3. EMIGRATION TO OHIO
The Worstell history in the Pittis Genealogy begins with the marriage of Ann Pittis to Hiram Worstell, grandfather of Gaylord. “(Hiram) was the eldest son of Matthew Worstell, whose father was James;...” says the Genealogy. Having little luck identifying the father of Matthew, the question might be asked, “Can Matthew’s mother be identified?” It is generally believed that Matthew Worstell’s mother was Elizabeth Gill, daughter of William Gill. Charles Boetsch, researcher and descendant of Isaac Gill, brother of Elizabeth, has this to say about William Gill:
William Gill was born about 1715 in England (possibly Yorkshire), and died in 1778 or 1779 in New Britain, Bucks, Pennsylvania. The name of his wife is unknown. She died after 1779 in Pennsylvania.
Notes for William Gill:
Little is known about this man, who appears to have been the progenitor of the Gill family of New Britain Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania. It is thought that he may have immigrated to Pennsylvania from Yorkshire, England before 1740, as the ancestors of Isaac Gill (1760-1823) were said to have been English. Soon after 1740, from the little available documentation still in existence, it seems that he fell upon hard times, and was imprisoned for being a debtor, probably from 1741 to 1743. Although it is thought that his children were born in Bucks County, there is no further record of William Gill until the Revolutionary Era, when we find him last in New Britain Township.
Earlier, researchers accumulated references to members of the Gill family, most specifically the will of Elizabeth’s brother, Matthew Gill — dated 1811, recorded 1820 — which named his wife Asenath, maiden name not given. In this will, Matthew mentions two children, Matthew and Esther, of his sister Elizabeth “Wooster”, and each time Elizabeth’s married name is used, it is spelled Wooster as well. Since the 1820 census shows no Woosters, one feels safe reading the earlier “Woosters” as “Worstells.” In addition, the 1790 census records Elizabeth Wooster as head of a household with only one male under age 16. Although her children are unidentified in the census, the age for the male is reasonable for Elizabeth’s son, Matthew. The other child of Elizabeth is Esther/Hester/Hetty Smith, who will be referenced later. This will also named Elizabeth’s nephew as Jonathan Large. If the relative is indeed a nephew, this would imply Elizabeth had a sister.
According to Charles Boetsch’s pre-July 2002 research, William Gill, Senior, had four children, all born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania: (1) William, Jr. was born c.1740 and married Regina Catharina Stahl. (2) Elizabeth Gill, born about 1750, married ______ Worstell c. 1750. (3) Matthew, author of the will, was born about 1755, and married Asenath Church, daughter of Richard Church and Sarah Fell. (4) Isaac, born 1760, possibly married first, ______ Murdoch, second Susanna Barber, and third Agnes ______. No sister married to Mr. Large is listed.
Boetsch’s research includes much interesting information about William Jr. (1). He records that William was wounded on September 14, 1758 in “Grant’s defeat as part of Forbes’ campaign: ‘traveled through the woods with a bullet in his leg, subsisting on grass and nuts, till he reached Penn’s Creek.’” This was a major campaign during the French and Indian War. Pittsburgh, which owes its origin to the strategic value of its site during this war, was the site of the battle referred to. Fort Trent on “The Point” at the confluence of the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers was captured by the French and renamed Fort Duquesne in 1755. George Washington led an unsuccessful campaign to recapture the fort, as did Gen. Braddock. From The Encyclopedia Britannica:
The fort was finally recaptured by the English in 1758, as the result of an elaborate expedition involving about 7000 troops planned by Brigadier-General John Forbes, and prosecuted, with the assistance of Colonel George Washington and Colonel Henry Bouquet, in the face of great difficulties. General Forbes himself was so ill that he had to be carried in a litter throughout the campaign…. Colonel Bouquet, commanding the division at the fort [Ligonier], dispatched Major James Grant at the head of about 850 men to reconnoiter the fort. Grant advanced to a hill ... within about a quarter of a mile of the fort. Here he rashly divided his force, and in a sortie of French and Indians, on the morning of the 14th of September, one of his divisions was surrounded, and a general rout ensued in which about 270 of Grant’s men were killed, about 40 were wounded, and others (including Grant) were taken prisoners.”
