7. DR . HIRAM WORSTELL FAMILY
Many of the first doctors who lived in Tappan were itinerants — they would practice medicine in one town for a few years and then move on to another.
The Hundred Years of Tappan by Jon Baker
The Pittis family arrived in Harrison County in 1819; Ann was eleven years old. Harrison County, named for President Harrison, was formed from Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties just five years before. Cadiz, its county seat, was later known as “The Proudest Small Town in America” by virtue of a canvass taken in 1938 to determine which small town under 10,000 population could claim the greatest number of famous people as having been its citizens. Brownsville, near Deersville, was where the Pittis family settled and where Ann Pittis was reared.
Ann’s family, John Pittis, the brewer from Newport, Isle of Wight, his wife Mary Dore and their children, kept a tavern for the stagecoach trade and a resort for hunters. Deer, bear, wolves, panthers, catamounts [mountain lion], foxes, raccoons, opossums, polecats (skunks), groundhogs, squirrels, and other wild animals were in abundance, as well as copperheads and rattlesnakes. Brownsville was only two miles from Deersville, which was much more the community center. However, Brownsville did have the tavern, and a schoolhouse, which was the center of a country school district.
Hiram Worstell grew up in Steubenville. His parents were undoubtedly able to provide their family with a good standard of living. Matthew Worstell, Hiram’s father, was director of a bank in 1819 and speculated in real estate, buying and selling several properties over the years. He started his shoe and boot making business in 1824, at a time when the twenty-year-old Hiram might want to get off on his own. Hiram appears in the 1830 census for Cross Creek Township, across the Ohio River and the northern panhandle of West Virginia, in Washington County, Pennsylvania. This is the very location that his aunts and uncles lived, Matthew’s siblings, William, Polly, and Hetty. According to Commemorative Biographical Record Harrison, Ohio in the section devoted to Henry P. Worstell, it is written that “Soon after leaving the common schools Hiram Worstell entered the medical office of Dr. Tappan, at Steubenville, Ohio, with whom he remained until he was licensed as a practitioner, and the practice of medicine became his vocation for the greater part of his life. In politics Mr. Worstell was an ardent and progressive Republican, and always took an active part in the development of that party. He was a liberal and progressive man, and one who was ever numbered among the influential and substantial men of his section.”
There were about a dozen medical schools in existence in the United States at the time, including Columbian College, later known as George Washington University. The History of the School of Medicine, an alumni directory of George Washington University, year unknown, lists the expected requirements for a medical student, and took note of the fact that most doctors of the day did not attend medical school.
The following quotation is taken from the alumni directory. The material that follows the quotation gives some indications of the medical knowledge and treatments available to doctors at the time Hiram would be studying.
In these early days there were no uniform requirements for graduation; the majority of doctors practicing had never been to medical school. The more progressive medical educators had formulated certain standards. These were: an age of at least twenty-one; three years study with a recognized physician; two full lecture courses on the various branches of medicine; and a college education or evidence of suitable classical attainments. The latter consisted of familiarity with Latin, Greek, mathematics, philosophy, geography, and belles lettres [polite literature]. The final requirement wasan oral examination and defense of a suitable thesis.
The five medical doctors on the staff in the Medical Department of Columbian College when it was founded gave their first lectures in a school building erected by the professors themselves. A lecture course lasted three months.
Of the standards set by the “more progressive medical educators,” Hiram was at least twenty-one, and he studied with a recognized physician. It might be supposed that he learned about Dr. Benjamin Rush and his use of bloodletting in the treatment of yellow fever during the epidemic in Philadelphia in 1793. He would have studied about Jenner and the vaccination for smallpox that he discovered in 1796. Hiram may have studied anatomy, but not from Gray’s Anatomy, which Henry Gray did not write until 1858. However, he may have studied from Jones Quain’s Anatomy, which was written in 1828 and was highly respected. Knowledge of experiments done by William Beaumont in 1833 became widespread and was probably of interest to Hiram, as they were to the general public. Beaumont wrote of experiments he conducted on a patient who had received gunshot wounds in the stomach. Descriptions of these experiments may still appear in textbooks today. World Book quotes from Beaumont’s work as follows:
When he lies on the opposite side, I can look directly into the cavity of the stomach, and almost see the process of digestion... I have frequently suspended flesh, raw and wasted, and other substances into the perforation to ascertain the length of time required to digest each.
