When I think of the name WORTH, I automatically think of the fictional cartoon character that was featured every day in the newspaper for many years. Do you remember Mary Worth, the comic strip character? Although she could have been named for a real person, my research does not indicate the origin of the name for that comic strip. Anyway, that is what I sometimes think of when I see the name WORTH. There is a remote possibility that the name for the strip was adapted from the English folktale about a woman named Mary Worth who was in a terrible accident and her face was scratched so badly that she bled to death. She was said to roam the world as an evil ghost and was referred to as "Bloody Mary." Ah, the stories that people can tell ...
And being from Texas, who could forget about the big cowtown which is now really big? Of course I am talking about FORT WORTH. Fort Worth, originally Camp Worth, was established at the end of the Mexican War, when Gen. Winfield Scott sent forty-two men of Company F of the Second Dragoons under command of Maj. Ripley A. Arnold to North Texas to establish a post to guard East Texas settlements from the Indians. Acting on the advice of scouts who had camped there during the winter of 1848, Arnold chose a position on the south side of the confluence of the Clear Fork and West Fork of the Trinity River. The camp was established on June 6, 1849, and named for Brig. Gen. William Jenkins Worth. Its designation was changed to Fort Worth on November 14, 1849. The project was successful, for there were no Indian raids east of Parker County after the establishment of the camp. The only threat to the post came from a band of Taovaya warriors who were dispersed by a shot from a howitzer, the camp's only artillery. On June 17, 1851, Capt. J. V. Bamford of companies F and H of the Eighth Infantry assumed command, relieving Arnold. The post was abandoned on September 17, 1853, and troops who had been stationed there were sent to Fort Belknap. No permanent fort had been erected, and the abandoned barracks were used as store buildings by the early merchants of the new city of Fort Worth. (Buckley B. Paddock, History of Texas: Fort Worth and the Texas Northwest Edition [4 vols., Chicago: Lewis, 1922]).
And here is information on Brig. Gen. William Jenkins Worth who served the War of 1812 and the Mexican War that Fort Worth is named after. There is also a Lake Worth in downtown Fort Worth named after him as well as a village called Worth, which is a suburb of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, which is named after him. Also Worth County, Georgia and Lake Worth, Florida are named for him.
Brig. Gen. William Jenkins Worth's ancestors came from Edgartown, Massachusetts, and his great-great grandfather was William Worth (1642-1724) who married Sarah Macy, who is the immigrant ancestor of the Macys who settled at Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, which makes us distant cousins:
William Jenkins Worth (1794-1849), United States Army major general, the son of Thomas and Abigail (Jenkins) Worth, was born in Hudson, New York, on March 1, 1794. A member of an old seafaring family, Worth returned with his father to Edgartown, Massachusetts, the family's original home, after the death of his mother sometime before 1800. By 1812 young Worth had returned to Hudson, where he was probably educated at Lenox Academy. Worth was a dissatisfied clerk in a wholesale establishment when the War of 1812 began, and he enlisted as an army private. He was commissioned a first lieutenant, Twenty-third United States Infantry, on March 19, 1813, served as aide-de-camp to generals Morgan Lewis and Winfield Scott, and rose to the rank of captain on August 19, 1814. Worth was severely wounded and permanently lamed at the battle of Lundy's Lane, but he remained in the army after the war. He transferred to the Second Infantry on May 17, 1815, and to the First Artillery on June 1, 1821. He became an instructor of tactics at West Point in 1820 and in 1825 was made commandant of cadets. By the time of his transfer to field duty in 1828, Worth had instilled high standards of conduct and discipline still evident today in the West Point Cadet Corps. He was promoted to major, ordnance bureau, on May 30, 1832. During the 1830s Worth served under Scott in the Illinois campaign against the Black Hawks and participated in the removal of Cherokee Indians from the southeastern United States. He helped maintain peace between the United States and Great Britain when Canada's Patriot War erupted along the border and was promoted to colonel. In 1840 Worth was transferred to Florida, where in 1842 he successfully ended the Seminole War, and was made a brigadier general on March 1, 1842.
