I’ve had a theory, or perhaps a “What if…” floating around inside my head for some time now. I find it incredibly odd that after almost 12 years of research, the mother of Josiah Askew II, and wife of Josiah Askew I, is still unknown. Josiah’s paternal ancestors and their wives can be traced all the way back to settling in Jamestown, Virginia and beyond. However, this one woman, who bore him nine children, cannot be found in any documentation.
What if the mother of Josiah Askew I’s children was a woman that was passing as White, or better yet, what if the mother of Josiah Askew I’s children was a slave? I mean, it’s not improbable, and it’s not impossible. After all, I and so many others are living proof of those transgressions. And, let’s not forget that with the help of DNA tests everyday some White people are discovering that they themselves have descended from enslaved Black people.
Unfortunately, this theory leads to more questions. If the children passed for white, would a slave owner be kind/fair enough to raise those children as his own? Would it be regarded as an open secret, or would those in the know have to be either sworn or threatened into secrecy? Or, would the slave owner just fabricate a story of “distant relatives that lost their battles with Diphtheria and Small Pox leaving nine underaged children behind unable to care for themselves. As a Christian (because that was a MUST), the godly thing to do was for me to take them all in.”
If the mother was passing as a White woman, I can see all kinds of reasons, based on the mindset back then, to want to erase any traces of her existence. But then, would he have even kept the children? I wonder..