Compiled by Richard Kay Wortman.
Edna Worthley’s grandparents were Jacob Howard and Deborah (Hayford) Howard of Phillips, Franklin County, Maine.
Edna Worthley’s parents were Albert (Bert) Worthley and Alice Howard (sister to Richard Howard, publisher of the Traveler) Worthley.
Albert Worthley was born June 20, 1846, in Maine. He came to Arkansas City, Kansas in November of 1880 for a visit. The family moved to Arkansas City in early 1882.
Arkansas City Traveler, January 25, 1882.
Last Saturday witnessed quite a delegation from Phillips, Maine, some of whom come only upon a visit to Sunny Cowley, while some have finally decided to cast their future lot in our city. Among the latter we may mention Mrs. Sumner Whitney, mother of the Howard boys, and her daughter, Mrs. Albert Worthley, Bert Worthley and daughter, and Geo. Read. We extend to them a hearty welcome and trust they may find in their new associations nothing to cause regret for the step they have just taken.
Arkansas City Traveler, March 1, 1882.
Messrs. Worthley, Bealls, and Read, who have been visiting friends in this city for several weeks past, started on Monday by wagon for Arkansas, whither they go with the intention of investing in young stock.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 16, 1882.
Mr. Edwards, who hauls the stone for our sidewalks, was bitten on the hand by a bird dog of Worthley’s last Sunday as he was walking along the street. The dog was tied up, and has since bitten two dogs, and it is supposed the animal is mad.
Arkansas City Traveler, August 23, 1882.
Bert Worthley’s dog was not mad, as stated in last week’s issue. It has since died, doubtless from poisoning. Its peculiar actions were not understood, and hence the report arose that he was mad.
Arkansas City Traveler, November 1, 1882.
GRAMMAR DEPARTMENT. The following were neither absent nor tardy during the past month: Angie Small, Flora Gould, Nina Pickering, Maggie Ford, Edna Worthley, Katie Warren, Myrtle McNelly, Thaddeus Jones, Nellie Patterson, Belle Hart, Guy West, Robert Warren.
Arkansas City Traveler, November 29, 1882.
Bert Worthley, who has been tearing around cattle hunting in the wilds of Arkansas for several months, returned to the city last week looking as hearty as ever.
Arkansas City Traveler, November 21, 1883.
Mrs. S. Whitney, mother of George and Charles Howard, who has been spending the summer in Maine, returned to this city last week, and will make her home during the winter with Mrs. Worthley.
Arkansas City Traveler, Supplement, December 12, 1883.
The following named pupils were imperfect in deportment during the third month and received 65 percent: Sarepta Abrams, Sammie Beall, Alice Lane, Robert A. Nipp, Frank Wright, Lida Whitney, Frank Barnett, Ella Crocker, Edith Marshall, W. S. Pickering, Edna Worthley, Mary Dakin. C. T. ATKINSON, Teacher.
Arkansas City Traveler, January 16, 1884.
High School Report. The following pupils of the High School department were perfect in deportment and received 100 percent: Mahlon Arnett, Frank Barnett, Ella Crocker, Mary Dakin, Jacob Endicott, Lizzie Gilbert, Flora Gould, John Kirkpatrick, Rose Morse, Fred McLaughlin, Jessie Norton, Dora Pearson, Carrie Rice, Mountferd Scott, Horace Vaughn, Martin Warren, Clarence Thompson, Sarepta Abrams, Sammy Beall, Sarah Crocker, Mollie Duncan, Effie Gilstrap, Laura Gould, Laura Holloway, Eddie Marshall, Minnie McIntire, Howard Maxwell, Robert Nipp, Walter Pickering, Alvan Sankey, Emma Theaker, Edna Worthley, Lida Whitney, Lillie Purdy, Eva Splawn. C. T. Atkinson, Teacher.
Arkansas City Republican, February 16, 1884.
Miss Edna Worthley returned to school Monday, after an absence of one month. Her absence was caused by sickness at her home. If Miss Edna was a less studious pupil, we would doubt her catching up, but as it is, she will soon come to the front.
Arkansas City Republican, February 23, 1884.
Mrs. Worthley paid the school an appreciation visit last Friday afternoon; she was very much pleased with the way the parsing match was conducted. Now a word to parents, you should take Mrs. Worthley as a criterion and visit the school yourself. It would show that you were interested in the welfare of your pupils, and teacher. During this term there has been but twenty visitors, that is what you would call visitors. It’s something to think about and act upon. If you had as many swine some place, you would go to see them at least once a week, and surely you could spare time enough to visit the school once in nine months. “Well,” says one, “there is a teacher at school to attend to the children.” So there is but that is not it, do you know for yourself how your pupil is getting along? Do you suppose if your pupil is at the foot of his class, he will tell you as quickly as he would if he was head unless you ask him? Come and see the position of each pupil in his or her classes and you will know how to talk to them, and what advice to give, or how to compliment your children.
