are interested). In the morning edition of The Saint Paul Daily Globe for Monday, October 27, 1890, the candidates for the state legislature were named. The candidates represented a total of four political parties (with the exception of three candidates running as independent):
Joseph Askew was listed as the Alliance candidate for representative of the 53rd State District of Minnesota. He was running against W. R. Baumbach of the Republican party and T. R. Foley of the Democratic party.
It’s been a long and tiring week, and so when I finally had a chance to sit down and write this morning, I found myself staring uninspired at a blank page. Seeking inspiration, I looked for databases I haven’t yet explored. The university at which I work has a great library that I can access online, and after I bit of poking I discovered a database of 19th Century British newspapers (called, for those of you who are curious, 19th Century British Library Newspapers).
I know little about the lives of my 3rd-great-grandfather Joseph Askew and his family before they migrated to Minnesota in 1875, so I set out to see if I could add learn anything at all about Joseph Askew’s time in England. I was successful, and I’d like to share one of the first items I found, about a train crash just outside Whitehaven, Cumberland.
The Commercial Hotel (on the National Register of Historic Places, now repurposed as the Commercial Apartments), is a three-story Queen Anne Style, late Victorian brick building on South Jefferson St. in Wadena, Minnesota, that served as an anchor for the Askew family, especially the women of the Askew family, for decades. I’m still trying to understand this aspect of the Askew family, so this post will serve as a place to gather my notes and sources about the Askews at the Commercial Hotel. I have a lot to learn about this subject, so please do leave comments if you can further illuminate the subject.
In the Spring of 1901, Joseph Askew and his wife Jane leased a three-story brick hotel called the Wadena Hotel. They soon renamed the hotel the Commercial Hotel, as their target customers were travelling salesmen who came by train and needed a place to eat, sleep, and display their goods. After a time, Joseph purchased the Hotel for an estimated $10,000 (the equivalent of about $275,000 in today’s dollars).
For 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. Continue reading →