Sunday, August 21, 2011

John Askin, An Important Figure In Early Detroit

From The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922...:

... John Askin, one of the most important characters of the time and a man of great influence. He was born in Strabane, near Belfast, Ireland, about 1741, and came to America in 1756 or 1757. He was a volunteer in the British Army at the first attempt to take Ticonderoga and, about this time, fell in with Maj. Robert Rogers... 

Askin's tastes inclined him more to trade than to war, and he afterward formed a trade partnership with Rogers at Albany. When Pontiac was besieging the post of Detroit in 1763 and the garrison and inhabitants were in need of food, Askin, as commissary, accompanied a body of troops with provisions from Albany, eluded the Indians, and succored the village. He was located at Mackinac prior to and during a part of the Revolution and held a position in the British commissary. 

 Fort At Mackinac Island, Michigan

Subsequently he moved to Detroit and engaged extensively in trade and the purchase of real estate. 

Map of Detroit Area Found In The John Askin Papers Held At MSU (online)

He was an officer in the Canadian militia and was only deprived of his command because of old age. He regretted that he was unable to take an active part in the War of 1812. He was an ardent loyalist and not only refused to remain in Detroit after it was surrendered by the British...

Mr. Askin died at his home in Strabane, Canada, in 1818, and was buried at Sandwich.

One of John Askin's account books is held at the New York Public Library:

...between Detroit and Albany, 20 May - 21 July, 1762. Trade locations include Detroit, Niagara, Fort Ontario, Oswego Falls, Fort Brewington, Blockhouse, Fort Stanwix, Little Falls, Schenectady, and Albany. Persons named include Robert Rogers, Cezar Cormick, Alexander Steele, John Keating, Warren Tracy, Dennis Croughan, Thomas Lottridge, Collen Andrews, Isaac Van Valkenburg, and Edward Cole.

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