Mystery man—plea for help with identification

2011-11-22-017This 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.

The man pictured below has resisted my attempts to identify him, so I’d like to share everything I have with you, to see if anyone reading this blog may be able to help me solve this mystery.


The next picture is of the mystery man and Florence Regina (Myott) Askew, the wife of my great-uncle Frank Scott Askew. I believe that they’re standing on the steps of the house of her step-father and my great-grandfather, Clyde Askew. This photo makes it clear that he’s got a relationship with at least some of the Askew branch of my family.


The next picture is of the mystery man and my great-great-aunt, Eva (Scott) Martes. Eva is the sister of my great-grandmother, Gertrude (Scott) Askew. They’re also standing on the steps of what I think is Clyde Askew’s house. This photo suggests that he might have a relationship with at least some of the Scott branch of my family.


The next picture is taken in the same location, but in winter. The mystery man is standing behind two men—my great-uncle Frank Scott Askew (on the viewer’s right), and an unknown boy (on the left). This photo reinforces the link with the Askew family. Perhaps this man is Frank’s father-in-law, Thomas Francis (“Frank”) Myott (1876–1940)?

On back:"They all look prettygood for a Sundaymorning, don't they?"

The next picture is another of the mystery man and my great-great-aunt, Eva (Scott) Martes. Eva is the sister of my great-grandmother, Gertrude (Scott) Askew. They’re standing on the left side of Clyde’s house (the end of the front porch in the previous shots is seen behind the mystery man). This photo reinforces the mystery man’s relationship with the Scott family, and makes it clear that he was a regular visitor to Clyde and Gertrude’s house in Wadena. If this mystery man is, indeed, Thomas Francis (“Frank”) Myott, then why is his wife not with him? Mrs. Myott—Marie Louise (Richard) Myott—outlived Thomas (she died in 1959), so I’d think the two would visit family (or friends) together. Perhaps this isn’t Thomas Myott after all.


The next picture is of the mystery man and my great-grandfather, Clyde Askew. Many of the photos I have of the mystery man were taken at Clyde’s house. Perhaps the mystery man is a relative (or friend) of Clydes?


The next two photos are of the mystery man standing next to my great-grandmother, Gertrude (Scott) Askew, two of her children—Robert Lawson Askew and Beulah Lucille (Askew) Montgomery—and Beulah’s first-born child, Bob Montgomery. Bob wasn’t born until 1943, so this photo makes it clear that the mystery man is not Thomas Myott, who died in 1940.


Robert’s first wife, Helen Nancy (Trimble) Askew Geraldine (Gerry) Faye (Miller) Askew, trades places with him in the next photo:


The above eight photos are all of the photos I have that are definitely of the mystery man. The next photo is of my great-great-grandfather, Frank Scott (Gertrude Scott’s father), and a mystery man that I believe is one of his friends. The mystery man (who might not be the same as the mystery man in the preceding eight photos) is on the viewer’s left in the photo below.

1935 ?

Any help you might be able to give on the identity of the mystery man (and the unknown boy, for that matter) would be greatly appreciated. He was clearly close to Clyde and Gertrude Askew’s extended family, but was he a relative, a relative by marriage, or just a friend of the family?


10 thoughts on “Mystery man—plea for help with identification

  1. I spoke with my parents , John Gordon Askew and Geraldine C. Askew a few weeks ago about the mystery man photos. My father said that the man was likely to be William King. William King was married to Edith Askew, one of Joseph and Jane Askew”s daughters and a sister of Wilfred Askew, my grandfather. William King worked at the Commercial Hotel as an “engineer”. William and Edith King had a son, Robert “Bob”, and a daughter, Florence.

    Bob King was married to Eva Scott for a short time. Eva was Bob King’s first wife. William King and Frank Scott were father- in- laws and Clyde Askew and Bob King were first cousins. William King was one of the people who came to Wadena from England after the Askews settled there who was not related until he married Edith Askew. Clyde Askew worked with heavy equipment and was married to Gertie Scott, Eva’s sister. They were all connected by marriage at one time. I have some notes from when I spoke with my parents that may have some more information about William King that I don’t have with me right now. I wanted to get this to you now since we are traveling and won’t be home until the end of March.

    As is often the case with Askew family history in Minnesota there appears to be a connection to the Commercial Hotel.

  2. Steve, this is great and it makes a lot of sense. William King is just the right age. (BTW, I have a note that he was the man who built the Commercial Hotel, although I’m going to have to figure out what that means.) He died on November 8, 1931, so I’ll have to see if any of the photos of the mystery man post-date that; I think not. I just checked my digital image archive and it looks like I don’t have a single identified photo of William King. I still have a couple of boxes of Eva’s archives that I have yet to fully examine, so I’ll find some time to look through those soon. Let me know if you know of any photos of William King, and have a great rest of your trip!