Arkansas City Republican, March 15, 1884.
The following pupils of the high school department were perfect in deportment during the sixth month of the term: Mahlon Arnett, Cora Armstead, Sammie Beall, Joseph Campbell, Sarah Crocker, D. C. Duncan, Jacob Endicott, Effie Gilstrap, Laura Gould, Ida Hackleman, Richard Hutchins, Alice L. Lane, Eddie Marshall, Minnie McIntire, Howard Maxwell, Birdie Martin, Dora Pearson, Sarepta Abrams, Frank Barnett, Viola Bishop, Ella Crocker, Mary Dakin, Mollie Duncan, Lizzie Gilbert, Eddie Ganes, Flora Gould, Laura Holloway, John Kirkpatrick, Hattie Laird, Rosa Moore, Fred. McLaughlin, Mettie Marbin, Jessie Norton, Walter Pickering, Lillie Purdy, Lloyd Ruby, M. J. Scott, Emma Theaker, Clarence Thompson, Martin Warren, Lida Whitney, Frank Wright, Carrie Rice, Alvan Sankey, Eva Splawn, Frank Theaker, Horace Vaughn, Edna Worthley, Constance Woodin, Frank Wright.
Arkansas City Republican, March 15, 1884.
The following pupils received the highest grades in examination last month: Arithmetic—Jacob Endicott, Lloyd Ruby, Mountferd Scott, Eva Splawn, Clarence Thompson, each 100 percent. Those who received 100 percent are: Sammie Beall, Sarah Crocker, Campbell Duncan, Mollie Duncan, Flora Gould, Hattie Laird, Eddie Marshall, Rosa Morse, Lloyd Ruby, Eva Splawn, Clarence Thompson, Edna Worthley, Lida Whitney; Miss Lizzie Gilbert received 99 percent in geography. Mahlon Arnett, Sammie Beall, and Lida Whitney received 97 percent in English grammar. Those who averaged 95 percent through the whole examination are Lizzie Gilbert, Mountferd Scott, Lloyd Ruby, Ida Hackleman, Edna Worthley, Lida Whitney, and Sarah Crocker.
Arkansas City Republican, March 29, 1884.
School Column. Junior Department. The following is the second best essay for this month, composed by Miss Edna Worthley:
Everyone ought to control his temper, or the least we could do is to try; for “practice always makes perfect,” whatever be the undertaking. A person may be very beautiful, but if he has a bad disposition and makes no attempt at controlling it, and is always cross and disagreeable to those around him, it will render him utterly repulsive. Some people seem to be naturally disagreeable, and take their sole and only enjoyment in making others unhappy; such persons ought to be pitied for a disposition that is beyond control rather than despised, as they seem to deserve. If a person is always cross at home, making the lives of all around him unbearable, it will in time become a part of his nature, and when he leaves home, he will show his real nature no matter how hard he may try to conceal it. For what we have been for years acquiring, cannot be rooted from our natures in a moment. We should all try and control our tempers, no matter what it may cost at the time. Some may say it is too late, but the poet says:
“It is too late! Oh, nothing is too late,
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.”
Arkansas City Republican, April 5, 1884.
The following named pupils of the High School were perfect in deportment during the seventh month, and received 100 percent: Mahlon Arnett, Frank Barnett, Sarah Crocker, D. C. Duncan, J. C. Endicott, Eddie Garris, Flora Gould, Laura Holloway, John Kirkpatrick, Ed. Maxwell, Fred C. McLaughlin, Birdie Martin, Robert Nipp, Lillie Purdy, M. J. Scott, Clarence Thompson, Edna Worthley, Sarepta Abrams, Cora Armstead, Mary Dakin, Mollie Duncan, Lizzie Gilbert, Laura Gould, Ida Hackleman, Richard Hutchins, John Kirkpatrick, Rosa Morse, Howard Maxwell, Birdie Martin, Walter Pickering, Lloyd Ruby, Emma Theaker, H. G. Vaughn, Lida Whitney, Constance Woodin.
Arkansas City Republican, April 26, 1884.
JUNIOR DEPARTMENT. Edna Worthley and Lida Whitney are again coming to the front in geography.
Arkansas City Republican, May 17, 1884.
JUNIOR DEPARTMENT: Mountferd J. Scott, Editor. Miss Edna Worthley received 100 percent throughout examination.
Arkansas City Republican, June 7, 1884.
