Contributed by Margarette Stout
BENJAMIN ASKEW – 1747 – 1831
James Henry Askew wrote in Waldo, Arkansas, November 11, 1926:
“My great grandfather Benjamin Askew was born in Jones County, North Carolina in 1747. This is as far back as I have any knowledge of the Askew family, and this was told me by my father. He remembered his grandfather, Benjamin Askew quite well and frequently told me he was a Dutchman. Askew is English, but you can’t tell a man’s nationality by his name. My great grandfather, Benjamin, was a Revolutionary soldier and served part of his service under General Anthony Wayne. He was at one time during his service as a soldier placed as a picket with others on the opposite side of a river from where the American Army was camped, with orders that if the red coats came in sight to fire on them, throw their guns in the river, and swim to the American side. Before they swam to the other side bullets of the enemy were striking the water near them as they swam, but none were killed. On another occasion Benjamin was with American troops who captured a British camp and a good lot of supplies, among which was a good supply of good old Jamacia rum. My great grandfather Benjamin Askew died in Jones County, North Carolina, in 1831. My grand-father, Jo– and my father James Edward Askew and my uncle Benjamin Franklin Askew were at his house when he died, at the age of 84. It is a remarkable fact that B. F. Askew, who could not have been more than six years old at this time knew that his grandfather’s estate would have to be divided and made suggestions. Later B. F. Askew became an outstanding lawyer and Judge in Columbia County, Arkansas.
“Alice Ann (Mrs. Richard) Askew researched to find Benjamin Askew was born in 1747 in Bertie County, North Carolina, the son of John Askew, born ca. 1710 in the Isle of Wight, Virginia, and died in Bertie County, North Carolina, in 1751. John Askew’s wife was Margaret (Boone?). John Askew is thought to be the son of Nicholas and Sarah Oglethrop Askew of Isle of Wight, Virginia.
“Benjamin Askew was born in 1747 in Bertie County, North Carolina because Jones County was not formed until 1778 and Lenoir County in 1791. Benjamin’s father, John Askew, was in Bertie County at the time of Benjamin’s birth in 1747. Deeds and Probate of his estate establish John Askew in Bertie County when John died by May 1751. Benjamin was four years old. We do not know when he went to Jones County, but a first cousin, Thomas Askew, went to Jones County, North Carolina area in 1780 and Benjamin and Thomas were neighbors. In 1783 at age 36, Benjamin was yet in the forces of the Revolution. (For membership in Daughters of the American Revolution Corinne Price and niece Helen Aldridge used the voucher issued Benjamin Askew for Payment for service in the Revolution dated August, 1783.) “His son, John Askew, was born 16 August, 1789. John Askew (1789) was said to be the younger of the seven children so when Benjamin married Susannah, we do not know. The 1790 census of Jones County, Newbern District, North Carolina pp 144 lists Benjamin Asque - 1 male over 16, 4 males under 16, 3 females.
Benjamin was 43 years old and the male over 16. Josiah, Zadoch, Nathan and John were the four males under 16. The three were wife Susannah and daughters of Susannah, Elizabeth and Peggy. One of the children was born after 1790.
“Thomas Asque was listed – 1790 census – male over 16, 2 males under 16 and 7 females. Benjamin and Thomas were evidently neighbors. The next information on Benjamin Askew was his will of 1811, made son John and beloved wife Susannah Askew Executors of his last Will and Testament. He left son John 100 acres of land north of Cabin Branch, son Josiah Askew 100 acres on South side of Cabin Branch where Benjamin lived and 100 acres of North side of Harriies Branch. John and Josiah were told when they took possession of land to each pay Zadich Askew 100 dollars. Benjamin left daughter Susannah Askew one cow and calf, and one two year old heifer, and one feather bed and furniture, and to Elizabeth Hawkins and Pegy Tilmon to have one three-year old heifer each and to my son Nathan, if ever he should come, to have one dollar. Nathan must have taken his part when he left home. Benjamin wrote his will in 1811 when he recorded being weak in body, lived until 1831 so he recovered of a weakening illness. In 1830 census Benjamin was 83 years old. In his household 1 male listed 70-80 years old, 2 female slaves under 10, 1 female slave 30-40 years of age. This showed Benjamin Askew living alone and being taken care of by a slave. James Henry Askew recorded in 1926 that his great grandfather owned slaves as did his grandfather John Askew and his father James Edward Askew. The slaves always had the same kind of housing and living conditions as their masters. The slaves had the same medical care as masters and slaves always were treated in a humane and kindly way.
“Benjamin Askew died in 1831 and with him when he died was son John Askew with sons James Edward and Benjamin Franklin Askew, who must have lived near. After John settled the estate of his father he sold out in North Caroina and moved with his family to Troupe County, Georgia in 1834 and in 1835 to Russell County, Alabama.”