Diagnoses of diseases and fevers, such as “putrid sore throat” (diphtheria) were made by observing the color of urine. Other diseases could be diagnosed with the aid of the stethoscope, recently invented in 1825. When better glass making methods produced better lenses, the compound microscope became standard equipment. C. A. Spencer made the first American Microscopes in 1838. A wide variety of microscopes were available and a doctor would often carry a small portable one in its own travel case. It was probably not available to Hiram, as laboratory work with a microscope did not appear in the Columbian catalog until 1852.
It’s said that the scientific use of drugs did not come until the last half of the 19th century. Many plant-based drugs, such as quinine and ergot, digitalis (1785) and opium, and compounds of metals, such as mercury and arsenic, were used for centuries and provided material for the study of pharmacology. Aspirin, still a miracle drug, would not be available until 1899. Petroleum products such as kerosene (once used on sore throats), petroleum jelly (Vaseline), and other coal tar products were not available until after 1850, although pitch and oil were used in medicines by the American Indians. Germ theory was yet to come with the work of Lister (1865), Koch (1867), and Pasteur (1876), and of course there were no antibiotics. Even though the anesthetic properties of nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas,” were discovered before 1800, it would not be used as such for a half century. The anesthetic properties of the other “recreational sniffing drug,” ether, were not used during surgery until 1842, when Dr. Crawford Long used it on a patient during an operation. He later used it in 1845, when delivering a baby. A dentist, William Morton, used it for tooth extraction in 1846. Chloroform, discovered in 1831, wasn’t used for anesthesia until 1847. Pathology was a study still unknown. Doctors were taught how to set broken bones, but certainly without an X-ray machine, which would be two generations later.
Hiram Worstell and Ann Pittis were married in Tuscarawas County (New Philadelphia, the county seat), just west of Harrison County, on Dec. 6, 1831. No city was recorded on the marriage certificate signed by Jacob Cozad, minister. Frank McGuire, in his letters, says the Worstells moved from “Steubenville then to Newcomerstown around 1830. From
Newcomerstown back to Uhrichsville and lived at the end of Deersville Ave.” The Pittis Genealogy says Hiram was the first physician in Uhrichsville, Ohio, a town just south of New Philadelphia. The obituary of Henry, one of Hiram’s sons, reads, “... his father, Dr. Hiram Worstell the first doctor of Uhrichsville...” An article in the Times Reporter, New Philadelphia, Ohio, gives some history concerning Tappan and lists some of its distinguished former residents, including “... Hiram Worstell, often referred to as Ohio’s first physician.” The History of Tuscarawas County, 1884, states, “The first physician to New Philadelphia was Christian Espech, Lutheran minister.” It was not unusual for the most educated person in town to be the minister and possibly a health practitioner.
Shortly after a year of marriage, January 1833, the Worstell’s first child, a girl they named Sarah, was stillborn. Before 1900, it was an accepted fact that 20 to 25 percent of babies would die before their first birthday. Maternal mortality during childbirth was almost 10 percent. Recorded birth information seems to indicate that stillbirths most often occur with the first-born child.
Ann’s next older sister, Jane Warrener Pittis, was married to John C. Auld, J.P., son of a carpenter from Ireland. He was only 48 when he died in January of 1834; he is buried in Sharon Cemetery near Deersville. John’s will, made just before he died, was witnessed by Hiram Worstell. That same year, April 14, 1834, Hiram’s son, James William, was born, and their next son, Henry Pittis Worstell, was born two years later, May 11, 1836, near Uhrichsville, Tuscarawas County. Another two years later, May 11, 1838, Thomas Pittis was born near Tippecanoe, Washington Township, Harrison County, about six miles southwest of Deersville. In 1840, the family was in New Philadelphia, about eight miles northwest of Uhrichsville, when Mary Jane was born on Oct. 19. She was only nine months old when she died. Rachel was born April 3, 1842. She was to have been married the day after she died December 17, 1865.