The teachers, patrons, friends, and pupils of our schools have decided to dispense with the literary entertainment, for the present, and substitute a social and festival. Accordingly the Perry House has been secured and active preparations are making for an agreeable and pleasant time. The young ladies of the school secured a considerable sum from our businessmen. This amount will be expended in strawberries, ice cream, lemonade, and other delicacies. The following committee on arrangements has been secured: Mrs. W. M. Sleeth, Mrs. A. Worthley, Mrs. H. P. Farrar, Mrs. J. L. Huey, Mrs. Beall, Mrs. C. T. Atkinson, Mrs. J. C. Loveland, and Mrs. C. A. Howard. The committee itself is sufficient guarantee for an excellent supper. The supper, consisting of cold meats, cold chicken, cold turkey, light bread, rolls, buns, pickles, etc., will be served for 25 cents for each person. Ice cream and strawberries will be 10 cents a dish, extra. Gentlemen are requested not to wear buttonholes bouquets, as Misses Edna Worthley and Lida Whitney will preside over the flower stand, and be able to supply all wants. All are cordially invited to attend.
Arkansas City Republican, June 14, 1884.
A. Worthley returned from his Territory trip last Sabbath evening. His return was unexpected, and created a pleasant surprise for his family.
Arkansas City Traveler, June 18, 1884.
Burt Worthley and Sam Burress returned from Arkansas last week with 800 head of yearlings and two-year-olds. They are holding them at present on the Cimarron. Burt reports a good drive, with no loss worth speaking of.
Arkansas City Traveler, July 2, 1884.
At the school meeting last Wednesday, Mrs. H. P. Farrar was elected to the position of director, by an almost unanimous vote. Major Sleeth, Dr. Kellogg, and Mrs. Worthley received one vote each, the balance being cast for Mrs. Farrar.
Arkansas City Traveler, October 8, 1884.
Some Kiowa Indians killed a valuable steer, owned by Burt Worthley, last Wednesday morning, when returning from this city. The herder, Col. Berry, was, fortunately for the Indians, out of ammunition, or the theft would not have been committed, unless at the sacrifice of one or more Indians. There is a great deal of complaint among stockmen against the depredations committed by Indians freighting between this city and the various agencies in the southwestern part of the territory. Especially is this so among sheep herders, who lose from two to half a dozen sheep every few days, caused by Indians setting their dogs upon a flock and capturing two or three in spite of the herders. Such practices will result in trouble soon. Some stockmen will civilize an Indian so suddenly that he will not be conscious of his change from barbarism to the land of his dreams.
Arkansas City Traveler, October 8, 1884.
The Maine Cattle Company. A stock company under the above name has been organized by men having their headquarters in this city, and their range on the Ponca reservation. The company is composed of Messrs. N. C. Hinkley, S. P. Burress, Burt Worthley, H. P. Farrar, J. H. Sherburne, Howard Bros., and Bradford Beall, with a capital stock of $50,000, and a thousand head of one-, two-, and three-year-olds to start with. The range line south of the Salt Fork and east of the Otoe road, containing 35,000 acres of good grazing land, with plenty of water and timber—all fenced with a four-strand barb wire fence. When fully stocked up, which will be done as rapidly as possible, these gentlemen will have between 2,000 and 3,000 head of cattle. Another item is the 3,000 acre hog lot on the range, on which will be put about a thousand head of fine hogs. The Maine Cattle Company purpose grading up their cattle to a high standard, and shall purchase high grade Hereford, Durham, and Galloway bulls. The officers have not yet been elected, all hands being busy this week moving their cattle from Chilocco to their new range, but as soon as this is done, the company will be regularly organized under the laws of the state and officers duly elected. The name is singularly appropriate, as all the gentlemen, with one exception, are from the state that will furnish our next president.
Arkansas City Traveler, October 22, 1884.
The Maine Cattle Company met last Monday night and organized by electing the following officers: N. C. Hinkley, President; George S. Howard, Vice President; H. P. Farrar, Secretary and Treasurer; S. P. Burress, Manager; Albert Worthley, Assistant Manager.
Directors: N. C. Hinkley, G. S. Howard, H. P. Farrar, S. P. Burress, Albert Worthley, Chas. Howard, Bradford Beall, and J. H. Sherburne.
The capital stock is $50,000.
Arkansas City Republican, October 25, 1884.
The Maine Cattle Company has received their charter. Monday evening they elected the following officers: President, N. C. Hinkley; vice-president, Geo. Howard; secretary and treasurer, H. P. Farrar. The directors and stockholders are N. C. Hinkley, Geo. Howard, H. P. Farrar, Bradford Beall, Chas. Howard, Albert Worthley, S. P. Burress, and J. H. Sherburne. S. P. Burress will be the manager, and Albert Worthley, assistant manager.
Arkansas City Republican, December 6, 1884.
School Report. ARKANSAS CITY, NOVEMBER 29, 1884.
To Editors Republican: I have the pleasure of presenting for publication the names of those students who are on the Roll of Honor for the month ending November 28.
The requirements are as follows: the Attendance must be 100—that is, the student be neither absent nor tardy during the month. Deportment must be 100, and the Scholarship must average 90 percent at least. Prof. Weir, in a few well chosen words, congratulated thirteen on their successful passing of the ordeal. He hoped—and could, with reason, believe—that it would be indicative of their success through life. The following are the names, in the order of their standing. Respectfully, Hattie Horner.
