207 Years Ago Today (or Thereabouts)

It is claimed that on September 8, 1806, two-hundred and seven years ago today, Brooks Worthington (1806-1894), my 5th great grandfather, was born in North Carolina, most likely in Greensboro in Guilford County, the son of Joab Worthington (1779-1851) and Martha Jane Matthews (1785-1860). Despite this claim, I have not yet been able to find any proof that he was in fact born on this date. It does appear that he was born in 1806, but I have not found a record showing his specific birth date as of yet.

Worthington Crest

The following is an excerpt about Brooks Worthington’s life from the biography of Brooks’s son-in-law, Alson G. Bodenhamer, published in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis Counties, Missouri (1895):

He [Alson G. Bodenhamer] was married, November 15 1857, to Esther Worthington, who was born September 12 1836 in Davidson County, NC. She was the daughter of Brooks and Hannah (Green) Worthington, also natives of that state where they were farmers. Brooks Worthington was also an expert shoemaker, and after his removal to Indianapolis, Ind. worked at this business for one year. In 1840, however, he came to Missouri choosing Lafayette County as his future home. There the wife and mother died in 1855. Mr. Worthington was again married, the lady on this occasion being Lucy Lanear. He continued to make his home on that farm until the decease of his second companion, when he moved to California, where his daughter was living. On his return from the Golden State, he spent a few years on the old place, and then went to Carroll County, Ark. where he died December 24, 1894, at the age of eighty eight years.

By his first marriage Mr. Worthington became the father of nine children. Charles married Margaret Meadows, and is now living in California. Joab married Eliza Alkire, and is now deceased but his wife makes her home in Indian Territory. John never married, and died during the late war. Elizabeth is now Mrs. Johnson Mulky, and lives in California. Mrs Bodenhamer was the next born. Jacob chose for his wife Elmira Couch, and they make their home on a farm in Boone County, Ark. David is single, and is a resident of the Golden State. Ellen married James Fulkerson, and both are deceased; and Catherine died when six years old.

Source for Brooks Worthington’s reported birth date: “Worthington Family of England, Maryland, Virginia and Randolph Co NC Notes” (2011) by Donald Gradeless; and The Worthington Family History Society.

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80 Years Ago Today

On July 18, 1933, eighty years ago today, Harry Carl Hamilton (1891-1960) and Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006), my maternal great grandparents, were married in Boone Co., Arkansas.

Marriage Record of Harry C. Hamilton and Goldie M. Worthington
Marriage Record of Harry C. Hamilton and Goldie M. Worthington

An interesting item found on the record for their marriage (shown above) is the fact that Harry claimed he was 38 years old, which would have made his birth year 1895, when he was actually 42 years old, being born in 1891. Although the difference in his real and reported ages is not that significant, perhaps a 38 year old marrying a 21 year old sounded a little better to them (or just Harry) than a 42 year old marrying a 21 year old. It is also possible that Harry made the change in order to prevent people from his past tracking him down, something he wanted to avoid by all oral accounts.

Following their marriage Harry and Goldie lived in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas, where they had the first two of their seven children. In about 1941, Harry relocated his family to Oklahoma, where they had their remaining children.

74 Years Ago Today

On June 12, 1939, seventy-four years ago today, Ernest Jacob “Jersey” Worthington (1885-1939), my 2nd great grandfather, died in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas. Following his death, he was buried in Grubb Springs Cemetery in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas.

Headstone of Ernest Jacob Worthington
Headstone of Ernest Jacob Worthington

Ernest was born in 1885 in Boone Co., Arkansas the son of Hannah Happy “Hattie” Worthington (1866-?). Throughout much his childhood he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Jacob Worthington (1839-1920) and Elmina Couch (1846-1921). In 1906, Ernest married Mae Josie Gifford (1885-?), with whom he had three children of which only one survived, Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006). At some point between 1912 and 1920, Ernest and Mae’s marriage ended. In 1921, he married Mattie Blankenship (1903-1944), with whom he had six more children. Throughout his adult life, Ernest was a laborer, working as a painter, a dray truck driver, and a mill worker. It was from his employment at the Jersey Mill that his friends called him “Jersey.”

Fearless Females Challenge: March 25 – Women and Children

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

In general, my female ancestors for whom I know how they interacted with their children did so in more of a loving or supportive way, than as disciplinarians–a role that was usually held by my male ancestors. However, my female ancestors could certainly fill the role of disciplinarian if they had to.

My paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004), was not usually the disciplinarian, but certainly did not look the other way when her children (or grandchildren) did or said something she did not approve of. She was more subtle in her disapproval, however. More often than not, she turned to her husband to handle disciplining anyone who required it. From what I understand about her grandmother (my 2nd great grandmother), Anna Margaret (Leishman) Lapham (1875-1951), she was both loving and supportive, but as a deeply religious person whose husband was frequently away working, did not spoil her children by sparing the rod.