Hiram and family were still living in or near New Philadelphia when the Tuscarawas County Medical Society was organized there on June 10, 1844. He is listed with six other doctors in the county. It was there that John Allen was born September 4, 1844, and died the following spring, May 8, 1845.
Their eighth child was Edward Pittis, born December 2, 1846, and died September 17, 1867.
Ann’s youngest sister, Julia, married John Reynard in 1841, in Deersville. John was born in 1806, in Yorkshire, England. His parents settled in Jefferson County, and when John was a young man he moved to Harrison County. He joined the Feed Spring Church June 20, 1845. Their daughter, Mary Dore Reynard, was born that same year and the attending physician was Hiram Worstell. Two of the Reynard children, Alice and John, settled in Ottawa, Kansas.
By this time the Worstells were living on the farm between Feed Spring and Tappan, which Frank McGuire says had been part of Pittis property that one time extended from Beaver Dam, now part of Tappan Lake, to Clendening Lake. This farm had belonged to Ann’s father, John, and had passed to her brother Thomas, who had prospered in the engraving business in New York. F. McGuire believes Hiram and family were living on the farm for a time “when Hiram decided there should be some legal claim to the property, so he wrote to the Pittis family in Philadelphia and explained the situation. To his surprise they sent him a quit claim deed, gratis, to the farm, as a part of the inheritance of Ann Pittis Worstell.” The family Hiram wrote to was Thomas’ widow and son (this was the engraver Thomas Pittis of New York, not Philadelphia), and it was quitclaim deeded to Ann’s three surviving sons, James, Henry and Thomas. (This might have been in lieu of moneys from the sale of the Iowa land once owned by Edward Pittis and willed to five of his siblings, including Ann Pittis Worstell. The deed only records that the land was sold to “Pittis and Reynard...” So as it tuned out, Hiram had married a “woman with a little bit of property,” advice given to a young man in Tale of Two Cities). Ann also inherited $50 under her father’s will as well as a little under the will of her brother, Edward, from the sale of the lands at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, as mentioned.
Franklin Township Map showing the location of the Hiram farm above the first “N.”
The Worstells attended the Feed Spring Church where Ann became a member in 1850. Our Harrison Heritage, a publication of the Harrison County Chapter of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Vol. XI, No. 4, Winter 1993, carries a story copied from The Cadiz Republican of April 3, 1902. This story, “Feed Spring Interesting History of an Old Wagoner’s Station” is quoted in part in the following paragraphs:
To my recollection the only church that decorated the place was a hewn log building that stood on, or near, the grounds where the Feed Spring Church now stands. The church was well attended by all the citizens of different denominations and a union Sabbath School was conducted there in which was offered a prize for the largest number of verses committed, and if I mistake not, the whole of the new testament was committed to memory by one, if not two persons. A few rods east of the church is a spring of ever running water from which the church and village derived their names.
In early days, Waterford, (now known as Uhrichsville) six miles west of here on the Moravian road, and at the junction of the two Stillwaters, was head quarters for the wheat market of this country. Large quantities of wheat were bought and stored there in warehouses, and when the Tuscarawas river was in suitable condition it was shipped by canal boats to Cleveland by the way of the Erie & Ohio canal. Wheat was the principal product of the country, and farmers hauling their wheat from eastern Ohio to this market always made it a point to feed and water at this place, this being a nice grove of white oak timber which supplied the grounds with plenty of shade in summer and a good wind brake in the winter and many spent the night sleeping in their wagons and sitting around their campfires spinning yarns, and making the forests around vibrate with the echo of their mirth.
