Josiah Askew, Jr., my paternal 3rd great-grandfather. I feel something whenever I look at this photograph. If I were asked to describe the feeling, I couldn’t do it. There is a disconnect, but also a strong sense of curiosity attached to this indescribable feeling.
He was born in Pitt, North Carolina on July 14, 1776 to Josiah Askew, Sr., and Priscilla (Lee) Askew. On April 14, 1803, he married Nancy Jernigan. Together, they had 11 children. Josiah, Jr., also fathered three children with an enslaved mistress named Lida. Lida was my paternal 3rd great-grandmother.
Josiah Askew, Jr. died on May 21, 1844 in Henry County, Georgia. He did not leave a will.
It was a DNA test, census records, slave schedules, and stories passed among family members that helped me connect the dots.
What kind of person was he? Did he love Lida? Did Lida love him? Was he a kind ‘master,’ or was he a tyrant? Did he acknowledge the children that he had with Lida, or were they treated as property?
I know these questions will continue to linger unanswered.