Henderson County, Kentucky Biography


Andrew Jackson WORSHAM, Mayor of the City of Henderson, is a son of the late Elijah W. WORSHAM and Mariam GRAHAM, and was born in Henderson County, Kentucky 17 May 1850.

His father, by honest effort, faithful application and fine judgment, had gained a competency which enabled him to give his children the best educational advantages, and Andrew was sent to private schools in Henderson, to Smith's Military Institute at Eminence and to Commercial College at Poughkeepsie, New York.

He applied himself to his studies diligently and acquitted himself with credit to himself and to his father, who had been so mindful of his son's welfare.

In the month of August, 1873, his father removed with his family to California and settled near San Francisco on the San Joaquin River. A. J. WORSHAM there engaged in ranching for the period of two years.

On the 10th of November, 1873, he had the most thrilling experience of his life. In company with a friend named Duncan CARGILL, he undertook to cross the river. The high winds had made the river, which was one and a half miles wide at that point, very rough; and when they started a perfect wind storm set in at dark and the waves were rolling and white caps flying house top high. They struggled manfully, but progressed very slowly until they reached the middle of the stream, when the boat was capsized, the two men were thrown into the cold waves, and CARGILL was drowned. The situation was very appalling and, exhausted from his exertions and chilled by the water, WORSHAM still clung to the up-turned boat. It was about 10 o'clock when they left the shore, it was near midnight when the boat capsized. Near daylight he had drifted near the shore and had almost lost consciousness, when a Mr. SUTHERLAND came to his rescue, lifting him from the water, carried him on his shoulder to his home, where restoratives were administered and his life saved.

On the 7th of June, 1876, not quite three years after his experience as related above, WORSHAM was united in marriage to Florence RHORER at her home in San Francisco. As a result of this union they have seven living children: John C., Mariam J., Milton R., Ludson, Arch D., George A., and Virginia Rhorer WORSHAM.

Soon after marriage he was elected Superintendent of the Calcutta Gold and Silver Mining Company, and removed to Gold Hill, Nevada, where he engaged in mining, until the Spring of 1877, when he removed to Banning, where he engaged in merchandising. WORSHAM was also postmaster of Banning during his residence there.

WORSHAM returned to Henderson in 1881; and with his father (Elijah) engaged in the wholesale liquor and distilling business under the firm name of E. W. WORSHAM & Company, which partnership continued until the death of his father, 31 Dec 1891. In November following, the distillery was incorporated in the name of the WORSHAM Distilling Company, with Dr. C. WORSHAM, President; A. J. WORSHAM, Vice President and R. D. REYNOLDS, Secretary and Treasurer.

On the 5th of November, 1895, WORSHAM was elected Mayor of Henderson, a position for which he is qualified in an eminent degree, having served in the City Council, and being a man of unusual business capacity. Mayor WORSHAM is a republican in politics, and his election in a democratic city was due in large measure to his popularity and to the generally conceded fact that he was the man for the place. He is a member of several leading benevolent orders, including the Odd Fellows, Elks, Knights of Pythias and A. O. U. W.

He is a very industrious man, attending diligently to his business, and is always ready to assist in the promotion of a good cause. In the brief time which he has been chief executive for this city, he has applied his well known business methods in the management of the affairs of the city, and has inaugurated a policy of reform which promises to distinguish his administration as one of the most progressive the city has ever enjoyed.

Elijah W. WORSHAM (father) was born near Henderson, 12 Feb 1823. His father, Ludson WORSHAM (grandfather) removed from Indiana to Kentucky in 1820 and purchased a farm about half a mile above Evansville on the Ohio River. In 1832, Ludson WORSHAM, having a contract for carrying mail between Henderson and Evansville, Elijah then nine years of age, was required to make the weekly trip between these two points on horseback. He performed this duty manfully for three years and was frequently frightened out of his wits as he passed through the wilderness. His early education was fragmentary, the schools of those days not being the best, and his opportunities of attending even these were limited to such times as he could be spared from the work on the farm.

In 1844, when twenty-one years of age, he married Mariam J. GRAHAM, a lady of great beauty. In 1847, he purchased a farm near Bloomington, where he lived for three years, and in 1850 removed to his father's old place. He was an active politician and in 1855, he was elected to the legislature by the American, or Know-Nothing Party. In 1859, he purchased a farm within two miles of Henderson on the Owensboro Road. In 1863, he built the OVERTON Tobacco Factory, and began tobacco stemming on an extensive scale. In 1867, he removed from his farm to Henderson.

In 1870 he formed a partnership with A. S. WINSTEAD, and, under the firm name of E. W. WORSHAM & Company, bought and sold liquors at wholesale and manufactured bitters and malarial medicines. In 1873, in company with others, he purchased a large tract of Tule lands in California and moved to that state. His experience in wheat raising on these lands for two years was satisfactory, but he sold out and went to San Francisco, remained one year and thence to Los Angeles, where he engaged in raising sheep and other successful ventures. In 1881, he returned to Henderson, and, under the firm name of E. W. WORSHAM & Company, built a large sour mash distillery, now known as the WORSHAM Distillery.

Thus he had many ups and downs, yet by his superior judgment, keen foresight and careful management, he held his own and amassed a splendid fortune. He willingly served the public in any way in his power; was a member of the school board and the city council and was twice elected President of the Henderson Fair Company. He joined the Odd Fellows order in 1844, and was useful and active member, at one time serving as Deputy District Grand Master. He united with the Baptist Church in 1846, and was an influential member until 1870, when he withdrew. He died 31 Dec 1891, in the sixty-ninth year of his age.

Kentucky Biographies, John M. Gresham Company, 1896.

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS