Edward Worthington

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Edward Worthington
Died1804 (aged 50-54)
Cause of deathyellow fever
Resting placeWorthington Family Cemetery, Owensboro, Ohio County, Kentucky, present-day Owensboro, Daviess County, Kentucky
Other namesCaptain Worthington, Clark's Irish Captain
Occupationfrontiersman, hunter, surveyor, soldier, state militia officer
Known forexploring Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley and founding the fortified, Kentucky settlement, Worthington's Station
Spouse(s)His only wife's name was documented, under many different names, including; Mary Worthington, Elizabeth Worthington, Mary Elizabeth Worthington, Betsey Worthington, Elizabeth Stephens Worthington, Mary Worthington, Elizabeth Jefferies Worthington

Edward Worthington (1750-1754–1804) was an 18th-early 19th century American frontiersman, longhunter, surveyor, soldier, pioneer, and state militia officer who explored and later helped settle the Kentucky frontier. A veteran of the American Revolution and the Indian Wars, he also served as a paymaster under George Rogers Clark during the Illinois campaign. His grandson, William H. Worthington, was an officer with the 5th Iowa Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War.[1] Historian and author, Kathleen L. Lodwick is a direct descendant of Edward Worthington.[2]

Early life[edit]

Edward Worthington, born in Macroom, Muskerry West, County Cork, in Kingdom of Ireland, between 1750 and 1754. Worthington came from a family of four brothers and five sisters. He emigrated to the British thirteen colonies from Ireland, in 1768, with his father, brother, Thomas, mother, sister, Ann, and several other family members, landing in Baltimore, Maryland, and staying there for some time. In 1774, Edward and his father, joined the colonial Virginia Militia, in Lord Dunmore's War, where Edward served as a private.[3] Worthington was first recorded, as a surveyor, marking land, on Beargrass Creek, near the Ohio River, as early as 1775.

American Revolutionary War[edit]

Edward Worthington was, one of the defenders, at McClelland's Station, in Kentucky territory and was wounded, in the attack, by the Mingo chieftain, Pluggy, on December 29, 1776.[4][5][6] Worthington traveled to Harrod's Town, with George Rogers Clark, the following month.

In early 1778, Edward Worthington left his wife, at Harrod's Town, and joined the Kentucky Militia, as a captain, under Colonel George Rogers Clark. With Clark and his Illinois Regiment, Virginia State Forces, Captain Worthington, went down the Ohio River, accompanied by thirteen, pioneer families, and arrived at Corn Island, now Louisville, Kentucky. At Corn Island, Colonel George Rogers Clark set up his military camp, where he recruited and trained his troops, for the secret campaign, to capture the Illinois Country, from the British.

In 1779, Edward Worthington, still serving under Clark, participated in the siege of Vincennes, in which they soundly defeated the British forces. Edward Worthington was granted 3,234 acres (13.09 km2) land, for his military service, as a paymaster, during the Illinois Campaign. That same year, Edward Worthington established Worthington's Fort, four miles (6 km) southeast of Danville, Kentucky.[7][8] In 1780, Worthington was ordered to occupy Chickasaw Bluff, just south of the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and construct Fort Jefferson, to protect American interests in Illinois County, Virginia, from enemy incursions, coming up river, from the Gulf of Mexico. Fort Jefferson would be garrisoned by Virginia soldiers from Worthington's company, of the Illinois Regiment. In 1781, Captain Worthington was ordered by General Clark, to withdraw his company of soldiers, and abandon Fort Jefferson, because of its remote and indefendible location, from continuous, Chickasaw attacks.

Later life and death[edit]

[9] In 1804, Edward Worthington was in New Orleans, Territory of Orleans, within the Louisiana Purchase, of the US, now New Orleans, Louisiana, to conduct what turned out to be a business deal gone bad. He had filed a lawsuit, in New Orleans, against Dan Callaghan, who had swindled him out of a large sum of money in a land fraud scheme. Edward Worthington died from yellow fever before the case was tried, but his family continued the suit and they were awarded judgment against Callaghan according to the court documents in the Minute Book, Louisiana Court of Pleas, 1804.


  1. ^ Stewart, A.A. Iowa Colonels and Regiments: Being a History of Iowa Regiments in the War of the Rebellion. Des Moines: Mills & Co., 1865. (pg. 125)
  2. ^ Lodwick, L. Kathleen. Crusaders Against Opium: Protestant Missionaries in China, 1874–1917. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996.
  3. ^ Skidmore, Warren and Donna Kaminsky. Lord Dunmore's Little War of 1774: His Captains and Their Men who Opened Up Kentucky & the West to American Settlement. Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 2004. (pg. 33) ISBN 0-7884-2271-5
  4. ^ Bradford, John. The Voice of the Frontier: John Bradford's Notes on Kentucky. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1993. (pg. 14) ISBN 0-8131-1801-8
  5. ^ Conover, Charlotte Reeve. Concerning the Forefathers: Being a Memoir, with Personal Narrative and Letters of Two Pioneers, Col. Robert Patterson and Col. John Johnston. New York: Winthrop Press, 1902. (pg. 146)
  6. ^ Draper, Lyman C. The Life of Daniel Boone. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books, 1998. (pg. 433) ISBN 9780811709798
  7. ^ Filson Club. The History Quarterly of the Filson Club. University of Louisville, 1926. (pg. 235)
  8. ^ Lincoln County Historical Society. Lincoln County, Kentucky. Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 2002. (pg. 19)
  9. ^ Hayden, William. Conquest of the Country Northwest of the River Ohio, 1778–1783. Indianapolis: Bowen-Merrill Company, 1896. (pg. 151-152)

Further reading[edit]

  • Drake, William and Louise Drake; Samuel M. Wilson, Julia S. Ardery and Garrett G. Clift. Kentucky in Retrospect: Noteworthy Personages and Events in Kentucky History. Frankfort: Kentucky Historical Society, 1967.
  • Kerr, Charles; William Elsey Connelley and Ellis Merton Coulter. History of Kentucky. American Historical Society, 1926.
  • Gallit, David Lowell. Early Kentucky Pioneers: Fulkerson, Bullock, Kimbley, Tichenor, and Allied Families. D.L. Gallit, 1998.

External links[edit]