History of Bucks County, Pa Volume 3 by William H. Davis
Names and Page # Index


   GEORGE C. WORSTALL, one of the most prominent business men of Newtown, is one of the representatives of a family that have been prominent in the business affairs of Newtown for four generations, and extending over a period of one hundred and thirty years.  He was born in Upper Makefield, October 25, 1839, and is a son of Edward H. and Maria E. (SMITH) WORSTALL.

   The family is said to have been of Welsh origin, but nothing definite is known of the ancestry of John WORSTALL or of his whereabouts until his proposal of marriage at Middletown Friends Meeting in 7 mo., 1720, to Elizabeth WILDMAN, daughter of Martin and Ann WILDMAN, who was born in Settle, Yorkshire, England, 9 mo. 19, 1689, and came with her parents to Bucks county, and they settled in Middletown township.  John and Elizabeth WORSTALL were the parents of three sons: John, born 7 mo. 4, 1722; Edward, born 5 mo. 21, 1724; and James, born 12 mo. 26, 1726-7.  The mother died when James was but two weeks old, and the children were reared by their maternal relatives in Middletown.  Nothing is known of the descendants of Edward WORSTALL.  James married Esther SATTERTHWAITE, and removed to Makefield in 1759, and has left numerous descendants in Bucks county.

   John WORSTALL, eldest son of John and Elizabeth (WILDMAN) WORSTALL, born in Middletown, 7 mo. 4, 1722, married 8 mo. 2, 1746, Mary HIGGS, daughter of James and Elizabeth (ANDREWS) HIGGS, of Bristol, who were married in 1719.  James HIGGS died in 1736, leaving a son James and four daughters: Mary; Elizabeth, who married Thomas HUTCHINSON; Jane, who married Mahlon HALL; and Ann.  Mary HIGGS WORSTALL was born in 1720, and died at the residence of her son Joseph, in Newtown, 8 mo., 1808, at the age of eighty-eight years.

   Joseph WORSTALL, son of John and Mary (HIGGS) WORSTALL, was born in Middletown, 1 mo. 13, 1750, and married, in 1778, Susanna HIBBS, daughter of William and Anna (CARTER) HIBBS of Middletown.  In 1774 he purchased of General Francis MURRAY a tract of land on Penn street, in Newtown, part of the old court house grounds, and erected thereon a tannery which he operated for fifty-five years.  He subsequently purchased considerable other land adjoining, and erected houses and other buildings and carried on an extensive business.  In addition to the tanning business he carried on the manufacture of shoes on a large scale, and employed a number of workmen.  He also ground and shipped an immense amount of bark.  The bark after being cured and ground was packed in hogsheads and hauled to the Delaware, where it was loaded on the Durham boats then plying on the Delaware, and carried to Philadelphia, where it was shipped to France and other parts of the old world.  It is related that George Washington, while he had his headquarters at Newtown, had a pair of boots made at the shops of Mr. WORSTALL, from leather tanned on the premises, which he wore during the revolutionary war.  Mr. WORSTALL also owned about fifty acres of land adjoining his business place on the south, and carried on farming in connection with his other business enterprises, in which he was assisted by his sons Joseph and James.  The successful business career of the family was suddenly wrecked in February, 1829, when his large currying shops, bark mill house, wagon house, barns and an immense amount of bark, implements and farm produce were consumed by fire.  There was no insurance on the property, and Mr. WORSTALL was financially ruined, and in his old age saw the savings of a life-time of industry and business activity swept away in a single night.  He sacrificed the greater part of his real estate for the payment of his debts, retaining the tannery and his residence and some of his other houses.  Being unable to carry on the tannery, however, with his limited means, he sold that also in 1831, and it remained out of the family until 1842, when it was purchased and remodeled by his grandson Edward H. WORSTALL.  Joseph WORSTALL, Sr., died 1 mo. 13, 1841, at the age of ninety-one years, having lived a long life of extraordinary business activity.  His children were:

   1. Elizabeth, born 9 mo. 3, 1779, married in 1807, James SLEEPER.

   2. Sarah, born 6 mo. 1, 1781, married in 1803 Edward HICKS, the eminent minister among Friends.

   3. Joseph, born 2 mo. 8, 1783, see forward.

   4. James, born 2 mo. 20, 1786, married (first) Jane EASTBURN and (second) Sarah SMITH; died 10 mo. 7, 1839, without issue.

