Madison County




By Herman A. Mueller


        This town was laid out and platted by John Todd and George T. Nichols November 5, 1857, and was recorded March 31, 1858. This plat consisted of eight blocks, four blocks on either side of the public highway running south of the present Worthington Church. The location is as follows: commencing at the northeast corner of the southeast quarter of the northeast quarter of Section 32, Township 77, Range 28, Madison Township thence running east 5.25 chains, thence south 21 chains, thence west 10.5 chains, thence north 21.05 chains, thence east to the place of the beginning. John Todd owned the west four blocks and George T. Nichols owned the east four blocks. The land is at present owned by D. H. Trough and H. & J. Olson.

        Mr. Todd was an uncle of J. M. Hurst, son of Hiram Hurst, the first settler in Madison County. George T. Nichols was the father of Mrs. Walter Vance of Winterset, and of Vinton Nichols and Charles Nichols who lived in Madison Township for many years. Some lots were sold in this new town as shown by the transfer book in the Auditor's Office. Several dwelling houses were built in which families lived, and also a store building was put up in 1859 by John Todd and William Hudson, father of Tom Hudson of Winterset. Mr. Hudson died soon after so no store was ever conducted at that time. John Whitenack bought the store building and moved it to his farm, using it for a dwelling. 

        Dave Parsons, Frank Clampitt, and William Clampitt lived in the town at one time. There were two blacksmith shops in this place once on a time. I will quote from the Madisonian Volume 2, Number 11, issued Saturday, September 18, 1858: "Worthington - This is the name of a new town recently laid out in Madison township, this county, through the enterprise of Messrs. Todd and Nichols, the gentlemanly proprietors. It is beautifully located on a smooth prairie on the State road leading from our city to Panora, and about midway between these places. We expect in time it will make a thriving village. The place has lately received a new accession in the shape of a two-horse, big-fisted, double-breasted blacksmith, and he has thrown out a banter that will wrestle or run with any man that wants his horse shod, and if he is thrown down, (the other to take his choice of hold) or out-run, he will shoe the horse for nothing, but if he is the victor he is to have double pay. The match is to come off at Worthington next Saturday, and a large concourse will undoubtedly witness the fun." Possibly some of the old settlers can tell us the name of that blacksmith, and whether that match ever came off. 

        A post office was established June 19, 1861, called North P. O. with Alexander Kirkland as the first postmaster. On October 18, 1863, William H. Clampitt became the postmaster, holding his position until March 13, 1866 when George T. Nichols took over the responsibility. A. M. Clements received the appointment April 30, 1868, and the post office was discontinued August 4, 1869. This was about the time that the Rock Island Railroad was built west from Des Moines to Omaha. Earlham was laid out, and a post office was established there. All hopes of building a town at Worthington had vanished now, however the neighborhood still retains the name of Worthington. The plat was recorded in deed record "E" on page 505.

        Note: The widow of George T. Nichols died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Walter Vance, January 2, 1909.


Transcribed and edited by Kent Transier


Maintained by the County Coordinator

This page was last updated Thursday, 13-Apr-2017 16:53:25 EDT .