Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Was Great Great Great Great Grandma an Indian Princess?

     I’ve done it again.  Spent my day off sitting in front of the computer instead of cleaning my kitchen, which I really need to do; I think I saw a leftover in the back of the fridge move this morning.  But no, I have been tracking George and Eva Worden.  Who are they you ask?  Collateral relatives, the kind I wouldn’t ordinarily spend this amount of time on while mutant leftovers are roaming my refrigerator unchecked except… I found a picture of them on Ebay!  Somehow it’s always the collateral relatives whose photos show up, and always on the Worden side, why is that?

George and Eva Bartlett Worden

     The Worden family is pretty well documented, there are quite a few books and sourced trees online, and Silvester Worden, my umpteenth great grandfather was a Revolutionary War Soldier.  Apparently a spelling challenged one; he really did spell his name “Silvester”, not the usual Sylvester.  I know this because I have actually held his war pension application in my hand, (what a rush), signed by himself in that unusual way.  There are some gaps in the trees, mostly on the female side as usual and Silvester’s wife’s name is unknown.  However, Silvester’s father was also a Silvester, and then going back in time come a couple Peters, then Samuel Worden born 1646 in Massachusetts.  Samuel’s wife was Hopestill Holley.  Isn’t that a cute name?  It sounds like a children’s cartoon character who might show up as a prize in a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

     Part of the Worden family remained in New England, but my line moved west to New York.  Silvester took a few years but steadily moved on til he came to Bristol, New York.  See the map at the right?  It shows Worden Hill in Bristol; that maze near the red arrow is Bristol Ski Resort.  See, I told you my family owned it, and I still want it back.  Silvester and his mystery wife had several children one named Silvester, (in some records, Squire), was born about 1793 and married Pelina Carter.  They begat another Silvester in 1817, along with a Paul who was my 3rd great grandfather.  The 1817 Silvester married Mary Culver and had—you guessed it, another Silvester.  But, they also had a George in 1857, George of the Ebay photo, I told you he was collateral.

     The thing about collateral relatives though, is their data is also the data of one’s direct relatives.  A 1948 news article about George-- "Worden, a descendant of the Seneca Indians of Seneca Point on Canandaigua Lake, was born there, but as a little lad came with his family to Bristol and there he has remained. When a youth he thought he might like to live on a reservation but after a very short trial returned to the rolling hills and valleys, the foothills of the Alleghenies, in Bristol."   Huh??????? 

     George’s obituary in 1950 says, "His father was an Indian born on one of the reservations." Say again?  I have no idea what to make of this.  The Worden’s were Puritans from Lancashire, England; they were not Native Americans.  On the other hand, I have nothing on Pelina Carter, wife of 1793 Silvester.  Is it possible my 4th great Grandmother was a Native American?  It’s conceivable that even if she married and left the reservation she returned to her mother’s abode for the birth of her first child, (1817 Silvester), so George’s father would be half Indian anyway.  Now you see why I have been tied to my computer all morning, a new mystery to solve. 

     I’ve heard no family stories about Native Americans among the Wordens, though a historian in Bristol Center told me once there were undocumented rumors to that effect.  Pelina, (sometimes called Paulina), Carter was born around 1796, and died before the New York State census of 1855 was taken, too early for a death certificate to have been issued.  I found an online tree claiming she was born in South Bristol, but it had no sources so I take it with a grain of salt. Un-sourced family trees are one of my pet peeves, and no, user submitted trees at OneWorldTree are not sources, they are clues that need to be verified with real sources.

     Might as well make another pot of coffee...


  1. Hi Ellie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/06/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-june-7-2013.html

    Have a great weekend!

  2. Thank you Janna! What a nice compliment, I appreciate it.