Horace & Anna Margaret Lapham Family: (Front Row) Nellie, holding her son James, Anna Margaret, Theodore, and Peggy. (Back Row) Wilbur, Charles, and Orville.
Horace & Anna Margaret Lapham Family: (Front Row) Nellie, holding her son James, Anna Margaret, Theodore, and Peggy. (Back Row) Wilbur, Charles, and Orville.

My maternal great grandmother, Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006) would discipline her children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren if they did something she did not approve of, but she was also loving and supportive as well. I am told that her mother, Julia (Molnar) Balla (1885-1962), could be the typical sweet, loving and supportive mother and grandmother, but could also be a disciplinarian, so much so that her children and grandchildren knew not to act up around her.

Julia (Molnar) Balla with Grandson, Paul.
Julia (Molnar) Balla with Grandson, Paul.

From what I understand about my other maternal great grandmother, Goldia “Goldie” Mae (Worthington) Hamilton (1912-2006), she was almost always loving and supportive, as her husband always filled the role of disciplinarian. The image of Goldie that I have always been left with regarding her relationship with her children (with respect to discipline) was that she was a lot like Jane Darwell‘s role as Ma Joad in the film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, loving and supportive even (perhaps) to a fault.

Harry (far left) & Goldie (far right) Hamilton with Relatives. Goldie is holding a young girl, possibly a niece.
Harry (far left) & Goldie (far right) Hamilton with Relatives. Goldie is holding a young girl, possibly a niece.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 16 – Let’s Do Lunch!

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

For me, this challenge is a difficult one because I think that I would not mind having lunch with each of my female ancestors, if I could. I can only imagine the information and stories that they could share. However, I suppose I could answer this prompt in one of two ways.

First of all, I think I would like to have lunch with my female ancestors that passed away in my lifetime. This would particularly include my paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-), and my great grandmothers, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), Pauline Katherine (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan (1913-1997), Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), Goldia “Goldie” Mae (Worthington) Hamilton (1912-2006), Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006). This luncheon would also include my only 2nd great grandmother that passed away in my lifetime, Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983).

An alternative luncheon would involve my immigrant female ancestors from my Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, and Sebok lines, or the earliest known female I have in those lines if the immigrant ancestor is unknown. This would include Martha Rose (Sheridan) Kiernan (1797-?), Mary (Mann) Lapham (1640-1712), Jennie M. (Lightcap) Heldman (1872-1905), and Roza Mari (Peto) Sebok (1871-1937). It might also include other female immigrant/earliest ancestors, such as Anna Eliza (Backer-Stearns) Tice (1854-1919), Rebecca (Gibson) Stearns (1635-1698), Sarah (Spinney) Davis (1746-?), Mary Ann (Wys) Beeney (ca. 1784-1857), Ann (Forsyth) Leishman (1828-1896), Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), Anna Elizabeth (UNKNOWN) Lightcap (?-?), Alice (Taylor) Worthington (1662-1729), Elizabeth (Grant) Gifford (1615-1683), Eszter (Szabó) Balla (1857-1925), and Julia (Molnar) Balla (1885-1962).

In either set up, I don’t think we would go anywhere in particular. I think it would be at my parent’s home. I would want each of them to prepare their signature dish (the women in my family all love to cook); and we would have a party-type luncheon similar to the Christmas parties my grandmother had when I was a kid. Lots of food and lots of talking. I think that would be the ideal luncheon for me with any of my female ancestors.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 11 – Tragic or Unexpected Death

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 11 — Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

In my ancestry, I have a few female ancestors that died young, though I have far more that lived beyond the age of 65. For example, Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), my 3rd great grandmother, died at age 49; Emoline Pauline (Reynolds) Lapham (1844-1886), my 3rd great grandmother, died at age 42; Kerstin (Nilsdotter) Stålberg (1841-1870), my 4th great grandmother, died at age 29; Eva Flora (McLaughlin-Beeney) Elben (1863-1899), my 3rd great grandmother, died at age 36; and Jennie M. (Lightcap) Heldman (1872-1905), my 2nd great grandmother, died at age 32. However, each of these died from disease, rather than tragic or unexpected circumstances.

In addition to those that died young from disease, I have three cases where a female ancestor died from tragic or unexpected circumstances. The first of these is the death of Elizabeth “Betsy” Ann (Adams) Thornton (1818-1852), my 5th great grandmother. Betsy, her husband, Simeon Toney Thornton (1818-1917), their children, and other members of their family left Missouri for the Oregon Territory along the Oregon Trail. While still traveling on the trail, but after they had arrived in the Oregon Territory (near present day Heppner, Morrow Co., Oregon), Betsy went into labor and died during a difficult delivery on September 9, 1852 at the age of 34.

