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by Vance County Historical Society
Vol. 1, 1984 - Hunter Publ.Co. Winston-Salem, NC
Pages 398

Article 553 - Wortham Lineage, by Barbara Wortham Spain
Only such major part of this article as regards Wortham lineage to about 1821 at the birth of Edward Washington (Ned) Wortham. From that point the article continues only with the descendants of EWW.


John Wortham, who resided in Middlesex County, Virginia prior to 1652, received land grants there. He was a son of Thomas Wortham of Pen-Wortham, a village in England.

Thomas Wortham fought in the battle of Edgehill during the civil war in the time of Charles I. It was a common practice to ship the prisoners to America and sell their service for a term of years. When a young boy, John Wortham was kidnapped, brought to Virginia and sold at Jamestown, Virginia with the prisoners in the year of 1643. After he worked out his term of indenture, he returned to his father in England, went to school and returned to America and settled in Middlesex County.

After he had been stolen in England, his father built a high fence (called a pen) around his house, and that is how the village got its name. Thomas Wortham, the father of John, had come from Wales to England to be an innkeeper.

John first married a lady name Mary; there was at least one child, George, born April 20, 1673. His second wife was Elizabeth who died January 16, 1687; they were parents of at least two children, Oswald, born April 1, 1685, and Elizabeth, born February 20, 1686. John married Prudence Needham, as his third wife, on February 26, 1687. She died February 25, 1688 without issue. It is believed that John married the fourth time. He died June 6, 1694 or June 8, 1692, the latter date recorded in the Middlesex Christ Church Register. His will was probated in August 1692.

John's son, George, married Mary; they were parents of Charles, Samuel, George, William, Ann, John, and James. Samuel (died November 10, 1774) married Margaret. They were the parents of Elizabeth, Mary, Ann, Anner (?), William, Samuel, Charles, and Francis. Margaret (wife) died March 27, 1692.

William, sone of Samuel and Margaret, was born June 13, 1755 in Middlesex Country. He married Tamar Duke of Bute County, North Carolina in 1774 and settled on a vast plantation. According to family tradition, following WIlliam's death, Tamer Duke Wortham married a Mr. Jones who had ten children (of his own). He drove the Wortham children from home and gave the Wortham property to his (own) children and they became rich.

William and Tamer were the parents of ten children: John, James, William, Ben(jamin) Heath, Duke, Robert, Edward, Elizabeth, Mary and Louis(?). John (born March 26, 1775) married Elizabeth Jordan (born January 8. 1781-died October 4, 1870), the daughter of Marcellus Jordan of Warren County. John and Elizabeth were married on February 22, 1799; they had seventeen children including Edward W(ashington)[Ned] born April 3, 1821. Almost every male of the Wortham family named "Edward" was nicknamed "Ned".