GEORGE WASHINGTON WORTHEN
SURNAMES: Beede, Hoyt, Cronkleton
Prominent among the well-known and highly-esteemed residents of Santa Clara County is George W. Worthen, who during the thirty-nine years that he has resided in this county has been identified with its progress and advancement as one of the successful agriculturists.
A native of Charleston, Vt., he was born May 22, 1844, the son of Samuel and Lydia (Beede) Worthen. The father, a physician, was a native of Sandwich, N. H., born in 1801, and his mother, in 1804. They were residents of Vermont at the time of their marriage in 1838. Of charitable and kind-hearted nature, they did much to relieve suffering of every kind in their locality. The paternal great-grandfather rendered valuable services in the Revolutionary War, and through this connection our subject is eligible to membership in the Sons of the American Revolution.
George W. was fortunate in securing a good education, and as early as 1861 began his career as a teacher. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he offered his services to his country, and enlisted on August 22, 1862, and in October was mustered into the U. S. service as a member of Company H. Fifteenth Volunteer Infantry, under Redfield Proctor, who after the close of the war served as Secretary Stannard's Second Vermont Brigade, which immortalized itself by a heroic counter-charge upon Pickett's hosts, July 3, on the memorable field of Gettysburg. At the expiration of his term of service he was mustered out at Brattleboro, VT., on September 4, 1863. Soon after, he became the first principal of Linden Literary Biblical Institute at Linden, Vt. Remaining in this position one year, he then entered the National Normal University at Lebanon, Ohio, and took the scientific course and secured his B. S. degree. Then he went to Iowa and for about two years was professor of Greek and mathematics at Wilton Collegiate Institute, Wilton, Iowa, his name appearing first in their catalogue; later he returned to Lebanon, and while pursuing his studies in the classical course became a teacher in the institution and secured his A. B. degree and followed teaching in various places until coming to California on March 13,1876, and settling in San Mateo. The same year he secured a position as instructor in A. L. Brewer's Military Academy, where he remained for one year, when he became principal of the public schools of San Mateo, after which he returned to the Academy for another year, and then was professor of English at Washington College, Irvington, for a period of about two years.
The marriage of Mr. Worthen on June 7, 1878, united him with Miss Mary J. Hoyt, who was born July 18, 1857, in East Concord, N. H. Her girlhood was spent in the home called the "Mountain Farm," noted for its beauty and its sightly location. President Pierce, after his return from public service, liked this place, and offered a price for it far in excess of its real value; but the property had been in the Hoyt family so many years that the father could not give it up. The History of Concord contains a picture of the place, and much interesting information regarding it, as does the Hoyt Family Genealogy, which was published after a family meeting held in Providence, R. I., a member of years ago, when all the branches were represented. Senator John Sherman represented the Connecticut branch of which General W. T. Sherman was a member, his mother being Mary Hoyt, a native of Connecticut. The Hoyt family is of English origin, and its American history dates from the coming of two brothers to America in 1636-1638. The great-grandfather of Mrs. Worthen was the second male child born in Concord, N. H. Two of the grandfather's brothers served in the Revolutionary War, Abner being with General Stark at Bennington, and the other brother, Stephen, saw Major Andre executed.
A description of the childhood home of Mrs. Worthen is well worth quoting; "The house in which I was born was, in Indian times, an old garrison-house, and the port-holes are still under the clapboards. The frame is of solid oak, and very heavy. The History of Concord, at the time of its publication, gave the date of building as 1748. My grandfather bought the house and moved it from the fort to his farm. Grandmother lived in the house sixty years. My childhood caught glimpses of that old New England life, and had the advantage of two generations; for while I played the games of the present day, my play-room was the attic, with its loom and spinning-wheel, its tin bakers and mysterious chest."
Mrs. Worthen graduated from the New Hampshire State Normal School in 1873; from the National Normal of Lebanon, Ohio, in 1875, and from the California State Normal School at San Jose in 1877, and taught in San Mateo, Alameda and Santa Clara counties for fifteen years. Her parents J. T. Hoyt, born in New Hampshire, and Mary J. (Cronkleton) Hoyt, a native of Ohio, came to California in 1875, locating in San Mateo and later in San Jose, where they both passed away. Mrs. Worthen is a member of Sequoia Chapter, D.A.R., of San Francisco; is past matron of San Jose Chapter No. 31, O. E. S., and belongs to the W. R. C. and Ladies of the G. A. R., and has served on the board of trustees of the Willow Glen school for a number of years.
Mr. Worthen has been the owner of valuable ranch property, and was vitally interested in the cause of the farmers, and as early as 1893 became affiliated with the Patrons of Husbandry. During the years of 1899 to 1901 he served as master of the State Grange, and because of his very efficient and untiring service, he was presented with a beautiful medal by San Jose Grange No. 10, of which he was master two years. He represented the Grange at their National Convention held at Springfield, Ohio. His report of the "Committee on Trusts" was well received, and this report was instrumental in bringing about a solution of the trust problem, and exposing the crooked working of many of the trusts. For the past twenty-five years he has made annual crop reports to the U. S. Government from Santa Clara County; he has also given of his time and efforts to the preservation of the forests and water-sheds of California. During his residence in Santa Clara County; he has bought, improved and sold several ranches.
Fraternally, he is a member of the Masons, Friendship Lodge No. 210, F. & A. M., and served as master in 1899-1900, and for ten years has been Chaplain; he is also a member of San Jose Chapter, No. 31, O. E. S. He is a thirty-second degree Scottish Rite Mason, and is a frequent contributor to the "New Age." the official organ of the Supreme Council of the thirty-third and last degree of the A. & A. Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction U. S. A. He is a member of Sheridan-Dix Post No. 7, G. A. R., Department of California and Nevada, of which he was commander in 1920. Mr. Worthen is a writer of prose and poetry and contributes an article each month to the official bulletin of Friendship Lodge No. 210, F. & A. M. Mr. and Mrs. Worthen are members of Trinity Episcopal Church.
In January, 1921, Mr. and Mrs. worthen disposed of their valuable ranch property, and erected an artistic, modern home at 1014 Willow Street, San Jose. It has been the privilege of Mr. and Mrs. Worthen to be identified with the growth of California since 1875. The part which they have borne in the work of development is that which each patriotic and public-spirted citizen feels it an honor to bear, and they feel repaid for whatever sacrifice they have made. The Worthens are a patriotic family, members of which have participated in every war in our country since the Revolution.
Mr. Worthen is the author of many beautiful poems, and herewith is given one of his favorites, entitled
My Golden State, of thee I sing.
Let ev'ry voice loud anthems ring;
Thy mountains high, thy giant trees,
Thy land-locked bays, thy sail-decked seas.
Thy sun-kissed skies, thy balmy breeze,
Thy wealth of flowers and humming bees.
Of all the daughters East and West,
Thine, California, are the best.
Dame Nature yields her bounteous store
To feed and clothe the rich and poor.
Law, love, toil, consistency
And happy homes with constancy,
The bulwarks of Democracy,
Be these our stay from day to day.
Then Peace shall flow from peaks of snow
To where the golden poppies grow.
Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 453
NOTE_from the State Normal School
M. Jennie Hoyt (Mrs. Geo. W. Worthen) - San Mateo County.
Present address, San José.
Has taught constantly since graduation, and is still teaching. Married
June 7, 1878.
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