Betsy (Adams) Thornton
Betsy (Adams) Thornton

Another case is that of the death of Mary Comfort (Knowles) Dunton (ca. 1801-1845), my 4th great grandmother. Mary’s death, which took place on July 20, 1845 in Hancock Co., Illinois, is something of a mystery for me. She died at the age of 44 on the same day as her husband, James Cyrus Dunton (ca. 1800-1845). Presently, I have not been able to uncover the cause of their deaths. However, I have found that this county of Illinois was home at this time to many Mormon settlers (particularly around Nauvoo), who faced continuous persecution. I have read that around the time of Mary’s death, Hancock County was experiencing significant numbers of deaths resulting from disease and/or starvation that resulted from the persecution of Mormons in that county connected to the Mormon Wars. Joseph Smith (1805-1844), founder of the Later Day Saints, had been killed in Carthage, Hancock Co., Illinois by a mob a few months short of a year before Mary and James’s death. plunging the Mormon community into a difficult time. Although I have not been able to find any information that indicates that Mary’s death (or that of her husbands) was in anyway connected to these events, or that they were even Mormons, I do know that their son James Harvey Dunton, was a Mormon, and left the area with the Mormons.

Nauvoo, Hancock Co., Illinois in the 1840s

The third case is that of the death of Mattie (Blankenship-Worthington) Ward (1903-1944). Mattie was the second wife of my 2nd great grandfather, Ernest Jacob Worthington (1885-1939), and the step-mother of my great grandmother Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006). Mattie died on April 10, 1944 in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas after a tornado hit their home. Mattie was thrown from her bed and crushed to death in the wreckage of the home.

Headstone of Mattie (Blankenship-Worthington) Ward
Headstone of Mattie (Blankenship-Worthington) Ward

77 Years Ago Today

On March 10, 1936, seventy-seven years ago today, Sallie T. (Lytle) Gifford (1854-1936), my 3rd great grandmother, died in Boone Co., Arkansas. Following her death, Sallie was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas next to her husband.

William & Sallie Gifford's Headstone
William & Sallie Gifford’s Headstone

Sallie was the widow of William A. B. Gifford (1860-1935), with whom she had three children, one of which was Mae Josie Gifford (1885-?) who married Ernest Jacob Worthington (1885-1939). Sallie was born in Tennessee in 1854. Although her parents are presently unknown, oral family history claims that she was of Cherokee descent. Photographs of her existed at one point in which she is said to have resembled a person of Native American descent. These photographs were lost at some point in the 1970s.

7 Years Ago Today

On February 19, 2006, seven years ago today, Goldia Mae “Goldie” (Worthington) Hamilton (1912-2006), my maternal great grandmother, died in a convalescent home in Bristow, Creek Co., Oklahoma. Goldie died at the age of 93 following many years of suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. Following her death, she was buried next to her husband, Harry Carl Hamilton (1891-1960) in Highland Cemetery in Okemah, Okfuskee Co., Oklahoma.

Goldie Hamilton's Headstone
Goldie Hamilton’s Headstone

Goldie was born in 1912 the daughter of Ernest Jacob Worthington (1885-1939) and Mae Josie Gifford (1885-?). In 1933 she married Harry Carl Hamilton (1891-1960), with whom she had seven children. Goldie’s life was frequently filled with hardships, such as the abandonment of her mother when she was a little girl, living through the Great Depression, the tragic death of her step-mother, losing two of her seven children soon after their birth (one of which was her only daughter), watching one of her sons go to prison, and the death of her husband when she was only forty-eight. Despite these hardships, Goldie always found a reason to smile and laugh. She found tremendous comfort in simple things, particularly her many pets.

Goldie Hamilton
Goldie Hamilton, ca. 1960s

Genealogy Challenge: Ahnentafel Roulette

I have been working on the content I want to put on this blog for each of my branches, including my Ahnentafel. While looking for ways to present an Ahnentafel on WordPress, I came across a post by Genea-Musings called “Saturday Night Gnealogy Fun – Ahnentafel Roulette.” Thinking this looked interesting, I’m going to give it a try.

The following are the guidelines for Ahnentafel Roulette:

  1. How old is your great-grandfather now, or how old would he be if he had lived? Divide this number by 4 and round the number off to a whole number. This is your “roulette number.”
  2. Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ahnentafel (ancestor name list). Who is that person?
  3. Tell us three facts about that person with the “roulette number.”
  4. Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook or Google Plus note or comment, or as a comment on this blog post.
  5. If you do not have a person’s name for your “roulette number” then spin the wheel again – pick a grandparent, a parent, a favorite aunt or cousin, or even your children!