It has been said that pioneers as a rule are a rough class of people. This does not hold good with the pioneers of Feed Spring for no sooner had they settled in their cozy log cabins than they began to arrange for the purpose of school and worship, and we have here referred to the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist though nearly equal in numbers but less able financially, had organized societies and held their meetings in school houses and private families. My father’s house, which was a double log cabin with a porch the full length, was frequently chosen for that purpose. The first Methodist sermon I recollect of hearing was in my Father’s old log cabin home by the Rev. Bray when I was a boy. My recollection of him was that he went at it in earnest and preached with great zeal and many hearts were touched and many responses uttered.
About the year 1850 or 51 a revival meeting was held in the old log church. Rev. Bradshaw of Waterford was pastor of the Methodist societies in this country at that time. The meetings grew in interest from the start and people came from miles around to attend the meetings, and many demonstrations of the power of the spirit were evidenced throughout the community, shedding abroad a hallowed influence that was surprising to many. I well remember of three men who attended the meetings from Waterford and put their horses in my father’s stable, and during the excitement walked the six miles home, never thinking of their horses.
Many persons were converted and both churches were greatly strengthened and an effort was put on foot at once to build a church, the site for which was located at the forks of the road, one-half mile west of the aforesaid Presbyterian Church. The old log church was sold at auction the same year, John Glandon being the purchaser, who hauled it one mile west and converted it into a barn, where it performed duty in that capacity until a few years ago when it mysteriously burned to the ground. A more commodious structure took the place of the old church and both churches were erected the same season. The Feed Spring and Mt. Zion Churches stand today as monuments to the moral and religious character of the pioneer settlers of Feed Spring.
We now have a respectable school building situated a few rods west of the Feed Spring church, with one of the most beautiful play grounds in the county. Our school is noted as being one of the most pleasant schools in the county to teach, and when a teacher has taught one term we can always count on him as an applicant providing he does not have some other business in view.
On February first of that same year, 1850, Sarah Jane Worstell was born. On January 29, 1851, after nearly twenty years of child-bearing, Ann would lose yet another child, Sarah Jane, before her first birthday. She was the last of the nine children of Dr. Hiram Worstell, of whom only the three eldest males survived.
One might expect that even though Hiram continued doctoring after moving to the farm, he also did a little farming and that the three boys engaged in the work on the farm as well. Since Tappan did not get a schoolhouse until the early 1850s, the children would have attended the school in Feed Spring that was built about the same time as the church in 1827.
On February 13, 1862, Hiram’s eldest son, James William Worstell, nearly 28 years old and still single, volunteered for service with the 69th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry for a period of three years. His military records give his occupation as farmer, his physical description as age 30 years, eyes blue, hair dark, complexion dark, height 6’ 1/2”. His Company K mustered in March 25, 1862, at Camp Chase, Ohio, with William Cady, 1st. Lieutenant 69th Ohio Volunteer Infantry commanding. James had a rank of “5 Sg’t.” James and the 69th left Atlanta, Georgia, with General Sherman. During the battle at Bentonville, North Carolina, March 19, 1865, James was shot in the mouth. The 69th mustered out July 17, 1865. From the record of battles of the 69th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry, the military records of James Worstell, and historical accounts of the war, the following information of James’ Civil War action has been compiled.
Fort Henry, on the Tennessee River, and Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland River, with Nashville halfway between, held the key to control of Kentucky and western Tennessee. With the support of a fleet of ironclad ships, General Grant captured Fort Henry February 1862, then captured Fort Donelson and 15,000 Confederate troops. Confederate Commander Albert Sidney Johnston pulled back to Corinth, Mississippi, just west of the Tennessee River and the Union controlled half of Tennessee. General Halleck, in command of all western Union forces, ordered Grant down the Tennessee River to Pittsburg Landing, just 30 miles north of Corinth, where he was to meet Gen. Buell. Confederate Generals Johnston and Beauregard decided they had to strike Grant before Buell arrived and the Battle of Shiloh ensued, April 6 – 7. Gen. A. S. Johnston was killed. When Grant got reinforcements from Buell, the Confederates had to retreat to Corinth. Gen. Halleck took command of Grant’s and Buell’s forces and moving on Beauregard, forced him to evacuate Corinth. Gen. Halleck ordered Gen. Buell to capture Chattanooga, but before Buell could advance Confederate Gen. Bragg invaded Kentucky, hoping to draw the northerners out of Tennessee. Buell raced to meet Bragg at the Battle of Perryville, near Danville, Kentucky. It was an indecisive battle and Bragg retreated to Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The 69th’s first major battle was at Gallatin, Tennessee, about 25 miles northeast of Nashville, 50 miles directly north of Murfreesboro, on August 13. Their next battle occurred after Lincoln replaced Buell with Gen. Rosecrans. Rosecrans advanced south from Nashville toward Murfreesboro, also called Stone (or Stones) River, about 30 southeast of Nashville. A hard-fought battle, which included the 69th Ohio, lasted from Dec. 31, 1862, to Jan. 2, 1863. Bragg retreated after losing 9,000 men. The battle brought into prominence a Union leader who later gained fame , Gen. Philip H. Sheridan.