On November 24th Forbes’s army advanced to within 15 miles of the fort, whereupon the French set fire to the fort and retreated down the Ohio River. Forbes’s troops erected a stockade immediately.
Later: “26 Sep 1776 – [William Jr.] enlisted in the Northumberland County Associators under Captain John Clarke at Sunbury, Northumberland, Pennsylvania ... commissioned as Second Lieutenant....” Further information indicates that William was a very successful farmer and that he was also a shoemaker.
Matthew Gill (3) was a private in Captain Pugh’s Company of the Bucks County Militia in 1777. In 1780 he was Private, 6th Class, 3rd Company, 3rd Battalion, Bucks County Militia. By tax lists, he was a successful farmer. Personal property itemized in his will dated 20 March 1811 included shoemaking tools and bench.
Isaac Gill (4) served as Private in Captain Henry Darroch’s Company of the Bucks County Militia in 1781 and in 1790 in the Militia under Captain Andrew Laist. He was a shoemaker.
In his search for Gill ancestors, Mr. Boetsch began a search for Worstells. As had other researchers before him, he accumulated several names which seemed to be close family members to Matthew Worstell. However, without a document tying them together, it was only speculation. Then just days after the completion of the first draft of this work, on August 26, 2002, e-mail was received from Charles Boetsch, the Gill researcher. Parts of that message read as follows.
A week ago Friday, I discovered a wonderful document at the Bucks County Historical Society in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, that I thought I should share.... Here transcribed is the item which confirmed my suspicions. It is from a notebook by Charles Murfit, grandson of Sarah Worstell ... dated 1876 or so. Most of the text concerned his non-Worstell ancestry. The below is a little gem from ... page 8.
“Joseph Worstell married an English woman by the name of Gill from Buckingham Township Bucks County Pa. They had five children as named below — Sarah who married William Tomlinson was the mother of Martha who married John Murfit.
Mathew (married Rachael Price and removed to Steubenvill Ohio where he resided for many years and died there.
William (Married Jane Price they also removed to Ohio & afterward removed to the Pennsylvania side of the river above Steubenvill or Virginia side — ‘I Charles Murfit visited the families in the year 1842’
Joseph (Who also Emegrated to Ohio — ‘Ohio being the plac for Emegration in those years’ — & was called the backwoods
Polly (married to John Smith also Emegrated to Ohio
Hetty (who married Dr. Stephen Smith also went to Ohio
Sarah (who married William Tomlinson remained in Bucks County & died at the Homestead at the foot of Jericho, she was interred in the Wrightstown burrying ground — Was born 1770 died Feby. 23d 1841.”
Additional information about some of these people was obtained earlier. According to Eastburn Reeder in the book Early Settlers at Solebury, Stephen and John Smith were sons of Thomas Smith, who was the grandson of William Smith and Mary Croasdale from Yorkshire England. Title to a tract No. 38 “is as follows: The Proprietaries of Penn to Thomas Smith by deed dated July 11th, 1770, for 196 acres, part of the Manor of Highlands….” The Smith family at least, and by marriage the Worstell sisters, are somewhat tenuously connected to property owned by the Proprietaries of Penn. Other early Smiths were tanners.
Witnesses at the William Tomlinson and Sarah Worstell wedding in 1792 included Hester Worstell and Matthew Worstell. It was William’s father, John, who reportedly was hanged as a traitor in 1784. Hetty/Hester Worstell is the Esther Smith named in Matthew Gill’s will.
In the 1800 census for Bucks County, Pennsylvania, Sarah and William Tomlinson have a female over 44 living with them. Since Elizabeth is head of household (possible only for single women) in 1790, it can be assumed that Joseph Sr. is deceased and Elizabeth is living with the Tomlinsons. In the 1810 census, Cecil County, Maryland (the northeast corner of Maryland), Polly, a.k.a. Mary, and John Smith have a female over 44 living with them. As above, this can be assumed to be Elizabeth. In the 1820 and 1830 censuses, John and Mary Smith are living in Hanover Township, Washington County, PA with a female, over 44; surely Elizabeth.