Here is my Ahnentafel Roulette:

  1. Like many people, I know the names of all four of my great grandfathers (six if you count two step-great grandfathers).I presume I just need to pick one of these, so I will select one of my paternal great grandfathers, Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979). Delmar was born in 1908, and if he were still alive, he would be 104. Divided by 4, this gives me a “roulette number” of 26.
  2. The person that is #26 on my ahnentafel is my 2nd Great Grandfather, Ernest Jacob Worthington (1885-1939).
  3. Three facts about Ernest Jacob Worthington are:
    • Besides “E. J.,” Ernest often went by the nickname “Jersey,” which he came to be known by because he worked at a grain mill called Jersey Mill in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas.
    • Ernest was married twice: first to Mae Josie Gifford (1885-?) in 1906 and then Mattie Blankenship (1903-1944) in 1921. Both of his wives are claimed to have had Native American roots on their mother’s side.
    • Ernest had a total of nine children. The first three were from his first marriage, and were Pearl Marie Worthington (1908), Arlyss Worthington (1910), and Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006), my great grandmother. The remaining six were from his second marriage, and were Ruby Lee Worthington (1923-2004), Don Worthington (1925-?), James M. Worthington (1928-2011), William Worthington (LIVING), Ira Ray Worthington (LIVING), and Eulis Wesley Worthington (LIVING).

Looking at this, I cannot help but wonder what ancestor this roulette challenge would highlight for my other great grandfathers.

A Clue to a Family History Mystery: Jacob Worthington’s Civil War Service

In researching my family history on my Mom’s side, I uncovered something that struck me as being a little unusual dealing with the Civil War service of one of my ancestors, Jacob Worthington (1839-1920). Recently, while using Google Books, I uncovered information that offers a significant clue for this family history mystery.

Jacob Worthington’s Headstone

Jacob Worthington (1839-1920), my 4th great grandfather, was born in 1839 in Lexington, Davidson Co., North Carolina, and he died in 1920 in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas. When I was first researching my Worthington branch, I discovered early on the location of Jacob’s burial, in Grubb Springs Cemetery in Harrison. Using the internet, I tracked down a photo of his headstone, and it was a military marker, which was inscribed “Jacob Worthington 19 IND. L.A.” Digging further, I uncovered that this inscription indicated that Jacob served during the Civil War, and that “19 IND. L.A.” stands for “19th Indiana Light Artillery.” Further digging revealed that Jacob had indeed served in the Civil War on the side of the Union; and that he did so in the 19th Independent Battery Indiana Light Artillery, which he was mustered in on August 20, 1862 at Indianapolis, Indiana.

To say the least, this surprised me—and I must admit made me feel relieved to know that one of my ancestors did not fight to keep slavery alive (simplifying the war I know). Still, it was not at all what I would have expected from a young man of about 23 living (I assumed) in Confederate territory (Arkansas). I was always told that Jacob was in Arkansas, and so I was left wondering what could explain this. For years I could not uncover why Jacob was in or went to Indiana. There was no Worthington connection to Indiana as far as I had uncovered or been told.

Page Mentioning Worthington and Indiana Connection

Searching through old books on Google Books has helped uncover many facts about some of my ancestors in the past. Recently, after turning my attention back to my Mom’s branches, I decided to try this search tool for Worthington, and I found something. According to a biography about Alson G. Bodenhamer, who married Jacob’s sister Esther in 1857, published in Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis Counties, Missouri (1895), Jacob and Esther’s father, Brooks Worthington, moved his family to Indianapolis, Indiana after leaving North Carolina and before moving to Missouri in 1840. As it turns out Brooks was a shoemaker in Indianapolis. Based on this new information, it seems highly likely that Jacob was not in Arkansas before the Civil War broke out, but was rather in Indiana or Missouri (he is enumerated on the 1850 U.S. Census in Missouri).

Although I have found no details of Jacob’s experiences during the war, the 19th Indiana Light Artillery saw a great deal of action, being a part of numerous battles, sieges, and campaigns. They were even a part of Sherman’s March to the Sea. Jacob was discharged on June 10, 1865 at Indianapolis, Indiana. Three days later, he married Elmina Couch (1846-1921) in Wayne Co., Indiana. Perhaps she ultimately explains why he was in Indiana, as it seems likely that they knew each other prior to the war—her family was also from North Carolina. By 1866, they were living in Lafayette Co., Missouri, and by 1880 they were in Boone Co., Arkansas.