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Legacy Library: John Askin

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Member: JohnAskin

CollectionsYour library (58)


TagsLiterature (16), Dictionaries (6), Essays (5), Religion (5), History (5), Sciences (5), Languages (3), Biography (3), Reference (3), Commerce (2) — see all tags

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About meJohn Askin (1739-1815), fur trader, merchant, and local official in what is now Michigan. Born in Northern Ireland, Askin came to North America in 1758-9 as a merchant charged with supplying the British Army. He settled first at Detroit, then moved to Michilimackinac (now Mackinaw City, MI). Askin married in 1770 and had ten children with his wife (plus three with an unknown woman prior to his marriage).

In 1780 Askin and his family moved back to Detroit, where he held several positions in local government. When control of Detroit was turned over to the United States in 1796, Askin chose to remain a British citizen and served as justice of the peace for the Western District of Upper Canada. In 1802, Askin and his family removed to Sandwich, Ontario, where Askin established an estate known as Strabane and bought up significant amounts of property.

John Askin died at the age of 76 in 1815.

About my libraryAskin's library, one of the first known collections in Michigan, is documented in annual inventories of his estate dated 1776, 1777, 1778, 1779, 1787, and ~1808, plus an 1821 inventory of Askin's estate titled "Inventory of Property Real and Personal Belonging to the Estate of the Late John and Archange Askin, Sandwich." Each of these contains a section headed "Writing Implements, Books, and etc." - these list the books by author and/or short title and an assigned monetary value.

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Askin's library is examined fully in Agnes Haigh Widder, "The John Askin family library: a fur-trading family's books." Michigan Historical Review 33:1 (Spring 2007), pp. 27-57.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Do you know of additional books which should be included here? Please contact Libraries of Early America coordinator Jeremy Dibbell.

GroupsLibraries of Early America


Real nameJohn Askin

LocationMichilimackinac and Detroit, MI

Favorite authorsNot set

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/JohnAskin (profile)
/catalog/JohnAskin (library)

Member sinceDec 19, 2008

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