Mr. Murfit does not seem to have listed the siblings in birth order, but placed his ancestor last in the list. He gives Sarah’s birth year as 1770. Matthew was born in 1776 and the 1850 census record for Carroll County, Ohio gives Joseph’s age as 70, i.e., born c. 1780.
Joseph Worstell served as a Private, First Regiment, Ohio Militia, Captain Nicholas Murray, Commanding, for a little over three months commencing August 25, 1812. Part of that time his spot was filled by a substitute because Joseph was ill. He was discharged at Ft. Huron on the shores of Lake Erie.
Joseph Worstell married: (1) Mary Hinds, 1823: (2) Aury (Sary) Long, 1843: (3) Julia Ann Armstrong, 1847. Census records seem to indicate that he had three boys and a girl by Mary, a boy and a girl by Sary, and a girl by Julia. The 1850 census records Joseph was a shoemaker.
Previously known only as unrelated individuals, the above named people proved to be siblings indeed. Birth, marriage, and death dates are available for all these people. Above all, the father of Matthew is now known — Joseph! In a later e-mail Mr. Boetsch details some of previously mentioned records of various Josephs and sums up the feelings of other researchers, “... I feel that it is quite possible that Joseph Worstell left very little information behind.... Still, some smart or lucky person may yet better identify this man. Happy hunting!”
Researcher Shawn Gussett also made a serendipitous discovery while browsing in the New Jersey section of the genealogical division of the Houston Public Library. He stumbled across an old book titled Some Records of Old Hunterdon County 1701 – 1838 by Phyllis B. D’Autrechy. Among the records it contains is “KINGWOOD BAPTIST CHURCH MARRIAGE RECORDS A true Record of those that the Rev’d Garner Hunt has married in Kingwood.” In the year 1799, line 44 of this marriage record reads, “Mr. [Mt.] Wosted and Rachel Price, Jan. 6.” Furthermore, line 80 reads, “Wm. Woster and Nancy Price, June 8.” (Nancy Price was recorded as Nellie Price by Rev. Hunt on another certificate.) It appears brothers Matthew and William married sisters from across the Delaware River who were Baptists. The Quakers would certainly consider this an “outgoing” marriage and the couple dismissed for joining the Baptists. This recent discovery may lead researchers to Baptist records.
Members of the Price family are included in The History of Bucks County. Reese Price was of Welsh ancestry. He and his wife Mary had a daughter, Elizabeth, who married Roger Moon. Land records show Reese had land in Bucks County in 1683. It’s probably his will (witnessed by John Wildman, Joseph Wildman, and John Worstell) that was dated and proved in 1720, the name transcribed as Reese R. Presse, wife Mary Reese. Another Price, Nathaniel, married Sarah (Briggs-Shaw). They emigrated from Rhode Island to Bucks County about 1750. It was their daughter, Elizabeth, who married an Edward Worstell. This Edward does not appear to be in the line of either James or John Worstell. The will of Thomas Ellis of Chester County, Pennsylvania, dated 6/24/1726, lists a sister, Elizabeth Price, and a legacy “To Rees Prices 4 children...” A William Price lived in Chester County in March 23, 1736/37 and a Thomas Price had land in Philadelphia in 1727. Another early Price was David, whose grandfather is supposed to have been John Price who came to Philadelphia from Worcester, England, in 1683. David was born in Maidenhead [Lawrenceville], New Jersey about 1700. (About that same time, there was a James Price who was a landholder in Maidenhead.) David died in 1765, leaving two sons, Nathan and James, and four daughters, Eleanor Stackhouse, Susannah Mahr, Sarah (unmarried) and Rebecca. Rebecca Price married Daniel Price of Kingwood, New Jersey. Nathan married Pleasant Smith, daughter of Timothy Smith of Bucks County, and moved to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, becoming sheriff of that county in 1807. Their family included four sons, John, Smith, James, and David. Their second son, Smith Price, was born in 1748. In 1776, Smith Price married Martha Carver. The History of Bucks County says they had one son, John, and that Martha died 17 years after they were married. The list could be incomplete. Smith and Martha Price appear to be possible parents of Rachel Price who was born in 1777. After the death of Martha, Smith Price married Hannah and they had six children. A later record for June 8, 1800, is for the marriage of William Woster and Nelly Price. Still later, George Worstell of Newtown, Bucks County, married Hulda A. Price, March 22, 1865.