JUNIORS. Frank Barnett, Miss Carrie Rice, Edward Marshal, Wilford Edwards, Miss Tina Hollis, Jacob Endicott.
EIGHTH GRADE. Harry Gilstrap, Maggie Ford, Jas. Kirkpatrick, Edna Worthley, Tasso Carlisle, Flora Kreamer, Mary Lewis.
Arkansas City Traveler, February 18, 1885.
We see Bert Worthley in the city again this week after quite an absence spent in the Maine Cattle Co.’s range in the Territory.
Arkansas City Republican, February 21, 1885.
The Japanese Wedding. Last Saturday evening the ladies of the Presbyterian Aid Society held their entertainment in Highland Hall. The Japanese Wedding was the main feature. It was purely oriental. The participants were dressed in the Japanese garb. Miss Linda Christian and J. C. Topliff were the high contracting parties. E. L. McDowell and Mrs. J. W. Heck, the parents of the groom; Philip Snyder and Miss Annie Meigs, the parents of the unsophisticated bride. Misses Maggie Hoffman, Laura Gould, Flora Gould, Rosa Morse, Edna Worthley, Viola Bishop, and Mamie Steinman were the bridesmaids.
Arkansas City Republican, July 18, 1885.
Billy Gray arrested Ed. Vaughan’s team Monday for being hitched in front of Albert Worthley’s residence. Vaughan was taken before Judge Bryant and fined $3 and costs, which amounted to $7.50. With the exception of $1, the costs were knocked off. If it had been a white man, he could have gotten loose someway. As it was, it was only a poor “nigger.”
Arkansas City Republican, August 15, 1885.
The Johnson Loan and Trust Company have purchased one of the four lots belonging to Albert Worthley just west of the First National Bank, and will erect a two story brick front business house. A portion of the building will be occupied by the Johnson Loan and Trust Company with their office. The building which will be erected by the company will be equal to any in the city. The consideration was $1,000 and the sale was made with the understanding that the association would put up a first-class building.
Arkansas City Republican, September 19, 1885.
Mr. and Mrs. Jack Hilliard were surprised by a very pleasant party last evening. They were spending the evening very pleasantly with Mr. and Mrs. Powell and Miss Laura King, relations of Mrs. Hilliard, from Chicago, when the party took them by storm. Those invited were Messrs. Philip Snyder, Will Daniels, Chas. Mead, Herman Wycoff, Charlie Chapel; Misses Mollie and Linda Christian, Clark and Cora Thompson, Jessie Miller, Lucy Walton, Fannie Cunningham, Minnie Stewart; Mrs. Fred Miller, Mrs. Gooch; Mr. and Mrs. Capt. Thompson, Mr. and Mrs. Topliff, Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Parsons, Mr. and Mrs. Worthley, Mr. and Mrs. Ayres, Mr. and Mrs. A. V. Alexander, Mr. and Mrs. Perry, Mr. and Mrs. Grubbs, Mr. and Mrs. Landes, Mr. and Mrs. N. T. Snyder, Mr. and Mrs. Matlack, Mr. and Mrs. H. P. Farrar, Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Searing, Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Cunningham, and Mr. and Mrs. Wyckoff.
Arkansas City Republican, January 16, 1886.
N. C. Hinkley, A. D. Prescott, A. B. Johnson, and Albert Worthley purchased the lots adjoining the one owned by the Johnson Loan & Trust Company, in the Worthley Block Tuesday. These gentlemen will erect a two-story business house, 25 x 80, on their purchase in the spring. The Johnson Loan & Trust Company will erect their building at the same time. By fall another handsome block will line 5th Avenue or Depot Street.
Arkansas City Republican, March 6, 1886.
High School Entertainment.
EDS. REPUBLICAN: On last Friday afternoon the students of the High School held exercises in commemoration of the Birth of Longfellow, “The Poet Laureate of America.”
The exercises, consisting of music, biographies, recitations, etc., were opened by the choir with “A Work for Each of Us.”
Chas. Stamper then read an interesting paper entitled, “Longfellow as a teacher.” Following this came “Longfellow as a Poet,” by Giles Gilliland. This paper gave an account of the principal poetical work of Longfellow. “The Poets Funeral Dirge,” was recited in an excellent manner, by Mabel Dean. Edna Worthley followed with that beautiful poem “Sandalphon.”
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, May 29, 1886. From Monday’s Daily.
Dave G. Carder, the ex-bloated real estate owner, but now bondholder, has purchased a business lot of Albert Worthley, adjacent to the Johnson Loan & Trust company’s block, and will erect a business house 26 x 80 feet and two stories high.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, May 29, 1886. From Monday’s Daily.