   5. John, born 2 mo. 10, 1790, died unmarried.

   6. Mary, born 6 mo. 19, 1791, died unmarried late in life.

   7. Amos T., born 4 mo. 25, 1793, married Ann CHAMBERS.

   8. Susanna, born 11 mo. 25, 1797, married Amos PHIPPS, of Plymouth, Montgomery county.

   Joseph WORSTALL, eldest son of Joseph and Susanna (HIBBS) WORSTALL, was born and reared in Newtown, and was actively associated with his father in the business enterprises established by the latter.  He was one of the proprietors of the tannery at the time it was burned in 1828, and suffered heavily in the financial wreck.  His remaining days were spent in Newtown township on a farm he purchased, and where he died April 1, 1856.   He married in 1808 Jane HESTON, daughter of Colonel Edward HESTON, the founder of Hestonville, Philadelphia, who was a native of Makefield township, Bucks county, being a son of Jacob and Mary (WARNER) HESTON, and a grandson of Zebulon HESTON, an early settler in Wrightstown.  He was captain of the Sixth Company, Seventh Battalion, Philadelphia County Militia, in 1777, and later was commissioned lieutenant-colonel.

   The children of Joseph and Jane (HESTON) WORSTALL were as follows:   Sarah Ann, who married Jacob HIBBS; Edward H., see forward; Hannah C., who married (first) Pearson SCARBOROUGH, of Solebury, and (second) Henry MAGILL; Joseph, who married Mary Ann VAN BUSKIRK, and lived and died in Warrington; and Isaac H., of Solebury, who married (first) Sarah Jane ELY and (second), Amy ELY.

   Edward H. WORSTALL, eldest son of Joseph and Jane (HESTON) WORSTALL, was born at the old homestead on Penn street, Newtown, October 19, 1811, and was reared and educated in Newtown.  He married November 1, 1838, Maria E. SMITH, daughter of Joseph and Mary (BETTS) SMITH of Upper Makefield.  The descent of George WORSTALL in the SMITH line is as follows:  1. William SMITH, 1684, Wrightstown, formerly of Yorkshire, England, married Mary CROASDALE, 9 mo. 20,1690, and had nine children; his second wife was Mercy _____________, by whom he had seven children.  2. Thomas SMITH married Elizabeth SANDERS, 6 mo. 1727, and they had eight children; they were the first settlers on the Windybush farm.  3. Samuel SMITH married Jane SCHOFIELD, 1750, and they had ten children.  4. Thomas SMITH married Elanor SMITH, 4 mo. 15, 1778, and they had six children.  5. Joseph SMITH married Mary. BETTS, 1808, and they had five children.  6. Maria SMITH married Edward H. WORSTALL, 11 mo. 1, 1838, and they had five children.  7. George C. WORSTALL.

   After his marriage Edward H. WORSTALL located at the SMITH tannery at Windy Bush, in Upper Makefield, where he resided until April 1, 1842, when he purchased the old tannery property in Newtown, formerly his grandfather's, that had been recently sold by the sheriff as the property of Thomas H. BUCKMAN, and revived the old industry so long conducted by his father and grandfather.  He purchased the following year the house where his grandfather lived and died, and subsequently purchased much of the property that had belonged to his grandfather, as well as thirty-five acres of land, the greater part of which had belonged to his uncle James WORSTALL.  He operated the tannery and farm until 1882, during the last eleven years of the time having associated with him his youngest son, Willis G. WORSTALL.  During the last ten years of his life he lived retired in Newtown.  He died February 18, 1891, and his widow Maria E. on January 11, 1898, Their children were: George C., the subject of this sketch; Lavinia, wife of George C. BLACKFAN, of Newtown; Josiah S., born September 7, 1843, died March 3, 1883; Willis G., born July 9, 1846, married Lydia CROASDALE, and is now a member of the firm of WORSTALL Brothers & Co.; and Lettie, born February 28, 1850, wife of William EYRE, of Newtown.  Josiah was for a number of years associated in business with his brother George C., in Newtown; he married Sarah J. UBER, and left two daughters, now residing in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

