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I have spent a lot of time in courthouses and on the web to compile the records found here. I would love your comments, additions or corrections. I will be sure to give you credit for your work.
There are a plethora of items about Caleb Worley, II on the internet. Most carry a hunk of truth with possibly an error or two. I am sure that this one will fall neatly into that category. Once his father died, Caleb seemed to be a young man adrift without an anchor in his early manhood. He asked to come under the care of the Society of Friends and then joined the Quaker church. He then proceeded to recruit men, presumably to fight in the French and Indian War and then absconded his creditors and fled to Virginia where he became a leader in the community and an elder in the Presbyterian church. He sounds, in short, very human. He sounds like a man who believed in God, but had trouble deciding what that belief meant in relation to his walk through this world. This post will try to put down just the documented facts that have been found for this Caleb Worley and leave this romanticizing of him and his motives here.
Caleb, II was of age when his father died in 1751 and assuming that the age of majority in Pennsylvania was 21 years of age in 1751, we can conclude he was born in 1730 at the latest. Caleb, II and his sister, Rebecca Worley Kellin, were made co-executors of their father’s estate. His father’s death pushed Caleb into adulthood but the accounts I have come across with him having had 5 children by a woman named Patience before he came to Virginia do not seem to be grounded in fact. This story seems to originate with Mrs. Helen Davis of Lansing, Illinois who did a great service to Worley researchers when she published an article entitled ‘Kentucky Was Their Home’ in Kentucky Ancestors. She did her research before the days of the internet and google searches which makes her work a true accomplishment. She did make a couple of assumptions and small errors which need to be corrected including this reference to his having had a wife named Patience which Mrs. Davis clearly states is not proven.
What evidence is there or, more correctly, what evidence have I been able to uncover? [Maybe ther is evidnce out there that I have not seen.] There is a record, dated late May of 1751, of a “Caleb Worley and wife Patience of Salisbury twp” selling the land that Caleb I inherited from his father, Francis Worley I, on Conestoga Creek, but as there is no record of a transfer of this land to Caleb II and Caleb I’s will was not probated until June, it is more likely that this record refers to his father selling the land just before his death. Maybe Caleb I’s wife’s name was Patience. No marriage records have been located by this reseacher for either of the Caleb Worleys. Oddly, there is no mention of Caleb I’s wife in his estate records, so perhaps she either died close to the time her husband died or my reckoning is wrong concerning the sale of this land.
However, in April of 1753 “Patience Worley produced a paper condeming her outgoing in marriage” to the Sadsbury Monthly Meeting of Quakers. Does this refer to an event that just took place (which might imply that she was a wife of Caleb II) or had she come to realize her error in marrying outside the society and wrote a note condeming what she had done perhaps several years earlier as a result of her marriage to Caleb, I? Or, maybe this was a completely different Patience Worley.
In August of 1753 Caleb Worley requested ‘to come under the care of Friends’ (aka Quakers) and in 1755 he requested to join the Society at Sadsbury Monthly Meeting. He seems to have struggled with the Quaker’s call to nonviolence because we find him and his uncle or cousin, Francis Worley, both on the list of Waggoners’ Accounts of General Braddock’s Expedition in the same year. Then, in 1758, the meeting was informed “that Caleb Worley hath been enlisting men”, which begs the question enlisting them for what? To fight Indians? To go to Virginia, which is where he was? By that July, the Quakers wrote “that Caleb Worley [had] absconded & defrauded his creditor”. While the Quakers were just getting around to recording his actions in their monthly minutes, Caleb had already moved to Virginia and in that same June of 1758, “Caleb Worley, late of province of Pennsylvania” purchased “250 acres on the east side of the branches of Beaver Creek and adjoining the Tobacco Row Mountains” from William Cabell, Jr. He sold this land about four years later for a tidy profit.
His marriage to Rebecca Allen, daughter of Malcolm and Mary Allen, must have occured shortly after his arrival to Virginia in 1758 because their first daughter, Mary, was born around 1759. In addition to Mary, Caleb and Rebecca would go on to have and raise at least twelve more children. Their names, in what is believed to be correct birth order, were: Mary [already mentioned], David, Malcolm [the first convert to the Shakers in the west], Caleb, Jr., Ann, William, Moses, Nathan [an elder and minister in the Christian church], Rebecca, Martha, Rachel, Joshua, and Mary.
Some mention must be made here about the confusion regarding the two daughters named Mary. Mrs. Helen Davis, who wrote the previously mentioned article ‘Kentucky Was Their Home’, stated that Mary Worley was born 25 May 1759 and that she married Moses Webb. Mrs. Davis also stated that Polly Worley was born 6 January 1784 and, according to a family story, died as a young girl. The problem with this account of the two Marys (Polly was a common nickname for Mary in the seventeen and eighteen hundreds) is that Mary Worley married Moses Webb in 1807 and had several children with him. Moses was born in 1775. Why would he marry a woman almost twenty years his senior and how could that Mary have had more than one or two children in 1808 and later? To back this up, the 1850 census of Woodford County, Ky. showed Moses and Mary Webb, ages 74 and 64 respectively. These ages fit with Moses and Polly, not Moses and Mary the eldest daughter. Moses Webb died July 1859. Mary Webb was living with her daughter Ariel Webb McClure, wife of Alexander McClure, in McCracken County, Ky. in 1860. Mary was listed as 76 which would give her a birth year of 1784, not 1759. Finally, the practice of naming a later child for a deceased sibling was very common at this time. Why would Caleb and Rebecca name a second daughter Mary if the first one was still alive?
Back to our main topic. In 1763 Caleb made a purchase of personal property from his father-in-law, Malcolm Allen, which included a negro, some horses, cattle, and sheep, some furniture, dishes, etc. It sounds as if he and Rebecca were setting up housekeeping on their own so perhaps they had been with living with her parents up until that time. However, it wasn’t until 1769 that we find a land survey for Caleb in Augusta County, Va. for 400 acres along the James River. That same year he purchase another 220 acres on Timber Ridge. Augusta County, Va. at that time encompased all the western portion of Virginia and had no western boundary. In 1770 the southern portion of Augusta County was allotted to Botetourt County and Caleb’s land fell in the new county. Throughout the 1770’s we find records for Caleb Worley in Botetourt County, Virginia serving his community as a surveyor and overseer of the road, performing jury duty, and growing hemp.
In 1781 Caleb was nominated to the position of elder of Sinking Spring and Spreading Spring Presbyterian Church. We find he was confirmed to this position by his mention as an officer of Spreading Spring congregation in 1782 and his signature on a church document from the Sinking Spring congregation in 1784.
Botetourt County records show that Caleb Worley furnished wheat for use in the Revolutionary War between the years of 1780 and 1784. His son David was found a list of those registered for recruitment in the Revolutionary War in Capt. James Smith’s company.
While Caleb Worley purchased 1000 acres in Kentucky County, Va. in 1782, land which would later fall in Mason County, Ky., he continued in Virginia up until about 1786 or 1787. Records show that he was fined in Botetourt County for not reporting to jury duty in 1783, he sold land there in 1785, he was on the tax lists there up until 1786. We find Caleb Worley purchased another 400 acres of land in Kentucky County, Va., on a fork of the Sandy. This land later fell in Fayette County, Ky., in 1785. Finally, in July of 1786, we find a record showing Caleb Worley in Kentucky.