Last Friday afternoon the pupils of the high school held their closing exercises. A programme, consisting of declamations, essays, singing, etc., had been carefully prepared, but owing to its extreme length was only partially carried out. The first honors of the middle year were given to Howard Maxwell and Edwin Marshall. Miss Edna Worthley won the first honors of the Junior class and Samuel Beall the second A number of visitors were in attendance and the exercises of the afternoon were highly spoken of.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, May 29, 1886. From Tuesday’s Daily.
Bert Worthley purchased the property where he lives three or four years ago for $850. He has sold from off it three lots, realizing a profit of $3,500 besides holding an interest in the Johnson Loan & Trust Company’s block.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, June 5, 1886. From Friday’s Daily.
Next week a party composed of Mrs. Albert Worthley, her daughter, Miss Edna, Mrs. Wm. Bassett and children, Mrs. O. P. Houghton and children, and Samuel Filbrick, will leave for an extended visit among friends and relatives in the state of Maine.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, June 19, 1886. From Monday’s Daily.
Mrs. Bert Worthley, Miss Edna Worthley, Mrs. O. P. Houghton and two children, Mrs. J. A. Foss, and Samuel Filbrick leave this afternoon on a visit to Maine.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, July 3, 1886. From Friday’s Daily.
Today Judge Kreamer’s court has been grinding on the whiskey trial of John Carter. The jury, composed of Gardner Mott, D. Weir, O. B. Dix, S. P. Gould, W. E. Curtis, Albert Worthley, Wyard Gooch, C. H. Searing, E. L. Kingsbury, T. VanFleet, and W. Van Sickle, was impaneled this morning. Some 20 witnesses had been examined up to the hour of our going to press.
Arkansas City Republican, August 14, 1886.
Howard Ross, a broker of New York, was in the city this morning. He made a purchase of a corner lot on Fifth Avenue of Albert Worthley, in the block where the Johnson Loan & Trust Company are building. The consideration was $3,500. Mr. Ross is greatly pleased with Arkansas City and its future prospects. He was in the city only a few hours until he began investing in real estate. He will build a three-story business block, occupying the first floor with a bank, which he will establish.
Arkansas City Republican, August 21, 1886.
Albert Worthley is compelled to move his residence from its present site on Fifth Avenue on account of the business blocks going up on the lots which he sold. He has purchased lots in the second ward and has commenced the foundation. As soon as he gets his residence off, Mr. Ross, the gentleman who purchased the corner lot, will commence the erection of his bank building.
Arkansas City Traveler, October 6, 1886.
Mrs. Albert Worthley and daughter, Edna, returned Saturday from Phillips, Maine, where they have been spending the summer, visiting friends and relatives.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, January 15, 1887. From Friday’s Daily.
Last evening a surprise party was perpetrated on Miss Edna Worthley, by her many young friends in the second ward. The surprise was complete and all the young folks in attendance had a joyous time.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, January 29, 1887. From Friday’s Daily.
Geo. Allen and Bert Worthley sold lots 3 and 4 in block 23, second ward, this morning, to Frank Pierce for $650.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, March 5, 1887. From Wednesday’s Daily.
Bert Worthley, et al., bought two blocks of lots in McLaughlin’s second addition Monday. Tuesday he sold them at an advance of $2,000.
Notes by RKW:
Albert Worthley first traded cattle and then was employed in the retail mercantile business for several years. He completed his working career as a traveling grocery salesman for Ranney-Davis. He retired in 1918. In 1919 he worked for a short time selling, on the road, for the Krementz Jewelry Co. of New York. (We deduce that this is the company that his son-in-law was working for.) He died November 24, 1938, and was buried in Riverview Cemetery in Arkansas City, Kansas, beside his wife. This left two lots in the plot.
Alice Howard was born November 4, 1848, in Phillips, Maine. The date of her marriage to Albert Worthley is unknown. She died October 10, 1936, in Arkansas City and was buried on October 14th, in Riverview Cemetery. The family had purchased a plot containing four lots. Her monument is marked with a D.A.R. marker from the Betty Bonney Chapter, of Arkansas City. She had one child, a daughter, Julia Edna Worthley, who was notified of her death but was unable to attend the funeral.
Julia Edna Worthley was born January 13, 1871, in Phillips, Maine. This was on Friday the thirteenth, which she considered as lucky. The family moved to Kansas, in 1882, when she was 11.
In 1874 Arkansas City built a new ‘common’ school in the 300 block of North B street. It was also used for the high school with the first graduating class being in 1880.
The high school enrollment continued to grow until it outgrew the B street location, and had to be housed in rooms over a business block (called the Commercial Block) on Summit street. In 1888 the school rented a house downtown for the high school to be used until a new building could be built. This had been the home of H. P. Farrar and acquired the nick-name of “Bedbug Hall.” The location was where the W. D. Scott Aud-Gym of the Community College is now. The new high school building was completed in 1893. This building still stands and is now owned by the community college and called Ireland Hall.