The Company Muster Roll for Jan. & Feb. indicates James’ rank was now Sergeant. He is Acting Second Lieutenant. from February to May 1863. On June 18, 1863, he was “reduced to the ranks from Serg by Reg’l Court Martial,” after which his rank is listed as Private. There is no indication as to the infraction, but he was definitely not given a dishonorable discharge and missed no Muster Roll.
In the fall of 1863, Union troops under Rosecrans were badly defeated at the Battle of Chickamauga, south of Chattanooga in Georgia, and had to retreat back to Chattanooga. Only the troops under Gen. George H. Thomas had fought on, gaining Thomas the nickname of “Rock of Chickamauga.” Bragg occupied Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and other heights around Chattanooga, but did not pursue the Union Army into the city. Gen. Grant replaced Rosecrans with Thomas. Grant, with the Army of Tennessee, advanced on Chattanooga and on November 23 – 25 dealt Bragg a staggering blow. Lookout Mountain and other heights fell on the first two days. On November 25, Thomas’ Army of the Cumberland, eager to redeem its defeat at Chickamauga, swept up Missionary Ridge without orders. The successful charge ended the battle in an hour. The third battle of the 69th was Mission Ridge, Tenn., on November 25, 1863. This is undoubtedly the same battle as Missionary Ridge and included the 69th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
Experience is important; some infractions are not. James Worstell was “Acting 1st Serg’t from October to December” and regained the rank of Sergeant. on November 1, 1863. James Worstell “appears on a Detachment Muster-out Roll” of Company K, 69th Reg’t Ohio Infantry, roll dated, Chattanooga, Tenn., Mch 5, 1864. James was mustered out on February 14 so that he could re-enlist on the 15th as a veteran volunteer for three years. His occupation is recorded as farmer, and the following physical description is: age 30 years, eyes blue, hair dark, complexion dark, height 6’ ½. He was paid no bounty for mustering out and was due $100. When he re-enlisted the following day he was paid a bounty of $25 and $35, and was due $340. By March, he held the rank of First Sergeant.
Early in 1864, President Lincoln promoted Grant to the rank of Lieutenant General and command of all the Northern Armies. While Grant accompanied Meade with the Army of the Potomac into the Virginia Wilderness in an attempt to take Richmond, an army of 90,000 under Gen. William T. Sherman would advance from Chattanooga into Georgia and on to Atlanta. The Confederate Army of 60,000 men under Joseph E. Johnston clashed frequently with Sherman’s troops in small battles, hoping to delay Sherman until after fall elections. Johnston had fallen back to Resaca, about 30 miles south of Chattanooga, where the 69th Regiment Ohio Volunteers fought in the battle between May 13 and 16. Johnston fell back to Cassville, about halfway to Atlanta and the armies, including the 69th, met in the Battle of Dallas, about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta. The battle lasted from May 25 to June 4. The 69th fought at Kennesaw Mountain from June 9 to June 30. The day of June 27 was the largest battle for Atlanta and resulted in a Union setback. Gen. Sherman, having been unsuccessful in trapping Gen. Johnston, changed his policy and sent troops straight against enemy entrenchments. The 69th fought in Marietta on July 4, and at the Chattahoochie River that runs north of the city between July 6 and 10. After Chattahooche, Johnston evacuated and fell back to Atlanta. Although Gen. Sherman had never succeeded in taking Johnston unawares or unprepared, President Davis replaced Johnston with Gen. John B. Hood. As Sherman reached the outskirts of Atlanta, Hood attacked the Union columns. The 69th saw action at Peach Tree Creek July 20 and 21. Hood’s attacks failed and he took up a position in the city. The siege of Atlanta began on July 28 and the 69th was a part of it. It was not until Sherman took part of his army around Atlanta to the south to seize the only rail connection to Atlanta on September 1 that Hood evacuated Atlanta the following day. Hood fell back to the south and attacked the Army of the Ohio near Jonesboro. The 69th took part in that battle that was fought July 28 to August 2. James was present for each muster roll during this time.
