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Monday, September 22, 2014

Richard Seth Worthing

Richard Seth Worthing: A Welshman Immigrates to America
Greatgrandfather. From Wales. Lived in BirdsRun Ohio and Truro, Iowa

         According to Richard Worthing’s obituary, he was born in Wales. His Christening record stated it as, Llananno, Radnorshire, Wales, which is now the Powys, or eastern Wales along the English border. Llananno is described as   bucolic rolling hills covered with carpets of bluebells and grazing sheep. It is next to the  Offa Dyke, the River Ithon, and the ruins of the Castle Bank, sometimes known as Castle Llananno . It is no longer a castle but mainly just a rocky hill sitting on a summit, the remains an ancient Castle called “TY yn y Bwlch”. By 1840, Castle Bank was a manor where locals farmed and took care of the sheep for the owner. Offa’s Dyke is a 50-foot wide dirt well ditch, running along the English Welsh border, built in the 18th century by the Anglo Saxon King Offa of Mercia to keep out the Welsh. A path runs along side it nowadays making it a popular place to hike through the eastern countryside. Richard, his cousin or brother, Thomas Worthing (depending upon the source ) worked at Castle Bank as day laborers farming.  Richard’s future wife Sarah Ingram was a servant girl
                                                                 1843 Wales
            At the ages of twenty-four and twenty-five, both young men were married. Richard married Sarah Ingram and Thomas, Elisabeth George. I envisioned Richard and Thomas sitting by the banks of the  River Ithon.  They were dusty, dirty and sweaty after a hard days labor in the field planting or harvesting crops for the manor lord, discussing their hopes, dreams, the politics of the day, reflecting on life, and what it would be like to live in America. Dreamers. I think most farm laborers had visions of a future in America where they could own their own land. Richard and Thomas, both being illegitimate children of Mary Worthinhad little chance of owning land or careers in Wales.
”I’ve been reading the ads for farmers to emigrate to America. Sarah’s uncle went  and his letters say you can own your own land, acres and acres of it, all yours. We wouldn’t be beholding to the Hamers, the Merredith’s and the Pugh’s”.
         Brushing his hair back, Richard with his chiseled jawline and deep-set blazing blue eyes, wavy blond hair glittering in the sun, stared intently at Thomas. He took a long pause before he verbalized his feelings.
 “I’d like to give Sarah and Sarah Ann a better life. I’ve enough saved to pay our way to America. Besides I need to talk to John ( his father-in-law) about this. He may have a few extra sovereigns put aside for an emergency and give me some of those monies. 
What about you, Thomas? “
Social Political Times in Wales
            The Rebecca Riots were taking place in South and Mid Wales at this time. These were a series of protests undertaken by local farmers and agricultural workers in response to a perceived unfair taxation. They were sporadic isolated outbursts in the beginning, with the true body of rioting not beginning until the winter of 1842. These gangs became known as the Rebecca’s.  They rioted and destroyed the toll gates.  Members of the mob wore white gowns and masks. Richard and Thomas were not part of the Rebecca’s.
Wales was suffering a depression and prices for grain harvests had collapsed and farming communities were in dire poverty. Families were forced to buy corn at famine prices and they could not afford the high prices of butter, cattle, and sheep.“By late 1843, the riots had stopped. Although the  Rebecca Riots had failed to produce an immediate effect on the lives of the farmers it had sought to serve, it was an important social-political event within Wales. In the aftermath of the riots, some rent reductions were achieved, the toll rates were improved (although destroyed toll-houses were rebuilt) and the protests prompted several reforms, including a Royal Commission into the question of toll road
                                 The Marriage Certificate Reveals 
                        According to Richard’s marriage certificate, Richard Hamer was named as his father. It was common in those days for land owners to father children with their maids and servants. In England and Wales, if the father was known he was cited by the Church and paid support for the child until the age of maturity. We know that Richard’s mother, Mary Worthin, never married Richard Hamer. Richard Hamer was already married and a prominent land owner in the area.  In 1824 at the age of 36, Mary is married to Edward Crowthers and Richard, Mary, and Edward are all living in the same residence in Llananno.  Mary died in 1842.  I imagine, having grown up with the stigma of being an illegitimate child and support supplemented by the bastardy bonds and parish chest, this influenced Richard’s dreams of immigrating to America His lot in life in Wales would have been an agricultural  day laborer who would never own land.

