A Second Look: Lish Askew and the Mysterious Mary

When you go digging, sometimes you can unearth the unexpected.  I was NOT expecting this find.

I’ve decided to not only take a second look at George Askew, but everyone that I have in my family tree so far.  I know it is going to be a long process.  However, researching history has no finish line.  There will always be a new discovery as new information becomes available.  When I leave this Earth, I’m sure someone out there will pick up wherever I leave off.

I moved away from re-researching George Askew, and directed my focus to my paternal grandfather, Lish Askew.  I took a second read through my notes to find gaps in his timeline.  There were several.  This prompted me to do a second search of every accessible database online, and that’s where I found it.

In the 1934 U.S. City Directory for Atlanta, Georgia, my grandfather is residing with and married to someone whose name I do not recognize.  Who is Mary?

At first I thought to myself that this couldn’t be the correct Lish Askew.  I had to slap that thought out of my mind because from the Big Bang until now, there has probably only been one person in the entire world named Lish Askew, and that person is/was my grandfather.  That is definitely not a name you see everyday, if ever.  I absolutely had to find out more.  Even if it meant staying up all night, I was determined to find something.  I’d accept just a tidbit as long as it was concrete.

Fortunately, I didn’t lose any sleep because less than 30 minutes later that tidbit made its presence known.

On line 65, Lish Askew (recorded as Elisha) is head of household on the 1930 U.S. Federal Census for Atlanta, Fulton, Georgia, and right below him is his wife, Mary.

A summary of the census record: Lish and Mary Askew reside in a rented home on Eden Avenue in Southeast Atlanta.  There are no children in the home.  The monthly rent is $3.00.  Lish is recorded as a negro male, age 20 (age should be 22; incorrectly documented by the enumerator).  Mary is recorded as a negro female, age 36.  Both Lish and Mary can read and write.  Lish works as a presser at a dry cleaning shop, and Mary is a laundrist [sic].

It’s probable that Mary (born about 1894)  had been married before.  It is recorded on the census report that her first marriage occurred at age 20.  If you do the math, Lish is eliminated as a possibility.  Lish’s age at his first marriage was 18, meaning that he and Mary married after July 1925.  They were still together in 1934 when the city directory was published.  Based on the dates, Lish and Mary were together for at least nine years.

So, who is Mary?  What was her maiden name?  Who was her first husband?  Did she have any children?  Where in Georgia was she born?  Who were her parents?  How did she and Lish meet?  How did they part?  Did she die?  Did they leave each other?

The information on Mary is limited and vague, but I hope one day I am able to answer these questions.