Prelude to the Askew migration

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.

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Who was Paul Gores?

On the Prettyman side of my family, Paul Gore’s name keeps coming up, but I know next to nothing about him. I have no identified photos of him, and I’ve heard only a couple of snippets of stories about his life, so I’m writing this post in the hopes that someone among my Prettyman relatives might be able to identify him and tell me more about him.

The name he went by as an adult was Paul N. Gores, according to my grandfather, William Prettyman (Paul’s nephew), and he was born Paul Nicholas Gores. Paul was born on June 7, 1898, in Wadena, Minnesota, probably the youngest of 6 (or possibly 7) children born to my great-great-grandparents, Judge Fredrick Eugene Gores and Veronika Evertz (also spelled Everts, Ewertz, or Eberts):

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Chester Eddy’s later years

Chester Eddy 1927My 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.

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The Askew women at the Commercial Hotel

2012-11-12-wadena-055The 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).

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The mysterious death of Hattie (Eddy) Askew

Detail of obit headlineThe 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.”
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Joseph Askew: Enemy of Gophers

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.
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Native Americans on the Askew homestead

This is the second of two Thanksgiving-themed posts for today. I’ve transcribed an article from the 1938 Wadena Pioneer Journal that documents interactions between Col. Joseph Askew’s children and the local Native Americans who passed by his homestead while Isabelle (born 1868) and Wilfred (born 1873) were still in their school years (approximately 1875–1886).

Native Americans in that area travelled on the Otter Tail trail—part of the Red River trail system of old ox cart trails and trading routes winding from Winnipeg, Canada, to the Mississippi river at St. Paul, MN—which passed through the old Joseph Askew homestead, just yards from the front door of their house. Joseph Askew’s daughter Isabelle “Belle” Askew (later Belle Spencer) told about her encounters with Native Americans in the article (the Askew-related portions are in blue).

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Joseph Askew threshing wheat

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Today’s post is the first of two Thanksgiving-themed posts. This first post is a harvest-related post, in which my great-great-great-grandfather, Col. Joseph Askew, is seen running a wheat-threshing operation in Minnesota in the late 1800s.

Before I go any further, I’d like to acknowledge the Wadena County Historical Society and their Executive Director and Curator, Rose Bakke. The photo that is the focus of today’s post is one from their Genealogical Research Center collections, and I would not have been able to find it or take a scan of it without the kind and generous help of Ms. Bakke. I spent a full day in their collections, making wonderful discoveries every few minutes, and I left wishing that I had an extra few days to learn even more from their impressive collections. The Wadena County Historical Society’s Museum is an inspirational place, and I’d like to sincerely thank Rose and everyone who’s had a hand in building, curating, indexing, and databasing their collections for keeping Wadena County history alive.

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Clyde Askew, teamster for the lumberjacks

Among the photos I got from my grandmother earlier this month were two images of Clyde Askew and his uncle Samuel Askew at work in the lumber industry. Both images were taken in the winter of 1921, and both images were taken in Cass Lake, Minnesota, a thriving logging town in northern central Minnesota. A century ago, logging in Minnesota—especially in the wintertime—was an undertaking that was strikingly different from logging in more temperate climes. Continue reading

Research update: Washburn road-building project

In an earlier post about a road building project in Washburn, McLean County, North Dakota, I concluded that the photo was not of Clyde Askew, as my grandmother had stated, but of Frank Scott, as Frank is clearly pictured and one of the photos was found in a photo album that most likely had belonged to him.

While doing research for another post, I discovered that members of the Askew family also had connections to the tiny town of Washburn around 1916-1918, and may have participated in this same road building project. Continue reading