Askew Family Papers, 1840-1893

Manuscript Collection #298

Descriptive Summary Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Title: Askew Family Papers
Creator: Askew family
Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
Languages: English
Abstract: Papers (1840-1893) of Zephaniah Askew, a farmer, fisherman, Hertford County, NC surveyor and justice of the peace and his family, consisting of papers, clippings, notebook, invoices, financial records, correspondence, insurance, pamphlets, etc.
Extent: 0.43 Cubic feet, 230 items , consisting of papers (1840-1893), including correspondence, financial records, invoices, newspaper clipping, notebook and miscellaneous published material.

Administrative Information Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Accessions Information

December 19, 1975, 230 items; Papers (1840-1893) of a Bertie County, North Carolina shipping family consisting of correspondence, shipping records, financial papers, and miscellaneous. Loaned by Mrs. T. Collins Cooper, Windsor, North Carolina.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions

Copyright Notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Preferred Citation

Askew Family Papers (#298), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.

Acquisition Information

  • Loaned by Mrs. T. Collins Cooper

Processing Information

  • Processed by B. Frye, August 1976

  • Encoded by Apex Data Services

Biographical / Historical Note Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The bulk of the Askew Papers is correspondence directed to Zephaniah Askew of Harrellsville, Hertford County, North Carolina. Askew was a farmer and fisherman who also served as a county surveyor (1854-1868) and justice of the peace (1860's). His four sons, R. W. Askew (Windsor, North Carolina), C.W., W.F. (Plymouth, North Carolina) and E.S. Askew (Edenton, North Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland) who are responsible for the majority of the correspondence, were involved in agriculture, fishing, manufacturing, and especially shipping.

Description Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The bulk of the early letters (1853-1868) deal primarily with family affairs and agriculture, although there is one interesting letter which discusses the issue of slavery and the Missouri Compromise (1856).

The correspondence from 1868-1885 is concerned with the family's involvement with steamboats and shipping, primarily in the sounds of eastern North Carolina. Several particularly interesting letters describe the design for a new steam engine and the construction of the vessel in which is to be placed (1871). There are descriptions of excursions on steamboats, the types of cargo carried (such as guano), the routes taken and the important granting of mail contracts. Of a related nature is a broadside (1874) for an excursion on the steamboat Bertie to Murfreesboro to visit Wesleyan Female College. References to fishing are frequent, as are requests for Zephaniah's services as surveyor. Much family news is included as well as references to the practice of boarding young boys so that they could attend school or work. Note is taken of an epidemic of smallpox in Windsor (1872) and several robberies which occurred in Plymouth (1873). Mention is made of the 1876 Centennial celebration in Philadelphia.

The letters from 1885-1893 record Zephaniah Askew's move to Windsor. The majority of the correspondence deals with financial transactions over his Harrellsville property; agriculture, timber, and the renting or sale of land. Of particular interest is a cryptic message from New York City, which includes a "Pass Word" and sign for the recipient.

Other interesting correspondence concerns Henry Askew Mowbray's (Iredell County, North Carolina) request (1877) for genealogical information, which includes his own family history; and a letter from Dr. S.S. Fitch and Son, Broadway, New York which offers Zephaniah Askew a medical diagnosis by mail and includes a check list of symptoms.

The financial papers include account books, records of prices of farm goods, and papers delineating the boundaries of several farms.

Miscellaneous materials include E.S. Askew's diary and account book which records the words to two ballads, his own personal dictionary, and a "language of flowers" : a list of the policyholders in the Widows and Orphans Benefit Life Insurance Company of New York containing addresses and occupations of stockholders; several North Carolina almanacs; the General Orders of the Headquarters of the Second Military District, Charleston, South Carolina which concerns the ratification of the North Carolina constitution (May 12, 1868); an announcement by Henry Riddick of the opening of a school in Harrellsville (1872); and a pamphlet Ann of the Ku Klux Klan by Tom Henderson.

Subject Headings Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

Card Catalog Entries Click here to collapse or expand the contents in this section of the finding aid

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the Reading Room's card catalog. This system is no longer maintained, but it is left in place to help on-site researchers locate particular topics in the collection.

Geographic Entries :

  • North Carolina, Bertie County
  • North Carolina, Hertford County

Autograph Entry :

  • Barnes, David A. (2) 1885

Subject Entries :

  • AGRICULTURE— Publications
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Ships and Shipping
  • BUSINESS AND COMMERCE— Ships and Shipping
  • CRIME AND PUNISHMENT— Robbery— 1873
  • EDUCATION— WOMEN— Murfreesboro, N.C.
  • HEALTH AND MEDICINE— Diseases— Smallpox
  • HEALTH AND MEDICINE— Physicians (General Practice)
  • INSURANCE— Insurance Companies
  • INVENTIONS— Steam Engine
  • MUSIC— Ballads
  • N.C.— CONSTITUTION— 1868
  • POLITICS— Democratic Party— 1856
  • PUBLICATIONS— Periodicals
  • RECONSTRUCTION— Politics and Government
  • SLAVERY— Politics and Government
  • SOCIAL LIFE AND CUSTOMS— Celebrations— Centennial Celebrations, etc.
  • SURVEYING— Hertford Co., N.C.
  • TRANSPORTATION— Steamboats

Date Entries :

  • 1854-1859
  • 1859-1869
  • 1869-1879
  • 1879-1889
  • 1889-1893

Pamphlet Entry :

Author Entry
  • Henderson, Tom
    • Ann of the Ku Klux Klan 

Genealogy Entry :


Images below are listed alphabetically by subject. This list reflects only those portions of the collection for which negatives have been prepared.

TRANSPORTATION— Ships and Shipping— Steamer BERTIE
Description: Wesleyan Female College day trip
Location: Plymouth, NC
Date: 1874
Call Number: p-298/305

Online access to this finding aid is supported with funds created through the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). These funds come through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services which is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources. This grant is part of the North Carolina ECHO, Exploring Cultural Heritage Online, Digitization Grant Program.

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Special Collections Department, J.Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University. The materials described here are physically available in our reading room. None of the original documents in this collection are digitally available online at this time.
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