Our Grandpa Timothy Must Have Been There Helping Me!
Far away, but not far enough from the Washington D.C. political scene, I felt good about myself and the folks I was with at the 2009 Painted Post Woodworth Reunion.
Woodworths are unpretentious people who jell well together, and unlike many social gatherings today, are unaffected by most of the trite values structuring our contemporary American society.
Maybe that is because we all have at least a few Woodworth genes and/or our Woodworth spirits were truly with us during those few days we were together, enjoying the festivities just as much as we did.
Maybe credit should go to the several Woodworth ministers in our genealogy and present day ministers in attendance at the reunion whose strong moral values were catchy and helped us be thankful for the simpler things of life.
At the reunion picnic, Fran Ambroselli told us several tales about how Woodworth spirits helped her to restore the North Cohocton Woodworth House to the beautiful bed and breakfast it is today.
The Tuesday reunion picnic at the Woodworth bed and breakfast was the type of large traditional family gathering which would have overjoyed our ancestor spirits, as it did for sure, all of the living attendees.
Many of us toured the old Woodworth bed and breakfast, which had its heyday about 1850, ate fried chicken, a good traditional picnic lunch, and renewed our friendships with the close to eighty family members in attendance.
Before the picnic, some of us toured the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum and Pleasant Valley Winery, where some of us joined the spiritual world ourselves.
Our immediate family has some ties to the Finger Lakes Region. While the last male Woodworth in our line, our fourth great grandfather Timothy Woodworth (1758 – 1838) never made it past Royalton, Vermont, his oldest daughter, Eunice Woodworth (1785 – 1822), our third great grandmother and the first wife of Samuel Bills (1778 – 1840), lived and died in Batavia, NY, a mere 85 miles away from the North Cohocton bed and breakfast..
On Monday, the first day of the reunion, we visited the Abner Woodworth House in Penn Yan. Our immediate family’s closest connection to its former owner, War of 1812 General Abner Woodworth
(1785 – 1869), ‘was Joseph Woodworth (1671 – 1745), whose grandfather was Walter Woodworth, the first Woodworth in our family to come to America about 1630.
Joseph Woodworth had two sons, Joseph, who was Abner Woodworth’s father, and Jedediah Woodworth, who was our Timothy Woodworth’s grandfather, and who he lived with after his father and mother died in 1768 and he returned from Nova Scotia to his birth place in Lebanon, CT. I think that makes Abner Woodworth Timothy’s uncle.
The Abner Woodworth house is in near shambles, but still impressive and surprisingly close in architectural design to the North Cohocton Woodworth bed and breakfast. We should convince Fran to restore the Abner Woodworth house back to its former grandeur. Maybe we could recruit more Woodworth spirits to help her out.
After the house visit, the Woodworth group traveled on to pay their respects at Abner Woodworth’s
grave in nearby Lakeview Cemetery and later lunched at a Watkins Glenn waterfront mall restaurant, adjacent to beautiful Seneca Lake, which was troubled by rough waters that day.
Some of us still went on an hour boat trip on Seneca Lake. The captain and first mate told us about the Sullivan Expedition in the Summer of 1779 in which the colonists battled the Iroquois and effectively took over their land. Many of the soldiers in that expedition were offered land bounties and came back after the Revolutionary War to settle in the area.
While I have not researched it out, Abner Woodworth was probably offered the standard 300 acres of land parcel for his service as a general in the War of 1812 and emigrated to Western NY for that reason. The area around the Penn Tan house we visited may have been part of the original land grant.
Wednesday, time was fleeting and we had to make the best of our morning at the Corning Museum of Glass, and return to the hotel before we spent all our transportation money back home in the gift shop.
The Wednesday night banquet at the Holiday Inn Extended, Horseheads, NY was our grand finale.
At the well attended banquet, Erich Woodworth emceed and made an excellent presentation about our common Woodworth ancestor and author of the “Old Oaken Bucket,” Samuel Coleridge Woodworth. Many of us learned his lyric in first grade, without knowing our ancestor wrote it.
And no, the Canadians Woodworths did not win all the door prizes this time but I won’t tell you who did.
In free time during evenings, Marvin and Diane led excellent discussions about Woodworth Genealogy, History, and DNA, from which all of us learned more about our past.
Lowell Woodworth organized the reunion and made sure the fun activities went without a hitch – we’d be lost without Lowell heading up these reunions and he deserves a lot of credit.
Most of the family members stayed at the Hampton Inn, Painted Post, which provided us meticulous rooms,
a spacious hospitality room, and a full daily breakfast, including porridge, to get us started on a high note each day.
Joanne and I went on to Batavia Thursday morning to research land records for Samuel Bills and Eunice Woodworth at the Batavia Main Library, toured the Holland Land Record Museum, and slumbered along the Genesee River as our ancestors had done so many years before.
Thursday night at Auburn NY, I went back to my former life photographing the young Rookie A NY-Penn Auburn Doubleday and State College Spikes ball players recently drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates.
On Friday we got lost crossing Bear Mountain to West Point looking for a gas station and barely saw the academy.
I think the Woodworth spirits were in their glory during the reunion. I believe many more spirits made the trip to join the local spirits helping Fran at the house. I felt their presence every where, especially at the Woodworth houses.
I believe my photography at the reunion was my finest ever but I can’t explain why. Each picture was well composed and perfectly exposed.. I had to be inspired. Just maybe, Grandpa Timothy was there helping me. I can’t say that for sure, but I can tell you another thing for sure. He will be at the 2011 reunion. Lebanon, CT. was his home town and he certainly would not miss a reunion there and you know what, neither will I.