Saturday, May 30, 2015

Society Saturday - Thomas Worthington

Kathy Styer, Executive Director of Adena Mansion in Ohio, was the speaker for the joint meeting of the National Society Sons and Daughters of Antebellum Planters and the Descendants of Colonial and Antebellum Bench and Bar.

She spoke about Thomas Worthington, the Father of Ohio Statehood.  He was born 16 July 1773 in Charles Town, (West) Virginia, the son of Robert and Margaret (Matthews) Worthington.    Robert was disowned by the Quaker faith of his childhood when he married outside the faith in 1759.  Robert died in 1779 and Margaret died in 1780, leaving six-year old Thomas and his five older siblings.  

Thomas was raised by his older brother Ephraim, and Colonel Darke, a family friend.  He spent two years as a sailor aboard the Brittania sailing from Scotland to Cuba and Jamaica.  After returning from the sea, he served in the militia along the Virginia frontier, achieving the rank of Captain of an artillery company.  He received, and purchased, a number of Virginia military land warrants along the Ohio River and set out on horseback to claim them on 20 June 1796.  He returned home that fall and married Eleanor Swearingen on 13 December 1796.  The following May, he returned to the area with his brother-in-law Edward Tiffin and settled in Chillicothe, Ohio.  At that time, he claimed 7600 acres in the area.  He returned for good in 1798 with his wife, young daughter, and several other family members.

One driving force for him to relocate to Ohio was that he despised the institution of slavery and wanted to leave it behind in Virginia.  Once in Chillicothe, Worthington spent a good deal of time in land speculation, as well as building a life for himself.Between 1805-1807, he commissioned Benjamin Henry Latrobe to build a permanent stone house for his family on a hilltop overlooking the Scioto River.  This mansion was called the “most magnificent mansion west of the Alleghenies”.  He named his house Adena, a term descriptive of delightful places that he read in an ancient history book.  

Worthington was active in the politics of his new home.  He was major of the local militia, Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, and Register of the Land Office at Chillicothe.  He was a delegate to the Federal Government to lobby for Ohio statehood.  He was primarily responsible for the selection of Chillicothe as the territorial capitol, as well as Ohio’s first state capitol.  He was also one of the framers of Ohio’s Constitution.

Worthington was elected one of the first senators from Ohio in 1803.  While in that office he worked tirelessly for internal improvements which ultimately resulted in the building of the Cumberland Road, and the acquisition of school lands in Ohio.  He was thought of as an authority on western lands, and introduced a bill that resulted in the formation of the General Land Office.  He had earned the trust of native Americans and hosted Indian leaders such as Tecumseh at his home.  He also hosted other dignitaries such as President James Monroe at him home.
Worthington was elected sixth Governor of Ohio in 1814.  During his four years in that office, he continued to strive for internal improvements, such as better roads and water routes, and establishment of a public school system.  He also purchased the first 500 books of the Ohio State Library.

After retiring from public service, he continued to oversee his lands at Adena, which had increased to over 15000 acres, as well as several other business interests such as mills, meat packing and a distillery.  He died on 20 June 1827 while on a business trip to New York.

Reference: Alfred Byron Sears, Thomas Worthington: Father of Ohio Statehood, Ohio State University Press (Columbus, OH) 1998.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Society Saturday - The Welcome Fleet

At the Annual meeting of the National Society Descendants of Early Quakers, Dr. George Hill gave us a program about William Penn's Welcome Fleet.  Most people know of the Mayflower and the Winthrop Fleet, but not many have heard of the Welcome Fleet.

This was the fleet of ships carrying William Penn and his Quaker colonists to the new world in 1682.  There were 22 ships of varying sizes and speeds.  Some made the voyage in about a month, the flagship "Welcome" took 57 days.

The passengers were mostly English Quakers, but there were 3 Welsh families.  Unfortunately they were joined by smallpox, which took the lives of 1 in 3 on board (passengers and crew alike).  Ultimately 292 people arrived in New Castle, Delaware.  They settled in Philadelphia.

The Quakers were early abolitionists.  They established the Pennsylvania colony as a place of refuge for all with Quaker ideals.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Society Saturday - the National Cathedral

Every year, the members of DFPA have a post-General Court tour.  This year, we visited the National Cathedral.

Our tour guide Lenelle was very knowledgeable, and seemed glad to be giving a tour to a group other than school children.

We learned that:

The National Cathedral is the 6th largest Cathedral in the World.  The vaulted ceiling is 100 feet high, and the main hallway is a tenth of a mile long.  It is built on Mt. St. Alban's, the highest point in the District.

It is the Nation's place to celebrate and to mourn.  The prayer service following Obama's inauguration was here, and four state funerals were held here.  Woodrow Wilson lies buried in the Cathedral.

The large Rose window over the main entrance contains over 10,000 pieces of stained glass.  While there was damage to the stone structure during the earthquake in 2011, none of the windows was damaged.

The most famous stained glass window is the "Space Window", built in 1969.  It actually has a moon rock placed in the center of it.  

The Canterbury pulpit has numerous carved detailed figures depicting the translation of the Bible into English.  It has been used by Billy Graham, Bishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, and Martin Luther King's last Sunday sermon before his assassination.

Most of the stone carvings on the reordas' were done in situ.  There are 10,600 organ pipes over the choir gallery.

St. Mary's chapel has painted wood carvings and several 400 year old Flemish tapestry hangings.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Society Saturday - Happy Birthday NSCDXVIIC

I was a guest at the Opening Night Banquet of the Colonial Dames 17th Century.  They are celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year and have turned their Convention into a gala celebration.

While everyone was gathering, we were entertained by the US Marine Corps Brass Quintet.  

After introductions, the Anniversary cake was presented and cut.

Following dinner, we were entertained by comic Kim Weitkamp.  Her humor appealed to a room full of women, with apologies to the few men in the room.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Society Saturday - Daughters of Founders and Patriots General Court

The 117th General Court of the National Society Daughters of Founders and Patriots of America started with a Banquet.

The Banquet speaker was Eric Grundset, the Director of the DAR Library.  I had the pleasure of sitting with him at dinner and enjoyed talking with him about our genealogical experiences.

His talk was all about what is new at the DAR Library.  He highlighted the digitization of the GRC volumes, the availability of supporting documentation, and some of the new publications of the library such as the Revolutionary War research series by state.  

Eric was honored to receive the Golden Shield Award from our Society.  This award is given to a nonmember who has done exemplary work in historic preservation.

Following General Court, some members traveled to the Women in Military Service Monument for a Wreath Laying in honor of all the women who have served our country.