Why Kansas–Wrong Timeline

May 22, 2019

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

October 1857
Age 14

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


MyHeritage Record Hint–Newspaper Article

May 18, 2019

This morning I was greeted with a Record Hint from  the MyHeritage website. As usual, I reviewed the hint, and many times, not always, moved on. This one caught my eye.

In Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers, 1836-1922

Publication: Emporia, Lyon, Kansas, USA

Date: Feb 23 1872

“…interest that presents itself to relate, is the manage of Samuel Worthington, of Leavenworth county, and Catharine Reeve, of Lyon county. This marriage was performed after the order of the society of Friends…”

They are my paternal great grandparents. I have blogged about this event before.

And my “Current Thinking Is …”

That blog post was about this photograph, properly protected with the writing on the archival sheet protecting the picture.


The important point, my “current thinking” was about the description of that photo.

There was a comment on that blog post from a follower who had her son married in that same church 30 August 1997.

Martin & Stephanie Aug 30 1997 002


Martin & Stephanie Aug 30 1997 006

Oh, the Newspaper Article:

Worthington_Samuel Reeve_Sarah_Catherine-1872-Wedding-The Emporia News - Feb 23 1872-Col_5

The Emporia News
Emporia, Kansas
Friday, February 23, 1872
Volume 15, Number 8
Page 3, Column 5


The first item of interest that presents itself to relate, is the mar[r]iage of Samuel Worthington, of Leavenworth county, and Catherine Reeve, of Lyon county. This marriage was performed after the order of the society of Friends, which of course, attracted a great many people to see what is termed a “Quaker wedding.” That day was beautiful, the marriage performed nicely, and nothing unusual occurring to those accustomed to attending gatherings of this kind, except the young man that became too warm and arose to his feet to draw his overcoat, and in an unthoughtful manner gathered too deep, and left himself standing in his shirt sleeves in the midst of the assembly.

The people of Plymouth and vicinity feel truly thankful to J.J. Buck and his friend Mr. Davies, of Emporia, for their presence and assistance at the temperance meeting held in our village on last Saturday afternoon. Mr. Buck, notwithstanding quite unwell, gave a very instruct lecture. We also had Dr. Hunt, from the Kaw agency, and others from a distance, all of whom seemed alive to the subject of temperance. The meeting then adjourned till 7 o’clock p.m., when the house came to order and was well entertained by a lecture from our citizen, S.B. Dillon. After considerable discussion and exchange of sentiment they appointed another meeting for next Saturday week, afternoon.

We hope that none will infer from the above that the people of Plymouth get drunk. No! Far from it, but only wish to take steps in time to guard against evil, like the Quaker what whipped his son, “Son, come here, I must whip thee.” Why father, what have I done” “Nothing, but thee will; thee will be disobedient to they mother, and I must whip thee now.”

So, where is this place ?

Cottonwood Friends Church

Of interest, is the inside photo, on the web page, looks very much like the picture that was sent to me from my earlier blog post. I suspect it wasn’t that “fancy” when Samuel and Sarah Catherine were married in 1872.

Church Records

May 9, 2019

I was preparing a presentation for a recent Genealogy Conference and wanted to demonstrate how to “begin with what you know” entry into a new Genealogy database. I talked about entering myself and my parents into that database and my next slide, in the presentation was STOP. Why stop? To talk about Citing your Source and to create a Research Log on what I had just done.

I added that I wanted to add a new Fact / Event for my father and described my dad’s baptism, on a specific date, in  a specific church. The kicker was that I had First Hand Knowledge of that event. My dad, brother, and I were all Baptized on the same day. My purpose was to expand the information for the three people in this new database, while crafting a First Hand Knowledge Citation.

Because my genealogy program has a Fact, Citation, Rating system, as described in the book, Evidence Explained, by Elizabeth Shown Mills, I demonstrated that as well.


I walked through the 4 Quality measures for Rating a Source and the Justification for the rating I chose. The Justification being “Was present at the event, age 6, but will need other documents to prove this fact”.

I then proceeded to upload and sync this small database (52 people) to Ancestry to start to receive hints from their records. This is where the fun began.

The first Hint I followed, keeping in mind I am trying to prepare for a presentation and not doing research, I found this record.


It was a Quaker Record where my Grandfather is listed, along with my Dad and his siblings. The date was 30 June 1927. Rotating the image to see what was written on this “blue line” page in a record book, it read Certified from the Chester Monthly Meeting. The 3rd column was labeled “Gains”.

I had not seen this record before, I knew that my Grandfather should have been a member of the Chester Monthly Meeting (in New Jersey), but had figured that his membership would have been moved much earlier. He and my Grandmother were married in the Birmingham-Lafayette Monthly Meeting in 1915, so was surprised to see the official transfer in 1927.

What I hadn’t realized was the my Dad and is siblings were also part of the Chester Monthly Meeting, I guess by default, with their father. Just never thought about that. For a time line, for my Dad, this was where the Church Records start.

The very next hint was:


A typed document, same date as the earlier one, but a document from Quaker Records, showing who was part of the committee that visited my grandfather, my dad and his siblings. Of interest were two surnames that I recognize, and will look at later (FAN Club).

The next Hint, was a record from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, receiving my Dad into that church. It was dated well after his Baptism. Timeline is not out of line, consistent with what I knew.


Seeing that this page was really two pages, the next image was this.


That was the indication what my Dad was transferred, in church records from the church in Pennsylvania, to the church in New Jersey. Again, the timeline is correct in sequence, but the timeliness of the event is delayed a lot (couple of years). I guess it takes time for the Church Paperwork to catch up with the reality of the surrounding events.

I should note, that these images do not have citations on them, because I have not entered this information into my genealogy database program yet. These records are from hints, so I can keep track of these hints.