Sherman, though left in control of Atlanta, was weakened by a loss of 30,000 men and the necessity of preserving communication with Chattanooga. He sent Gen. Schofield and 30,000 men to join Gen. Thomas and the Army of Cumberland to guard Tennessee and keep Gen. Hood out. Hood headed for Nashville, and the battle for Nashville was the most crushing Union victory of the war. Hood’s army was completely destroyed.
General Sherman picked battle-hardened men and experienced units to form his 60,000-man army to march through Georgia to Savannah. Sherman left Atlanta in flames, and Gen. Hooker and the Potomac troops in control of Atlanta, when he commenced his march on November 15, 1864. Family history says that James Worstell was the flag bearer, but written records are limited and no reference is made to that effect in the material available. Sherman’s army swept forward on a 60-mile front. Advance troops scouted an area, then men followed, stripping houses, barns, and fields, and destroying everything they could not use. Stragglers, known as bummers, caused much destruction. They tore up railroad tracks and made fires with the ties. Then they heated the rails until they were red-hot and wound them around trees to make “Sherman hairpins” or “Sherman neckties.” Sherman is considered the first general to use the modern warfare tactic of destroying the economy. Sherman occupied Savannah on December 21, 1864.
Sherman’s army then crossed the river into South Carolina and into Columbia, North Carolina, by 17 Feb. 65. The port at Wilmington, which had been open all during the war as a major supply port for Southern troops was closed in January 1865. Gen. Lee reappointed Johnston to command. Lee and Johnston attacked and very nearly defeated Sherman at Bentonville. More than 10 battles had taken place in North Carolina, and Bentonville was the bloodiest. On the first day of the battle, March 19, James W. Worstell, Company K, 69th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, was wounded. He had been shot in the mouth. He was listed absent from his unit, sick from his wounds, on the March & April 1865, Company Muster Roll. He appears on the “Hospital Muster Roll Dennison U.S.A. General Hospital, 3d Division, Camp Dennison, Ohio,” during the same time, and absent from his Company Muster Roll for May and June. He received a monthly pension of two dollars for “wd. in face, fract. lower jaw.”
Sherman’s veterans drove north to Virginia, pushing Johnston before them. Meanwhile, Grant had seized the supply routes to Richmond. Lee retreated westward, hoping to join forces with Johnston in North Carolina, but Grant overtook him and barred his way. Nashville forces closed Lee’s escape to the mountains. Gen. Lee wrote Gen. Grant asking for an interview to arrange surrender terms. When news of the surrender at Appomattox reached North Carolina, Johnston surrendered to Sherman on April 26, near Durham. The last of the Confederate Army surrendered on May 26, 1865, at Shreveport, Louisiana.
On June 27, 1865, James W. Worstell was mustered out at Camp Dennison, Ohio. James appears on the Company Muster-out Roll dated July 17, 1865, at Louisville, Kentucky. Bounty paid $160 and was due $240. “No discharge furnished on muster-out of organization,” appears as a remark.
In the fall of 1865, James’ brother, Henry, returned home from his sojourn in California. Their brother Thomas was home by Christmas 1868.