    • Michael………glad to hear Wm. King is plausible as the mystery man. I’ll check when I get back to Wadena on a photo for Wm. King. I know there is a photo of Edith Askew King with her sisters. My parents didn’t think the man to the left of Frank Scott was Wm. King. Dad thought he was more likely to be connected to the Scott family but could not remember seeing him. Edith was one of the older siblings if not the oldest of the Joseph and Jane Askew children. My dad was born in 1921 so could have seen Wm. King. Edith and Wm. King lived at the Commercial Hotel along with almost all of the Askew daughters of that generation. None the Askew sons lived at the hotel for any length of time after they were married. They were more directly involved in farming, logging and mining. The mining was in Cripple Creek, CO.
      I will get back to you in April. We are in Southern CA and Nevada until then but feel free to call me if you wish.


      • Thanks, Steve. In trying to learn more about William J King last night and this morning, I think I may have also learned the name of Florence’s first husband, who died of a heart attack. I think his name was Roy Douglas Dower, and it appears that Florence married him in Wadena just 9 days before her 21st birthday. They appear to have moved out to Yakima, Washington, where he was a salesman in the Dower Cigar Store, Inc. (owned by his parents, William and Jessie Boyd Dower). Roy Dower died on July 28, 1932, at the age of 1900.

      • Steve,

        It looks like this can’t be William J. King after all. William King died on November 8, 1931. Florence Regina (Myott) Askew (standing with the mystery man in the second photo above) was born on February 3, 1917, so she would have only been 14-15 years old at the time William King died. Frank Scott (posing with the mystery man in the 3rd photo, and holding a cigarette) would have only been 13–14 years old when William King died. But by far the most damning are the two photos near the bottom that have the mystery man and a newborn Bob Montgomery in the same photo. Bob wasn’t born until 1943—12 years after William King died.

        The search continues…..

        • Michael………I will try again with my parents when I get back to Wadena. We didn’t focus on the age relationships, more appearances when we talked. I assume you were speaking of Florence King when you mentioned her marriage to Roy Dower. The Dower family owned a lumber business in Wadena. Florence King’s second husband was Mr.John’s and third husband was Mr. Jingles.

          There is a woman named Odella Myott still living in Wadena who is close to my parents age who was married to an Edward Myott. Edward Myott ran a grocery store for years right behind the Commercial Hotel and I am sure had a lot of contact with the Askew family. I went to grade school with Edward and Odella Myott’s oldest son Thomas. I will try to contact Mrs. Odella Myott to see what she may remember and have for pictures.

          With regard to Wm. King, did your information indicate which hotel he supposedly built, the Commercial or the Arlington in Menaga?


          • Thanks again, Steve. I’m very happy to hear that there are still Myotts in Wadena, and I eagerly look forward what you might learn from Thomas and/or Odella. We shall solve this mystery! I’ll ask my grandmother again next time I see her; I might hit her on a lucid day and get lucky with some childhood memories of him.
            Florence King, indeed. I’ve got very basic details worked out for her first husband (Roy Dower) and for her third husband (D. Keith Gingles), but I’m having a hard time nailing down Jack Johns, as all I have to go on is his name. There were apparently three Jack Johns in the area, broadly speaking, and none with a historical tie to Wadena that I’ve found. I scanned a dozen photos of him from your father’s collection, so I know exactly what he looked like and I know that they were married during the 1950s, but I haven’t yet pinned down their wedding date, his birth or death dates or places, or anything about his family. Do you know if Jack and Florence divorced or if she was left a widow by Jack? I’m assuming the former.
            For William King, my notes simply say “he built the Commercial Hotel.” I believe he [re]built the Commercial Hotel in brick after the original wooden burned, and I think this was all before the Askews got involved with the Commercial. I’ll keep digging through my papers to see if I can find the source of that nugget. I think it may have been in a Pioneer Journal article.

            Take care,


  3. in the 8 th picture down you identified one of the women as helen when in fact it is my mother geraldine f askew… first wife of bob

  4. in the 8th picture you identified Helen Askew when indeed it is Bobs first wife…my mother..Jerry Miller Askew

    • Hi Jackye,

      I’ve corrected that error. Thanks for pointing it out, and sorry it’s taken so long; I’ve now got a little baby daughter to dote on, but I’m hoping to get back to this blog before too long.


Leave a Reply