Friday, January 23, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #4 Mary Ann Williamson, Who Knitted Her Way To Indianapolis

"Old Woman Knitting a Sock" by Ivan Khrutsky
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Polly [as Mary Ann was also called] decided to go to Indianapolis to trade one day.  So she climbed on her little mule with her knitting.  She rode and she rode and she knitted and she knitted.  Finally, she met a soldier and asked, "How much farther is Indianapolis?"  He answered, "You passed through Indianapolis two miles back!!"

I found this humorous story in One Man's Family, written by Olive Lewis Kolb.  The tale is attributed to Mary Ann's son, Stephen Theodore Worland.

Mary Ann Williamson was born on October 20, 1811 in Kentucky.  (My 4th great grandmother and I share a birthday and a fondness for knitting!)  I don't have any information about her parents. According to Kolb, she may have been an adopted child.

On March 4, 1833, Mary Ann married Stephen Dominic Worland in Marion County, Indiana.  Stephen came from a Catholic family with deep roots in the history of early Maryland.  By 1840, the Worlands had settled in Shelby County, Indiana.  Mary Ann was the mother of 12 children, the oldest of which was my 3rd great grandfather, John William Worland.  Sadly, Mary Ann's three youngest children did not live past infancy.

Sometime between 1859-1860, the Worlands moved to Millwood, Missouri.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, Missouri was divided on the issue of slavery.  By 1863, conditions there were tumultuous and unstable. The Worlands decided to move back to Indiana.  Tilson Vincent Worland, Mary Ann's grandson, recounted the Worland family's return to Indiana from Missouri:

I have heard my father, Stephen Theodore, tell of the trip back to Indiana.  The womenfolk returned by train, but grandfather [Stephen Dominic Worland] and his six sons drove through bringing six horses. They ferried the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and followed the old National Trail from St. Louis through Terre Haute, Indiana, to Indianapolis.  It took a week to travel from St. Louis to Terre Haute and they never saw the sun all week.  They had a dog, and after reaching Indiana ... the dog disappeared and several weeks later showed up at the old Missouri home.  How the dog crossed the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers on his return home is still a mystery.   (One Man's Family by Olive Lewis Kolb, pages 1044-1045.)

In 1879, two of Mary Ann's children, 43 year-old Sarah Ann Oefelein and 35 year-old George Tilson Worland, died within the space of two months.  I wonder if there was an epidemic of some kind in Shelby County, Indiana at that time.

Mary Ann Williamson Worland died on December 23, 1894 at the home of her son Stephen and was buried next to her husband at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Cemetery in Waldron, Shelby County, Indiana.

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