The field is still there, most likely planted with a fresh crop at this time of year. We are inching a little closer to getting a historical marker placed to remember Worthington Cemetery. Finding living relatives who can share in this has proven more difficult than one would think. Anyone who has tried to trace ancestors knows it can lead to more than one dead end and more questions.
His oldest son, Henry Worthington, did not have any children. He joined the Civil War as a teenager, just 16 at the time, although on the registration papers it lists his age as 18. He joined the 54th Regiment out of Massachusetts in 1863. This was an African-American regiment. His regiment saw battle at Fort Wagner and he was in fact, taken prisoner. His father, Archibald, joined a regiment that mustered out of Columbus, Ohio. It was made up of men from Defiance and adjoining counties. Archibald was twenty years older than most of the men in his regiment. It is possible he joined to find out what happened to his son Henry. He would not have known that he was taken as a POW. Henry died of typhus just months before he would have been freed. He is buried at Salisbury National Cemetery in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Archibald and Elizabeth’s son James Worthington married Mary Ann Mumford. They went on to have twelve children. Some of their children did not have children or there is no record of them having children. Some relocated to Toledo and some to Chicago, and one as far as California. There were some that did have children, so the line continued. Through Ancestry.com, one family line can be followed to living relatives. They have been made aware of our project and are supportive. There is another line that can be followed to living relatives, however those living relatives’ names are listed as private in the family trees that can be viewed publicly on Ancestry.com, so they cannot be contacted. We have respect for the privacy of all those individuals.
Berne Heilshorn, a local historian and amazing researcher, has uncovered a daughter that was born to Archibald before he married Elizabeth and moved out of Virginia. This daughter’s name is Sarah, her mother Eliza Jane, and Sarah contested the will when Archibald passed away in Wilmington. There is also indication that he may have had children with his third wife while in Wilmington, but up until this point we have not found any living relatives in that line.
I was also recently contacted by someone who owns 100 acres of the land that Archibald owned in Highland Township. This is not the same land where the cemetery is located. There were two separate tracts of land that he owned. They are close together within Highland Township. The person who contacted me is familiar with the area where the cemetery is located. He also heard the stories of the tombstones being found in a ditch. The land he owns had a type of log home on it which he tore down. It could have been that Archibald lived on this tract of land and farmed the other or had cattle and horses on it. There are several newspaper articles on Archibald buying more cattle and horses.
The land was passed to new owners. It was referred to in the newspaper as these transactions happened, as “the old Worthington Farm.” Archibald made an impact on the community. He was well known, as was his farm and cemetery during and after his lifetime.
Join us for “Defiance Black Civil War History” on June 7th at 6pm at The Stroede Center for the Arts. We will share the story of the Worthington Cemetery Project as well as more in-depth information about Archibald and Henry’s involvement in the Civil War. Professor Jeremy Taylor from the Defiance College has a vast knowledge of military history. He will shine a light on some of the questions we have. The Stroede Center for the Arts is at 319 Wayne Ave, Defiance, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public.