In his history of Buck’s County, Mr. Davis included a copy of an early map of New Hope, Solebury Township, Pennsylvania that shows a piece of property owned by “Martha Worstell.”
Martha is a good Worstell name, but she could not be placed in any particular family and it was a further puzzle because of the rarity of female landowners. Mr. Gussett unraveled the puzzle when he took a land deed sent to him by Mrs. Carter and matched the land description in the deed with the property on the map. Voila! Martha is Matthew. The boundaries of this land are given as follows:
Beginning at a stone on the south side of the York Road, thence extending at right angles with said road to Parry’s Mill pond thence along said pond forty feet to a corner thence parallel with the first mentioned line to the aforesaid road thence along the same forty feet to the place of the beginning.
John Coryell obtained land he called the Ferry Tract. In 1785 he sold this tract to John Beaumont. John Beaumont sold a part of this tract, as described above, to Matthew Worstell, May 30, 1798. Now married, Matthew and Rachel sold this lot for one hundred pounds to Benjamin Parry on March 10, 1799, who no doubt felt it was a valuable addition to the property containing his millpond. The Worstell property included a building suitable for both business and residence. In 1800 and 1801, there is recorded a Matthew who appears as a shoemaker that paid taxes. Kevin Carnes, descendant of Gaylord Worstell’s sister, Mary, in his research has found Matthew Worstell listed in the 1805 Philadelphia directory as a “shoemaker, res. 4 Coates Court.” There is much agreement that the Worstells moved from New Hope to Philadelphia about 30 miles away.
The marriage record of Matthew and Rachel in Kingwood, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and the Prices of Kingwood, Hunterdon County, New Jersey plus the Worstell property in Bucks County Pennsylvania, not a mile from the Delaware River across from Hunterdon County New Jersey, secure a place for the establishment of the Worstell family and their descendants to Gaylord Worstell.
In 1787 The Northwest Territory was formed. In 1800 the Division Act was passed. Indiana Territory was formed from the western half of the Territory and Chillicothe was designated the capitol of the eastern half, which was still called Northwest Territory. The United States Land Office was opened in 1800 at Steubenville, Jefferson County, Ohio. Steubenville was platted as a town in 1797, immediately after the creation of Jefferson County. It is located on the west bank of the Ohio River, the boundary between Ohio and the northern panhandle of West Virginia (Virginia), and about 40 miles west of Pittsburgh. It was built on the site of Fort Steuben, which was built in 1787 and named in honor of Baron Frederick William Augustus Henry Ferdinand von Steuben (his whole royal name). The surrounding countryside is hilly, and the river carved its bed through the hills leaving terraces above its banks. The business and residential portion of the city is built on the second terrace and above, the railroad, and presumably in the early days the boating services, on the lowest. Ohio was accepted for statehood in 1803. This was the same year that the Louisiana Purchase was made. The Ohio River and Mississippi River then became major arteries of transportation of goods to New Orleans. In c.1805, the Worstells moved to Steubenville, Ohio. By the middle of the 1800’s there were many Worstell families living in the east-central area of Ohio, along the Ohio River and into the interior along the Tuscarawas and Licking Rivers, and in the southwest along the Ohio River.
