In an earlier Blog Post MyHeritage Record Hint–Newspaper Article I was talking about the marriage of Samuel Worthington and Sarah Catherine Reeve, 23 February 1872.
For a long time, I have asked myself, Why would this Quaker Family from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, move to Kansas in the mid-1800s? That question was raise again from my brother who wrote:
Saw your blog abt our GGF Samuel. Thought this plaque could provide some clue as to why he left Philadelphia.. perhaps in search of land (160 acres) that the government may have offered for homesteading. As noted on the plaque, maybe the local historical society could shed more light on the movement West by Quakers . His homestead was not too far from the Springdale Friends Meeting house.
I had to respond, as I have had this why Pennsylvania to Kansas move.
Great theory, but not sure that it works, based on the information that I have, and don’t have.
I do think that move to Kansas was as you suggested, the land, but I have not found any records to back that up. As I mentioned, other family members, specifically several of the children, did have Land Grants. I have those records.
Samuel was in Philadelphia for the 1850 Federal Census, but was in Kansas for the Kansas 1855 Census. That Quaker movement was the year before. So, yes, he may have been part of that.
He as in the 1860 Federal Census, also in Kansas, but on 27 August 1862 he enlisted in Company A, Kansas 11th Cavalry Regiment and served until 21 Jun 1865. His mother was not a happy camper about that.
More information on why I haven’t found Land records, is because after he married Sarah Catherine Reeve, 15 Feb 1872, they returned to Philadelphia going via Adrain Michigan.
After Ulysses Grant Worthington died, October 1880, at the age of 5 months, they all, Willits Reeve, Samuel Whitall, Mark Reeve Worthington, and Sarah Catherine moved to Michigan. They also had lost Henry Wilson Worthington in 1875 at the age of 1.
They would return to Kansas about 1885, as they were in the Kansas Census that year.
I do have a note about the move for Samuel
Family moved to Levenworth County, Kansas and all lived in a one room cabin. That would have been Henry Wilson Worthington and Elizabeth Willits Worthington and 4 children. Henry Wilson Worthington had left Philadelphia, wife and children staying, to “go to Kansas to prepare for their move west “to be out of the way of the war zone, in anticipation of the Civil War”. He found a farm with a cabin about 12 miles west of Leavenworth.. They weren’t good farmers, apparently.
Having done research on the Bureau of Land Management website and have pulled some BLM Records from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Washington, D.C., I had not seen any records for Samuel Worthington (the GGF). I have records for his mother, and a number of his (and Sarah Catherine) children.
That commented made me go back to the BLM website to search again.
What I did find, was the “homesteading” act that he referred to, to make sure I had been looking at the right place.
Kansaspedia, the Kansas Historical Society website has an article on the Kansas-Nebraska Act which was established 30 May 1854.
The key word in that article was Slavery. Having another ancestor, move from East Jersey to the Shenandoah Valley, possibly due to Slavery, and that family also being Quaker, I followed that hint to see what might be going on in Kansas.
There was also an article English Quakers Tour Kansas in 1858.
Quaker, Slavery, and the pending Civil War seem to be in common. So, I see the “Push” factor, the reason to leave Pennsylvania, but was there a pull factor.
I reviewed the TIMELINE for my Great Grandfather to see what I might have been missing. Samuel’s timeline was what I was looking at in my response to my brother. So, I added the Family Events to his timeline, still everything was in order, no surprises. In the time line, that I looked at, it shows his AGE with the event.
I was looking at the WRONG TIMELINE, he was only 14 when the move would have been Westward. That is when I found the notes about his Father, Henry Wilson Worthington. He is the one who moved to Kansas, to prepare for the family move to Kansas.
From the notes that I have and research to date, I do not know if one or both the Kansas-Nebraska Act, nor the Quaker movement in Kansas was part of the reason, but the pending Civil War was a factor, which to me was the Quaker stance on Slavery.
I mentioned in my notes about a One Room Log Cabin, That is not documented in the article about the English Quaker Tour Kansas link.
Dined at Benajah Hyatt’s [Hiatt] whose wife is Sarah Coffin’s sister. In the evening rode a few miles to the habitation of Henry Worthington, a log cabin of one room 12 feet square. This friend who has a wife & 5 children came here from Philadelphia about 6 Mo. ago. They had been used to the comforts & refinements of good society; but being unfortunate in business, they had taken land come out here. We were much interested in seeing them all trying to do what they could in their humble cot; a little corner was shielded off where we slept, the rest of the family sleeping in beds in the same room.
This information is very consistent with my database. Samuel was the oldest of the 5 children.
Henry Wilson Worthington’s wife, Elizabeth Willits was mentioned in a number of the Land Records for Samuel and Sarah Catherine’s children. But that is another story.
As an aside, the mention of Adrian, Michigan in my response to my brother, because of a Quaker School that was there, as well as other family members. including where Elizabeth Willits Worthington would marry after Henry Wilson Worthington died in 1866. Another story for another time.
Elizabeth Willits Timeline