Joshua Worley was born 22 February 1759 in Chesterfield Co., Virginia. From close relations throughout the years of their lives, I believe that he was a brother of Reynaud or Rainey Worley. Karen Worley also has Joshua and Rainey Worley as brothers, both believed to be the sons of Joseph Worley, who is believed to have been the son of John Worley, Jr., who was the son of John Worley and Esther [–?–] of Powhatan, Cumberland, Goochland, and Henrico County. [They stayed put, the county boundaries kept changing.] Most of the evidence is circumstantial, but it is all there is to go on at present.
Joshua Worley’s pension declaration taken at Bedford County Circuit Court on 23 Sept. 1833 [National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC] stated that Joshua was born 22 February 1759 in Chesterfield Co., Va. It seems in giving his deposition that Joshua had originally thought his birth year to be 1766 but becomes convinced through the recollections of others that it must have been about 1759. I am sure that even he thought that if he claimed to have enlisted at age ten, he might not get that pension! In March 1776 he volunteered in a minute company of militia from Charlotte Co., Virginia and was called up to active duty the same month. Joshua served as both a private and a corporal during his various tours of duty and took part in the Battle at Guilford Court House, 15 March 1781. He was discharged from the army the following month.
Karen Worley’s extensive work on the Worley family shows Joshua Worley began paying personal property taxes in 1785 at Charlotte County, Va. In at least one year, he paid in bordering Campbell county. In 1786 Joshua purchased 100 acres on the waters of Little Cub Creek in Charlotte County, and in 1787 he was licensed as a Methodist minister in that county. He married many couples in Charlotte and Campbell counties during the years of his ministry.
Beginning in 1788 Joshua Worley paid tax on 2 tithables. The question is, who was the other tithable? I believe that it was his brother, Reynard or Renny. Renny Worley paid taxes for the first time in Campbell County in 1787, the year he married Nancy Worley, while Joshua paid in Charlotte County. The following year and until 1799 Joshua paid for two tithables but Renny is nowhere to be found. When he does reappear Joshua only pays for one tithable.
Joshua bought his first land in March 1792. He purchased 80 acres from William Copeland on Horse Pen Creek, bordering Worley’s current line “where said Copeland now lives, where John Copeland formerly lived.” William Copeland was most likely his brother, Daniel Worley’s, father-in-law. When Daniel married Rachel Copeland in 1778, Joshua Worley performed the ceremony. The following spring he purchased another 50 acres, this time from Henry Hines.
The following decade finds Joshua still in Charlotte county but with 3 tithables and 3 horses to pay taxes on. Who are the extra two mystery men? Since Joshua was a minister they could have been anyone from a church member who needed a place to stay to a relative. It is possible that Joshua had a family but no record of a marriage for him has been found prior to his marriage on 20 Mar 1808 to Nancy Garland in Charlotte Co., Virginia. She was the daughter of “Peter Garland, Captain in the Revolution [Sixth Virginia Continental Reg’t], Representative of Lunenburg County in the legislature, 1794.”
The 1810 census of Charlotte County had Joshua Worley’s household containing a boy under the age of 10; a woman of 26 to 44 years who I assume is Nancy; Joshua, whose age is given as over 45 years; another woman whose age is given as over 45 years who is probably Nancy’s sister Susannah; and two slaves. They are entered beside Reynard Whorley, Joshua’s brother, and are 4 entries below Martha Garland, Nancy’s mother, and 3 entries below David Garland who signed the bond for Nancy’s wedding. David was Nancy’s brother who was also mentioned in Peter Garland’s Revolutionary War pension papers.
In 1813 Joshua Worley sold to “Reno” Worley 70 acres on Horse Pen Creek, bounded by Todd, “the road” and the mill path. Joshua reserved 1 acre for a meeting house. This appears to be the land Joshua purchased from William Copeland.
Rev’d. Joshua Worley was listed in the 1820 Census of Charlotte County where his household contained one boy, aged between 10 and 16 years old; a boy and a girl, both under 10 years of age; and Joshua, whose age is again given as over 45 years. The older boy may have been the boy listed in the 1810 census with Joshua and Nancy as being under the age of 10 years, possibly a son of the couple. He appears to have died before reaching adulthood because he is not listed in Joshua’s will. The younger boy and girl are Joshua Jeter Worley and Martha G. [Garland?] Worley. These two are mentioned in the will of their father and inherit his estate. Joshua owned 5 slaves in 1820; four males, two boys under 14, and 2 young men between 14 and 26 years; and one girl under 14 years of age. Nancy does not seem to be listed in this census and may have passed away. Other Worley’s listed on the same page of the Charlotte County census are Thos. S., Rain, and John. However, this is an alphabetical list so relationships among these Worley must be proven and not assumed. The marriage record of Thomas S. Worley to Jane Carwiles in 1813 states that his father was Raine Worley. The couple was married by Thomas’ uncle, Joshua.
Joshua Worley moved to Bedford County about Christmastime, 1828, as stated in his pension papers. He further claimed that he knew of only two people in Bedford who could confirm his service, a John Oden and a Nancy Worley. I thought for some time that this must have been referring to his wife, Nancy Garland Worley, but I now think it was speaking of Rainey’s wife, Nancy. I am guessing in thinking that perhaps Joshua’s wife Nancy died and Joshua moved to Bedford to have help with his children from his brother Rainey and his family.
A look at the 1830 census of Bedford County shows Joshua with a ridiculously large household. After wondering for several years who all the people were, it dawned on me that Rainy Worley is nowhere to be found in the 1830 census, but is found every other year. Perhaps he was living with his brother and some of the extra people belonged to him. There was a boy under five years that I cannot place. There was a boy 10-15 years old who I believe to be Joshua’s son and namesake, Joshua J. Worley. A girl 15 to 20 years of age who was Joshua’s daughter, Martha. There was a 30 to 40 year-old man who was probably one of Rainey’s sons. [In the 1820 census Rain Worley had three sons and four daughters. One of those sons was John M. Worley who married Sarah “Sally” Wright, daughter of John Wright and Mary Hunter Wright, in 1829. John M Worley was listed separately in the 1830 census. One of those sons has gone missing and the last was still at home. The four girls that were living with Rainey and his wife Nancy in 1820 were all still at home. One daughter, Martha, married Elijah Barker in 1833, a man many decades her senior. Joshua had two male slaves and three females listed in this census. The home two houses up from Joshua’s belonged to Charles B. Reynolds (Charles Bright Reynolds) who has been listed by some as the father of John A. Reynolds who married Martha G. Worley, the daughter of Joshua.
Joshua Worley’s wrote his will 11 November 1834. “I Joshua Worley of the county of Bedford and State of Virginia, do hereby make my last will and testament in manner and form following that is to say. First I desire after my decease that all my just debts shall be paid and desire that my executors hereinafter mentioned do first sell the land on which I now reside (on such terms as they may think best) and pay to my creditors the net amount of the money arising from such sale, and if there should remain a balance of my debts unpaid, I do hereby authorize my executors to sell as much of my personal estate as may be sufficient to satisfy the same. Secondly, the balance of my estate I give to my two children, Martha G. Worley and Joshua J. Worley to be equally divided between them. And lastly I do hereby by constitute and appoint my friends Martin P. Burk and Bernard Rucker executors of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other or former wills or testaments by me heretofore made. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my seal this 11th day of November, 1834. Joshua Worley
[The last will and testament of Joshua Worley deceased was proven in court 11/24/1834 by oath of Robert McClintock and 11/26/1834 by oath of Jesse Coffee.].
Joshua Worley died in Bedford County 15 November 1834 leaving two children, Martha G. and Joshua J. Worley.