By O. N. Worden--1868


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Every person must account for himself or herself, and most in the main be his or her own exemplar. Yet we all are more or less influenced by those most intimate with us, and by the events of our own times. In these ways, impressions are made, and are intensified. It is therefore advisable to hold up, for attention and honor, person of worth, whose powers were well employed; and the closer the connection between them and ourselves, the stronger is that influence. Hence the very natural desire to know something of our progenitors and other relatives, is not only harmless, but it may also be useful, for it generally stimulates ambition to imitate good deeds and to be worthy inheritors of fairly-earned respectability, inasmuch as the better in mortal life is mostly kept in memory, while the worse sinks in oblivion.

From Childhood, personal narratives were my favorite reading. Biographies were the only portions of The Book I really studied, even while committing to memory thousands of its verses. Its pure precepts were mentally assented to, but the DEEDS of its illustrious character awoke love and profound veneration. Nor is this feeling confined to youth. Most of us cherish towards worthy personages of every age the sentiment of Sir Wiliam Jones--

"Around thy mystic altar, heavenly Truth!
I kneel in manhood as I knelt in youth;
There let me kneel till this dull form decay,
And life's last shade be brightened by the ray;
Then shall my soul, now lost in clouds below,
Soar without bound; without consuming, glow."

On my mother's side--see page 118--ancestors had been traced back about 800 years. (The late Dea. Lewis Mills Norton, of Goshen, had a record of a thousand descendants of David Norton, and a Norton Genealogy was projected by C. B. Norton of New York before the Rebellion.) On my father's side, I knew of no records; none of his kin lived near; and he was too much and too earnestly absorbed in his high calling to spend much time on mere personal matters. His written religious experience, now in my hands, contains most of the information obtained though him. But I began early to put on paper every fact or scrap of a hint I heard or saw respecting his family.

The four brothers-- and especially Walt and Jesse, the two younger, kept up ther acquaintance. Dolly, Betsey, and Avis had died; but of Abigail and Susan--the two sister remaining--my father knew nothing since William and Abigail Mitchell left Central New York, over fifty years ago, to hew out a home for themselves in the wilds of the then extreme West. He and his brothers Wait and Gideon sighed to hear from their favorite "Nabby;" but one after another they passed away without knowing that she had crossed the Jordan of death over thrity years before them.

The Mitchell family (p. 53 to 72) were cut off from any knowledge of their Worden kindred for half a century. Of course, they often talked about those they had left behind in "the East." They mourned particulary the loss of "uncle Jesse," (p. 108). He had visited them in New York, while yet emaciated from camp fever: he sang so pleasantly that the children cried when he left, for their mother thought him dying with consumption, and so they long counted him among the early dead--not knowing that he was for forty years afterwards a robust man of 200 pounds wieght!

During these fifty years of isolation from their kindred, the Mitchell family record had made the extraordinary gain of over 300, so that they never lacked for company. Over fourteen years past, descendants of William and Abigail Mitchell, and of John and Jane Worden --double cousins-- had dwelt in neighboring towns, ignorant of each others' existence. Several had passed each others' residences, and transacted business in the same places, without recogniton.

A portion of the families of Gideon, Avis, Wait and Jesse made occassional visits together, and wrote letters -- but all the others were strangers for years. We knew the names of our grandfather's family -- that he had brothers Nathan and Joseph in Vermont, and an uncle Peter in Massachusetts --see p. 122, 133-- but beyond that we knew next to nothing of our kindred or of our ancestry.

Source: "Worden Family Record By O.N. Worden--1868." Pages 5-7, Paper Covered Edition.

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