She spoke of school in her book entitled “The Taste of Honey,” published in 1930. She wrote, “I recall the school on the plains. School is probably too important a word. It was a few bare rooms over a business (Commercial Block) block. No building for the purpose had been put up. From the windows we could look across the Main Street into upper rooms of other buildings. These rooms (in the Windsor Hotel) had been rented to houses of ill fame. Any time we could turn from our lessons and see the painted creatures lolling in the rooms, with their lovers. They were fat, greasy, disheveled, and clad in gay, cotton, Mother Hubbards.”
“Beneath one of these houses there was a saloon. From the windows we could look over tops of screens that cut the too plain view from the sidewalk, and see Greasers, Indians, the stragglers of the plains, drinking, gambling. They quarreled frequently. Occasionally fought with knives, with pistols. But the thrust of a knife that killed, in the lonely silence of the circling prairie was unimportant.”
The book ‘History of Arkansas City High School’ lists Edna Worthley as one of the ten graduates in 1888. She would have been 17 at that time. She delivered the valedictory address on Friday, April 27, 1888.
Edna Worthley attended Garfield College in Wichita for two years and then attended the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor where she graduated. It would probably have taken her until 1892 to get her degree.
(Note - The Christian Churches of Kansas created a university in Wichita, named Garfield University. It was named as a memorial to President James Garfield. It opened in 1888 but money woes forced it to close in 1890. The Property was later sold and became Friends University.)
The newspaper article also said that she taught in Arkansas City. The September 25, 1920, issue of Arkansas City Traveler reprinted a “High School Ark Light” article, which states that after her graduation from Ann Arbor, Miss Worthley returned to Arkansas City, where she became a member of the faculty of the high school and taught English and Latin.
By this time she had several pen pals who lived in Europe. At her request, they sent her copies of foreign classic literature printed in the original foreign language. Because of the problem of cost, they were usually the cheap yellow paper back editions. Because she was addicted to reading them, it became noised about that, “teacher reads dime novels.” She was, as she says, fired. It mattered not at all to the school board that the particular offending volume was Boussnet’s “Funeral Orations” in the original language.
The earliest available Arkansas City directory is 1893. It lists Albert Worthley of 523 South B street as being a sales clerk at Matlack Mercantile Co. It also lists a J. E. Worthley, of the same address, as being a student. It lists a Mrs. Caroline Underwood (widow) residing at another address.
Robert Earl Underwood was born March 28, 1872 in Bedford, Iowa. His grandfather was Daniel V. Underwood who was a Revolutionary War veteran who had served in a North Carolina line company. His father was Daniel V. Underwood, Jr., who was born in North Carolina on October 23, 1812, and died of cholera February 1, 1883, in Bedford, Iowa. His mother was Caroline Rachel Brady Underwood, who was born in Ohio. He had one sister, Vinnie Ream Underwood, born in 1868 at Bedford, Iowa. During his lifetime he had been a jeweler, an inventor holding 20 patents, an international advertising specialist, and a successful play writer under the name of Robert Earl. Two of his plays that appeared on Broadway, in New York, were “The White Mask” (1927) and “Every Dog has its Day” (1938).
On August 21, 1897, Edna Worthley married Robert Earl Underwood. There was no marriage license issued for them in Cowley County, so they were married elsewhere. They had no children.
The next available city directory is 1898 and it lists A. B. Worthley as a traveling salesman and his wife living at the same address. There is a listing for Mrs. Caroline Rachel Underwood (widow) and Miss Vinnie Underwood (her unmarried adult daughter) living together at another address. Earl Underwood and Mrs. Edna Underwood are living in an apartment in the Traders State Bank Building at 227 South Summit.
Earl Underwood had gone to work for Murphey, a jeweler, upon arrival in Arkansas City. He purchased Murphey’s jewelry store at 208 South Summit on June 10, 1895. On April 1, 1901, he sold the store to Ralph Wickliffe so they could move to Kansas City. Wickliffe ran the store until he liquidated it in 1924 and took a position as watchmaker with E. L. McDowell.
We do not know how long Earl and Edna Underwood stayed in Kansas City or when they moved to New York. Earl’s father-in-law (Albert Worthley) had retired from Ranney-Davis in 1918 but in February of 1919 he took a several week business trip for the Krementz Jewelry company of New York. We infer that this is the company that Earl joined, and that he was living New York at that time.
In June of 1921 Earl Underwood was one of the most earnest advocates of the inauguration of a C. O. D. feature in international parcel post.
In the winter of 1903/04, Mrs. Caroline Underwood moved to Kansas City and made her home with her son, Earl Underwood, and her daughter-in-law, Edna Worthley Underwood. She was brought to Winfield for treatment and passed away there on June 29, 1904. She was 72 years old. She was buried in Riverview cemetery in Arkansas City in a plot that had three positions. An empty space was left on each side.