During the Mexican War Worth served under generals Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. He participated in the battle of Monterrey in 1846, led the first troops ashore in the United States amphibious landing at Veracruz in March 1847, and commanded the troops that captured Chapultepec Castle in Mexico City in September 1847. For these accomplishments he received a sword of honor from Congress and a promotion to major general. The war's end led Worth to a public dispute and break with former friend and mentor Scott, who incorrectly held Worth responsible for the publication of a letter criticizing the commanding general's conduct of the war. In the midst of this controversy, Worth was assigned as a commander of the newly created Department of Texas, with headquarters in San Antonio. His tenure in Texas was brief, for he soon contracted cholera from the troops under his command and died in San Antonio on May 7, 1849. Eight years after his death, the city of New York reinterred his remains in a public monument and tomb, fifty-one feet tall, located at the juncture of Broadway and Fifth Avenue. The monument, run-down and covered with graffiti, was restored during the early 1990s; the work was financed by donors who included Worth's great-great-grandson, retired navy commander James A. Woodruff, Jr. The city of Fort Worth and a large lake in Florida are named in Worth's honor. Worth was a member of the Church of Christ (Congregational), a Democrat, and a Mason. He married Margaret Stafford of Albany, New York, in 1818. They had three daughters and a son.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Edward S. Wallace, General William Jenkins Worth (Dallas: Southern Methodist University Press, 1953). Edward S. Wallace, "General William Jenkins Worth and Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 54 (October 1950).
My WORTH family has origins back in Roman times, and in recorded history there is proof of the family as early as 1066 at the time of William the Conqueror, when they are listed in the Domesday Book. The family was in England for several hundred years before William Worth, immigrated to Massachusetts in the early 1600s. Information on the early generations of the family in England and in early Massachusetts was derived from "A Genealogical History of the Clark and Worth Families" by Carol Clark Johnson; "Ancestral Roots of 60 American Colonists" by Frederick Lewis Weiss; "Plantagenet Ancestry" by Andrew Moriarity and from documents found on the Harvard Law Library web site.
My WORTH family in the U.S. is closely intertwined with the MACY and SWAIN families of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Records show that the MACY family of North Carolina that I descend from were Quakers and are descended from the Macys of Nantucket Island in Massachusetts. These Macys are closely connected to my SWAIN family of North Carolina. In fact two Macy women married Swain men in my line, which makes for double cousins through the Macy line. Also William WORTH (b. abt. 1640 in England) married Sarah MACY. Also there is a MACY-GARDNER marriage, so that makes for at least 4 ways that I descend from the Macy family.
Many thanks to Sonya Tilley and David L. Ray who both descend from the Swains of McNairy County, Tennessee, just as I do, for their assistance in finding out about the early Swains and the connection to the WORTH family. Both Sonya and David have Swain and related information on the Rootsweb Worldconnect Pages at http://worldconnect.genealogy.rootsweb.com. I suspect they got a lot of their information from Jeffrey D. Kemp who also descends from the Swains of McNairy County, Tennessee, and has worked on tracing the Swains and Macys in the Carolinas and back to New England. In the family at Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, note that I have two MACY lines in the SWAIN family and one MACY marriage in the WORTH family and another MACY marriage in the GARDNER family that all connect up with each other a little further back
Here is my WORTH lineage as far as I can determine:
If you have queries concerning the WORTH surname, you may post these at the Worth Family Genealogy List which is a part of the Rootsweb e-mail discussion lists. It offers free queries and discussion on the Worth surname and variant spellings.
To subscribe, send an e-mail to: WORTH-Lemail@example.com
Leave subject line blank (This will be ignored).
In the body of the message type: subscribe
Then a welcome message will be sent telling how to post messages. Once you are subscribed, you may send a query to everyone on the list by sending e-mail to: WORTH-L@rootsweb.com
Archived postings to the Worth e-mail list can be found on the WEB at:
An online genealogy forum for posting queries has also been set up specifically for the WORTH family on GenForum. It can be found at the following address:
***Note***During the Fall of 1998, GenForum combined with Family Tree Maker, which means that all queries and information posted to that site becomes the property of Family Tree Maker. This is still a good site to look up information and get contact names for the WORTH lines you are searching, but be advised that if you now post a new query or a response to something on that site, chances are that sometime in the future Family Tree Maker will include that information on a CD-ROM which they will sell for profit to anyone who is interested. I do not like the idea of someone else using my hard researched information and ideas and selling them for a profit without my knowledge. This same practice is evident on all of the Family Tree Maker pages which are found on the internet, if you will read the disclaimer notices on those pages. I recommend the Family Tree Maker pages as good look up pages, but I don't recommend posting information there. Similar things can be said for Ancestry.com and MyFamily.com which are connected to each other and seek to make a profit from genealogical materials on the internet.
Some other researchers and web sites concerning the WORTHS and their descendants include:
Reginald Swain's Family Tree Maker Page maintained by Reginald V "Reggie" Swain. (He lists descendants of Richard Swain, Sr., b. 1595, d. 1682 Nantucket Island, MA and includes some Macy and Worth connections).
all maintained by Cece Bibby.
Last updated August 27, 2003.
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