   George C. WORSTALL was born in Upper Makefield, but his parents having removed to Newtown when he has two and a half years old he was reared in that town and has spent his whole life there.  On his marriage in 1865 he settled on a farm on the Yardleyville turnpike, purchased for him by his father of Nicholas WILLARD, and resided there until 1893.  In 1868 in connection with his brother Josiah, he started a brick and coal yard thereon, which they conducted until 1880, when they removed to the present location of the firm of WORSTALL Brothers, where they had started a hay press in connection with their younger brother Willis G. a year previous.  The old tannery was abandoned in 1882 and torn down in 1887, and the land laid out in building lots and built upon.  In 1880 the firm erected a feed mill, and eight years later built a full roller process flour mill, which with the brick making, feed and coal business they still conduct.  The hay business was abandoned in 1893, being burned out in February.

   George C. WORSTALL has been one of the pioneers in practically every public improvement and corporate enterprise in and about Newtown since his arrival at manhood.  Edward H. WORSTALL & Sons owned a twentieth interest in the Newtown and Philadelphia Railroad, and were among the most active promoters of that enterprise.  George C. was chairman of the meeting that organized the Newtown Artesian Water Company in 1888, that now supplies the town with water, and has been its president from its organization to the present time.  He was one of the organizers and an officer of the Newtown Building Association in 1867, and is a director in the present Association, organized in 1887.  He was one of the organizers of the Newtown Electric Light and Power Company, and a director since its organization.  He was one of the active promoters and secretary of the Newtown, Langhorne & Bristol Railway Company, and of the Newtown Electric Railway Company, that built the trolley line from Bristol to Newtown and to Doylestown, and is still secretary and director of the latter company.  He was one of the organizers of the Standard Telephone Company, as well as of the Newtown & Yardley Street Railway Company, of which he is president.  He is president of the Newtown Canning Company, secretary of the Excelsior Bobbin and Spool Company, a director of the Newtown Cemetery Company, director of the Bridgetown & Newtown Turnpike Company, and president of the Newtown Reliance Horse Company.  During the Civil war he twice responded to his country's call, first in 1862, when he went to Harrison's Landing, Virginia, as a nurse, and assisted in caring for the sick and wounded, and second in 1863 as a member of an emergency regiment.  He is a member of the T. H. Wyncoop Post, G. A. R., Newtown.

   He married, March 22, 1865, Hulda A. PRICE, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (BETTS) PRICE of Buckingham, who died January 1, 1899.  They were the parents of two children,-Edward A., who died in his seventh year, and Emma L., residing with her father in Newtown.  He married (second) February 19, 1902, Mary W. BARNSELY, daughter of John and Mary (HOUGH) BARNSLEY, of Newtown, who died September 24, 1904.

   In politics Mr. WORSTALL is a Republican.  He has served several terms in town council, and filled other local offices.  He was appointed postmaster of Newtown in February, 1901, and was re-appointed in February, 1905.  He is a member of the Bucks County Historical Society, and actively interested in its work.

Text taken from pages 190 to 192 of:

Davis, William W. H., A.M., History of Bucks County, Pennsylvania [New York-Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1905] Volume III

Transcribed MAY, 2001 by GRACE T. BURTON of PA as part of the Bucks Co., Early Family Project, www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/bucksindex.html

Published May 2001 on the Bucks County, Pa., USGenWeb pages at www.rootsweb.com/~pabucks/

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