The next available city directory is 1908 and lists Albert B. and Alice Worthley living at the same address. There is no listing for any of the Underwood family. Miss Vinnie Underwood was living at the Chilocco Indian school at the time. She was secretary to the principal.
Traveler, Monday, December 12, 1921
WINNING WORLD FAME
Edna Worthley Underwood, Formerly of Arkansas City.
The editor of the Traveler has just received a letter from New York, which gives him a great deal of pleasure. It is from a former Arkansas City girl, Edna Worthley Underwood, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Worthley, of this city. The editor of the Traveler has known Mrs. Underwood half of a life time. He first knew her when her home was at the corner of First street and West Fifth avenue, opposite the Traveler office and when there were no business houses there. She was a small girl then, going to the grammar schools. She was always a good student of literature and a writer of merit in her school days. Now she is gaining renown on two continents. The following is Mrs. Underwood’s letter and is explanatory of itself.
New York, N. Y., Dec. 9, 1921.
Mr. Dick Howard, editor of the Arkansas City Traveler.
Dear Dick:—My new book, “Famous Stories From Foreign Countries,” is now printed and bound and now ready for distribution. A copy of it will be sent to you as soon as more copies reach me.
I have in print in Japan a book on Oriental Art, which I hope will not be delayed in getting through the press as this one has been. Also, I wish to tell you that in the forthcoming edition of the International Blue Book of France, my name is to be mentioned and also a list of my books.
I have been reading with interest that you are to be the next governor. Here’s hoping you get there with flying colors. I do not know of anybody I would rather see in the gubernatorial chair than you. Please remember me to your wife very kindly.
With much gratitude for past favors, I remain, very sincerely yours.—Edna Worthley Underwood.
Traveler, Friday, April 14, 1922
IN FIVE LANGUAGES
Arkansas City Author’s Latest Novel Will be Widely Circulated.
The extent of the fame achieved by Edna Worthley Underwood as an author and as a translator of languages is indicated in a letter which her mother, Mrs. Albert Worthley, of 523 South B street, has just received from her daughter. The letter in part states: “I received a package of fifteen volumes of very nice books from Holland a few days ago, and the next steamer brought me four more new typewritten books ready for the press, all dedicated to Edna Worthley Underwood, asking me to be the first to translate them into English and introduce them in America. I learned from the authors that the greatest Dutch critic saw my translation of ‘Famous Stories From Foreign Countries,’ and praised it very highly; said ‘I kept all the beauty of the original.’ They asked the privilege to translate my latest novel into the Dutch language. I am to be reviewed in the leading magazines of Holland and Belgium. It is to be what they call ‘a Thanksgiving tribute.’ My new novel will be out September 1st and will be published simultaneously in America, Germany, Holland, Australia, and France.”
Mrs. Worthley informed the Traveler reporter that her daughter had been invited to go to Switzerland next July to attend the international meeting of linguists. Edna Worthley Underwood resides in New York City, where her husband, Earl Underwood, also formerly of this city, is engaged in the wholesale jewelry business.
[A TRIBUTE TO BESSIE GRADY SHARP, BY EDNA WORTHLEY UNDERWOOD.]
Published in the Traveler THURSDAY, MAY 18, 1922
To Bessie Grady Sharp
By Edna Worthley Underwood
Brave adventurer once of our earthways,
Bright adventurer now of the skies,
Fearlessly casting aside garb of lifedays
For garments more splendid, you who could arise!
Of all who played by the edge of the prairie,
In the old, old days—played a childish part—
I know as I look down the vistas of memory
That you were the one with the greatest heart.
I have known none with such keen joy in living,
And now you are off on the Royal Quest,
Unvexed of the flesh with no vain misgiving,
You, with your tireless traveler’s zest.
In measureless space, by its roadway of sapphire,
You watch Orion, the Hunter of Gold.
You count the multiple moons, with their fire,
Of Saturn—where night cannot day enfold.
Then — Then — In some garden of magic,
When, I, too, change dress—in some Garden of Time,
You will meet me, tell grandly, things splendid, things tragic,
While I can bear but a poor, little rhyme.
When high in the air the gray cottonwoods whiten,
When blue and white daisies are gay on the plain,
And I hear in the tree-tops a bird’s voice brighten,
I shall cry gladly: ’Tis you — Again!
‘Tis you again with your bird winged laughter!
(A body is only a playtime dress)
So who can say in what vast here after,
We shall play hide-and-seek? Who can guess?
Just as of old in the yellow playlight,
When sunset was spreading its shining sail.
And we counted our toys for another daylight,
Not vale I call to you. No!—but HAIL!
New York, May 12, 1922
[Edna Worthley Underwood and Mrs. Bessie Grady Sharp, now deceased, were girls together in Arkansas City in the early days. The above is a splendid tribute to Mrs. Sharp by a gifted writer and friend.—Editor.]