I do not know that last time that my grandfather went to the Quaker Meeting in Moorestown, NJ, nor to I know if my dad and his siblings ever attended there. I do know that my Dad has been to that Quaker Meeting, because I took him there.

And, he died in an Adult Care Center within 5 miles of this Quaker Meeting.

Lesson Learned: Be a little loose at Dates when looking at Church Records, as the dates when the records were created may be several years off from the dates you may search for. I had enough information in my database, so that the Ancestry Shaky Leaf Hints found these church records. I was NOT looking for these records, but these were the first four Hints that I saw and followed.

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife–Book Signing

July 28, 2018

(note to self – get more pictures on this blog)

Last night I had the honor of meeting Maryann McFadden as a local library as a book signing. Remember I don’t read books, cover to cover, with this exception. I wanted to hear her speak about this book.


I was totally impressed, but from what I do in my spare time. Family History Research. She is obviously a writer, but her journey in how this book became real, might be the same or similar journey for us.

Someone nudging us along the way, dropping hints, following those leads, investigating (searching) other leads or hints, making sure we have the right information, evaluating the evidence, and writing it down. In Maryann’s case, writing the story.

This story is about a long, young lady, who was murdered in our little town. Swept under the rug and forgotten by most. But a monument in her honor, is at the highest point in the major cemetery in town.

Maryann told us what she believes is the Tilley Smith story. Tilly can’t be forgotten, and now we have her story told through a 21st century person Rachel. (oh, my Grandmother’s name was Rachel, and I need to tell her story). But I wondered how much of Rachel, is the voice of Maryann herself.

If I heard “between the lines” that Tilley has had a close eye on Maryann, dropping hints for years, hoping she would pick them up.

My earlier blog posts, and the ones to come (hopefully) I have mentioned that I could sit and home reading this book, and visualize the places that were in the story, making the story in the book real.

I’m not a reader, let along a writer, but I have done family research for another family, who is buried in this cemetery and have taken many, many pictures in the cemetery. I fact a couple of photos from this cemetery are in one of my talks.

One other, small event, that Maryann talked about at the book signing, and is in the book, I also experienced.

Being a murder, there was some references to a trial. That story is in a different book, but Maryann was called for jury duty in our local county. I sat in the same waiting room, and went into the same court room, waiting to be called. (fortunately for me, I wasn’t called). I knew about Tilley Smith, had taken many pictures of the monument, but didn’t make the connection until I read about it in the book and during the talk last night.

I was clearly reminded that WE, as family researchers, need to get beyond the Names, Dates, and Places, and get those stories that we develop “out there”. I have chosen a blog post or two, but beside the “cousin bait” use of a Blog, Telling our Ancestor’s story “out there” is another use for a blog.

DearMYRTLE and I have a Genealogy Game Show, “Who’s In My Line”, designed specifically for that purpose.

Bottom Line, after listening to Maryann McFadden, Follow those “voices” that we hear, some one (our Ancestors) want to be found! It’s our job to tell that story.

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife (2018)

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife-the Bridge

June 20, 2018

continuing from my reading of The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife, by Maryann McFadden.

In The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife–#2 I mentioned the Musconetcong River. The Bridge was accurately described, but there is more.

A very short walk or drive, you approach this bridge.


Ordinary, you can see the “river” to the right, can’t see the left side yet.

The trick to this bridge, beside the noise as you cross it, is that this picture is in Warren County, and the tree ahead is in Morris County.


The drives Find-A-Grave folks crazy, especially locals. On that website, you won’t find Union Cemetery, Hackettstown, in Morris County. All of the headstones are in that county (Morris). Yes, there is a back entrance, from Morris County into the Cemetery.

Looking back across the bridge, back into Warren County is this.


I think that the author described it well. Oh, and I have driven across it many times in a pick up truck.

The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife–the Office

June 19, 2018

More from my reading of The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife, by Maryann McFadden.

Early on, after “Rachel” arrives at her new home, she is introduced to “The Seven Dwarf’s Cottage”, but officially The Office.



I had to look through my photograph’s to find a picture, but who takes a picture of the Office, when your mission is the photograph headstones??

Later in the book, her description of the inside of the office was that of someone who had been inside. I have, at least once. I could see the office from the description.

I was trying to locate a grave site, but they didn’t have a database. I had the map, so they told me in what area, so I went.

As I normally do, I tried to find someone who might have inventoried the cemetery. They had, but I am sure it isn’t as accurate as “Rachel” would have had it.


I think that of all of the times I have visited, have I only seen some one at the office that one time. The database is on the local Historical Society website.




The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife–The Gate

June 17, 2018

… continuing from my reading of The Cemetery Keeper’s Wife, by Maryann McFadden.

As a researcher or a photographer taking pictures for the Find A Grave website, my first photo is that of a sign or an entrance to the Cemetery. I didn’t have to look hard for that, as I have visited it many times and have taken many pictures of the gate. I try to “book end” the pictures taken at that cemetery. (first and last photo of that series)


The problem with this is the wires. (no photo editing for me).

There is an interesting part of this cemetery is that the entrance and official location of the Cemetery and where folks are buried, are in two different counties. There is a genealogy point of interest in this. To my knowledge, no one is buried in the county where this cemetery can be found on Find A Grave. But, I digress.

Oh, the sign:


It’s been around for a while, established in 1857 according to a website. Historic Hackettstown – The Union Cemetery.

On my way out today, this is from the other side of the gate.


Many parades have come though this gate, the annual Memorial Day Parade. You may hear about this in the book.

As my visit today was shortly after Memorial Day, there are flags all over the cemetery (for a later blog post), but the gate also has a left over of the parade.


For a small town, they do it up right.


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