Matthew Worstell was born between 1774 and 1780; his wife, Rachel Price, in 1777-78. The Pittis Genealogy by Margaret Birney Pittis will be the most quoted reference for information concerning the Worstells. It tells us that they moved west from Philadelphia to Steubenville, Ohio, in 1805. In Frank McGuire’s letter of Jan. 27, 1972, he refers to The Pittis Genealogy and further states that the Worstells made stops near Pittsburgh before moving to Steubenville. Obviously they moved from New Hope to Philadelphia prior to the arrival of their first child, Asenath, who was born in 1802 followed by Hiram in 1804; both are said to have been born in Philadelphia. Asenath married Nathan Hagen in 1822. Among their children were George Worstell Hagen and his sister Margaretta F., who will be referenced later.
The Matthew Worstells belonged to the Whig political party and their religion has been said to be Quaker. In 1810 they became one of the founders of the Methodist Society that met in private homes under the leadership of William Lamden. If there is a possibility that Rachel was a Baptist, this may have been a suitable compromise for them. Matthew became a charter member and senior deacon of Masonic Lodge #45 in 1817.
Matthew was possibly a shoemaker in Pennsylvania as this was a major family business for some Worstells and Gills as we have seen. In Steubenville, he went into the mercantile and milling business. In January, 1808, the Western Herald reported a letter for Matthew Worstell at the post office. The Worstells seem to have speculated in real estate, as they sold as many as 20 pieces of property between 1808 and 1819. Their early sales produced a good profit and they purchased nearly 60 acres in Section 35 and 36, about a mile west of town center. The lots they sold in this section were called the “Worstell outlots.” On March 28, 1815, the Worstells sold lot 12 of the Worstell outlots to Thomas Donaldson for $345. Later mention will be made concerning the Donaldson sale and the sheriff sale. Joseph Worstell, (now identified as brother of Matthew) signed as witness on a transaction in 1815. November 1815, a notice in the paper reads that Matthew wants to buy dried apples and peaches. A few notices gathered by Kevin Carnes from the Western Herald pose some question to the exact location of the family home between 1815 and 1817. Matthew is noted two or three times as carrying on business in New Salem during 1816. In March of 1816 he “asks that all debts to him be payed to Rachael Price, New Salem,” and further states that he has land for sale. This is obviously his wife of whom he speaks. Current county maps show a Salem Township but no community of New Salem. Salem Township is within 20 miles of Steubenville. In November 1817, the paper makes mention of a lot on Fifth Street in Steubenville “adjoining Matthew Worstell.”
Matthew and Rachel added three more children, Martha, Smith Price, and Matthew, to the family by 1813. (These children could possibly have been named after Rachel’s parents, Martha and Smith Price, if those were indeed her parents’ names, which seems likely.) Martha is recorded as being born in 1808, Jefferson County, Ohio. She herself claimed on at least one census record that she was born in Pennsylvania. She apparently did not marry and was still living with her mother, Rachel, when Rachel died. Martha died in 1887.
After the end of the War of 1812, there was a great migration to Ohio from New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and immigrants from Germany and Great Britain. Immigrants often brought with them indentured servants, and newspapers carried advertisements seeking the return of runaways, as did an 1811 advertisement of Joseph Worstell, Matthew’s brother. As mentioned earlier, Joseph was in the Steubenville area to witness land transactions for Matthew. Murfit’s notebook says that brother William also went to Ohio, but later returned to Pennsylvania, west of Pittsburgh, in Washington County, where he witnessed a will and wrote his own. Sisters Polly and Hetty, who married the Smith brothers, also moved to Ohio, but settled slightly to the east in Washington County. These siblings all settled in the very northern part of the county, which is only about 15 to 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.