Arkansas City Traveler, June 26, 1922.
The following letter to the Traveler from Edna Worthley Underwood, former Arkansas City girl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Worthley of this city, indicates the wonderful success she is meeting with in the literary world.
Box 54, Hamilton Grange Station, New York City, June 22, 1922.
Editor Traveler:—I am writing to tell you that the first volume of my long trilogy—three novels of some five hundred pages each, picturing the crumbling of the great civilization of the past—is in the press and it will be upon the market about September first. It will head the fiction list of one of America’s most important publishing houses. It will come out at the same time in England and Australia. Arrangements have already been made for publishing it in Holland, Germany, and France. Critics who have read it in manuscript say it compares favorably with Zola’s famous “Trilogy of Cities.”
Very soon too, I am publishing the first collection of the short story writers who use the old Flemish tongue to appear in English. Each writer has selected and sent to me what he considers to be his greatest story and given me alone the permission to use it. There are about twenty seven of these writers. In each case, the writer’s judgment has been reenforced by Holland’s leading critics. The book will be brought out under powerful patronage in Holland. In April and May of this year, Holland writers give me in their magazine what they termed “A Thanksgiving Tribute.”
I have just been asked to write a monthly letter on prose and verse in America for one of the great French reviews, and invited to become a “Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts of England.”
After the death of her father in 1938, the Underwood’s returned to Arkansas City and resided in her parents house. Robert Earl Underwood’s health had been failing for four years. He passed away September 5, 1944 and was buried in Riverview cemetery in the plot to the south of his mothers grave. Miss Vinnie Underwood (his sister) died January 4, 1952 and was buried in the remaining plot which was on the north side of her mothers grave. This filled the Underwood cemetery lot.
Edna Worthley Underwood continued to own the house in Arkansas City, but she lived in the Elmo Hotel and later in the Osage Hotel until 1952. Her husband’s sister, Vinnie, also lived in the same hotels until her death in 1952. Mrs. Underwood traveled back east to Maine and Boston each summer.
In the summer of 1952, while she was in Maine, Edna Worthley Underwood made a will (in Cowley County Courthouse) which cut out all living relatives and gave everything except her library to the public library of Auburn, Maine. She specifically bequeathed “My foreign library (paper bound) autographed to me by writers in various lands who asked me to translate—which the Librarian of Congress has asked for—I give to the Library of Congress at Washington.” “All my other books go to the Auburn Public Library.” She also requested that she be buried with her grandparents in Phillips, Maine.
In 1953 Edna Worthley Underwood was declared incompetent in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a temporary guardian was appointed. The case was later transferred to Cowley County and a permanent guardian, R. P. (Jack) Guyot. Mrs. Mattie Schmidt of Edgetown Manor in Winfield, went to Boston and brought her home. She lived at Edgetown Manor briefly until it was determined that she could return to live in her home in Arkansas City. She died June 14, 1961, and was buried June 15, 1961, in the same plot with her parents. (There was no space left in the plot where her husband was buried.)
Her will of 1952 was contested successfully by distant relatives. One-half was to go to the Auburn public library; and one-half to the relatives. The administrator of the estate sold all of the assets, including the library and manuscripts, and dispersed the money.
A tribute to Edna Worthley Underwood was written by a close Arkansas City friend of hers, Bess Oldroyd, in which the following comments were made.
“She did not attend the pioneer schools of this frontier town. Instead, a Swiss tutor in their home introduced her to European, Asian and African authors. Some of them were in the original, but many had been translated first into German. They were paperbacks printed in Europe and purchased there. Five hundred of these little volumes were found in Mrs. Underwood’s home at the end.
“Maine Summers, Sonnets to my Mother,” was written upon receiving news of the death of her mother, who was probably the dearest person in her life. Mrs. Underwood, then in her prime, was residing in New York City. She says bitterly, ‘I was not told in time to come.’
“After her husband’s death Mrs. Underwood left their home and resided in a local hotel, but she spent most of her summers in her native Maine and in Boston.”
The Arkansas City Public Library has three lists of books in their vertical vile. One is titled “Books from Edna Worthley Underwood’s library.” It contains 68 titles. The second is titled “Kansas State College” and it is continuation sheets numbered 1 thru 26 to order no. 25047 with no dates. It contains listings of about 1378 titles. One could have been an inventory of her library at the time of her death. The other might be a listing of her writings or translations. The third is handwritten on T. B. Oldroyd forms and is also a list of titles including some of Edna Worthley Underwood’s and some of Earl Underwood’s.
Edna Worthley Underwood is reputed to have written or translated over 150 books. Her first translated book was published in 1903 and the latest in 1939.
Kansas State University at Manhattan, Kansas has a collection of her correspondence. Fort Hays State College at Hays, Kansas, also has a collection of her correspondence. I have no idea of how they acquired their collections.