            Richard, Thomas, and Sarah Ingram all worked at the manor. Sarah was a day
servant or maid and the daughter of  John Ingram the miller.  John was a miller by
trade in Wales. We don’t know if John was the owner or lessee of the mill.
It is likely that he was the lessee because the Welsh records show he and his family lived at the  corn mill from1841-1851. The Ingrams were Baptists in Wales belonging to the Maesyrhelem Chapel in Llananno. Many farmers had mill rights on their property. By the 1851 census the Ingrams are gone, but John and his wife, daughters, Elisabeth, Sharlot and her husband George Thomas, Mary and her husband, David Jones, Anne and her husband, Thomas Black, and sons

            James and Evan  with their wives are all farmers and land owners in Guernsey County, Ohio. Little is known about the Jones’, Blacks’ the Thomas’ or Evan.  However, much is known about Sarah’s brother, James Ingram. He  was sent to America with Richard and Sarah to “help them get settled”. He was an adventuresome man.  In Wales he was in trouble for "drinking wine with the maids" and his sexual pursuits. Later in America, he paid someone $600 to serve for him in the Civil War. He had four wives: Mary ?, Rose Ann Brown Ewing, whom he married three months after Mary's death, Eleanor Steward Miskimen, and Sarah Clark.

                                        Richard Falls in Love with Sarah Ingram
 I envisioned Richard as a young man falling in love with Sarah while they worked at the manor. I picture Sarah as a girl looking like my Ingram cousins, with deep, sky blue eyes, red hair, petite carrying baskets of vegetables and wild flowers through the farm fields, picked along the path home to the mill. There probably were not many eligible, single women in this area for Richard to chose from. We have no information on how Richard and Sarah met but probably while working at the manor. Richard, age 24 and Sarah, age 19 married in 1843. They started their family immediately with the birth of Sarah Ann, February 27, 1844, their first of 15 children of which 9 reached adulthood.
                                                     Character Traits of Richard Worthing
            I pictured Richard as an industrious, goal oriented young man, mature beyond his years, falling in love and asking Sarah’s father for her hand in marriage as was the custom in that day. This evoked pictures in my mind of Richard taking Sarah’s hand in his and asking,
“Will you marry me? I love you so much. I can give you a better life in America. We’ll buy land, and raise our family there. After we are settled,  I will send for your family and bring them to live with us.”
       These promises were fulfilled when Richard struck it rich in the California gold rush.

To be continued…


Richard Worthing was born in the western{Eastern} part of Wales, April 15, 1819, and died at the home of his grandson, J. R. Patterson, December 18, 1907, aged 88 years, 8 months and 3 days. At the age of twenty-one years he was united in marriage to Sarah Ingram. This union resulted in the birth of fifteen children, nine of whom attained the age of maturity and reared families of their own. Of this large family only three remain to mourn the loss of their father. They are Mrs. P. S. Custor, of Otsego, Ohio, J. E. Worthing, of Des Moines, Iowa, and Charles E. Worthing, of Cambridge, Ohio. In addition to the above there are thirty-six grandchildren and thirty nine great grandchildren.
At about the age of twenty-three with his wife he came from Wales to Coshocton county, Ohio, where they resided until the spring of 1849 when with a party from the same county he traveled by the overland route across the plains to the gold fields of California. After about two and one-half years he returned and settled in Guernsey county, Ohio, where he resided until the spring of 1880, when with his faithful wife he came and settled in Madison county, Iowa, where he has resided until his death. On October 24, 1888, he suffered the loss of his beloved companion with whom he had lived happily for fifty-eight years. And when he had lain her at rest in the silent city of the dead her resting spot had a larger place in his mind and heart than the living community where formerly his interest and activities centered.
How many hours of each day which made up the little more than nine years of his sorrow and loneliness he spent in silent communion with his God and beloved dead, no one knows. He often expressed a desire to meet the loved ones gone before and his strong vigorous vitality prolonged his life longer than his appearance would indicate. In his early life he accepted Christ as his personal Savior and made a public profession of his faith and after his return from California he united with the Baptist church at Bridgeville, Ohio, of which he was a zelous, influential member until he came to Iowa. Finding here no church of his choice he was instrumental in organizing the present Ohio Baptist church in Madison county, of which he remained a devoted member until his death.
A second Obituary gave tribute to Richard Worthing also.
It said: 

Obituary of Richard Worthing born April 15,1819 in Llananno, Radnorshire, Wales died December 18, 1907.

On October 24, 1898 he suffered the loss of his beloved companion with whom he had lived happily and faithfully with for fifty-eight years.  

It is not necessary to enlarge upon the noble qualities of this exceptional man's character.  Many of you outside the circle of his children have known him intimately for years and the universal testimony of those who knew him is that few men lived as closely to the tenets of the Golden Rule as he did.

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