Smith Price Worstell got married about 1835, and by the time his fourth child, Matthew, was born, 1839 or before, they were further west. By following the Ohio River from Steubenville, past Cincinnati to the Indiana border and a little south, they arrived in Vevay, Switzerland County, Indiana, on the Ohio River. Vevay was founded in the early 1800s by vintners. Despite good conditions, wine making was not profitable, and farmers turned to other crops. The 1850 census lists the following four people living in Vevay: Smith Price, his wife, Hannah, seven-year-old Harriet, and young George Worstell Hagen, Asenath and Nathan Hagen’s son who went to live with Smith Price Worstell. George’s sister, Margaretta, was possibly living with Smith Price also. George’s father, Nathan Hagen, had died of consumption (tuberculosis) by 1835. There is some indication that George and his sister Margaretta took the Worstell name. Smith P. Worstell’s son Matthew got married, served, and was wounded, in the Civil War. Another of their eight children, Smith Price, Jr., also got married and served in the Civil War. Smith Price, Jr., later felt the westward tug. He left his wife and family, went to California, became a deputy sheriff, then worked for a rancher. He never returned to his family in Indiana. He died and is buried in Fresno, California.
By 1818, there were three more children added to the Matthew Worstell family: Sarah, John Price, and Rachel. Apparently Sarah did not marry, as she was living with her mother in 1860. In answer to a 1989 letter written by Ann Jean Cloonan to a Worstell researcher by the name of Joan Carter, Joan wrote, “We certainly are cousins — in fact we are both granddaughters of Gaylord Worstell.” This was quite a surprise since Ann Jean knew every member of Gaylord’s children, either personally or through family conversation. The letter continued, “Before you start thinking you are dreaming — I should explain that there were (incredible as it may seem) two Gaylord Worstells. Actually we’re both descended from Matthew — you by his oldest son Hiram and I go thru his seventh child John — who named his third son Gaylord McFall Worstell.” (Gaylord McFall was born 3 Sep 1849, probably in Milan, Ohio.) John Price Worstell and Robert Wilson ran the Steubenville Western Herald before 1843. Besides Gaylord McFall, John and his first wife, Sarah Skinner, had two other boys, John (NMI) and Frank Weller Worstell. Sarah died before 1855 and John married Abbie Doane. Frank Weller married Mary Kimmey, who had a son by a previous marriage and who took the name of Worstell. A relative would later remark, “He had no right to that name.” At some time, John Price Worstell and family moved to New York City where he and his sons, Frank and Gaylord, are buried. As for Rachel, she died in 1849 of consumption. Some researchers list two more children born to Matthew and Rachel in the 1820s.
In 1819, Matthew was director of Farmer’s and Mercantile Bank of Steubenville. In January 1820, Matthew received a judgment for $2000 against a “non-resident debtor.” Later, August 19, a notice in The Western Herald, tells of a sheriff sale of Matthew Worstell’s interest in lot #42, described as a 20-foot strip from High Street to an alley on the south side of the lot. Purchase information on this lot has not been located. On April 26, 1823, an advertisement appeared in The Western Herald as follows:
M. Worstell respectfully informs the citizens of Steubenville and its vicinity that he has commenced the Shoe and Bootmaking Business at the corner of Market and High Streets, the first door west of the Cotton Manufactory, in the house formerly occupied by Mr. Thomas Hamilton, where from his long experience in the business, he hopes to receive a share of the public patronage.
Market is still a major thoroughfare, but there is no High Street in modern day Steubenville. Possibly the railroad occupies the former location of High Street.
Little information is available on Matthew after this. The U.S. census for 1810 was burned and he does not appear on the 1820 census. Deeds give evidence of his continuing residence in Steubenville, so any number of reasons could be given for this absence. His death is recorded in the August 27, 1839, issue of American Union of Steubenville. In 1846 Rachel Worstell, widow of Matthew Worstell, went to court in order to receive her dower’s right (1/3d) in a piece of property that had been sold at the sheriff’s sale in Matthew’s name. She won the suit, acquired the lot from Seth Clark, then sold it to George McCook. She also sued Thomas Donaldson for a similar amount, i.e., her dower’s right. At this time, evidence is unavailable that Matthew left a will which Rachel did not record or have read at his death. Speculation is that she may not have wanted to contest the will, and/or felt she would lose considerable money to creditors. Few if any records exist for the last twenty years of Mathew’s life. Perhaps he died of tuberculosis. His wife Rachel died in 1865. Their daughters Martha and Sarah were still living with her at the time.