WOODWORTH PLANTER REUNION – THE FIRST IN CANADA (May 13/13)

In his chapter on the coming of the New England Planters in his Kings County history, Arthur W. H. Eaton notes that seven members of the Woodworth family were grantees in the townships of Horton and Cornwallis; Eaton writes that all the Woodworths of Kings County are descended from one man, Walter Woodworth of New England.

The Woodworths also received grants in Hants County, in areas adjacent to the Horton and Cornwallis townships.  Many of the Woodworth descendants can still be found here and in Hants today, some of them still working land that was part of the original grants.  One such descendant is Church Street farmer George Woodworth, who not only is descended from some of the first New Englanders receiving grants here but may also have a special distinction.  George believes he may be the only one with the Woodworth surname still farming Kings County land granted after expulsion of the Acadians.

Actually, he says he isn’t farming land originally granted to his family circa 1795.  That distinction belongs to his father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc., who until 1937 farmed the original grant.  In 1937 Charles purchased the farm George now works on Belcher Street and the original grant land was taken over by a family member.

George Woodworth may be the only Woodworth still farming grant land in Kings County, as he says.  However, there’s an extensive Woodworth family scattered throughout Canada and the United States, many with direct links to the Kings County Planters through Walter Woodworth.

In 2005 a group of these “Woodworth cousins,” as they call themselves, started a tradition of holding a reunion every two years.  This year, for the first time in Canada, the reunion will be held in Kings County, right in the heart of the land where so many Woodworth Planters settled between 1759 and 1761.   George Woodworth will be there when the reunion starts on June 9 at the old Orchard Inn.  Included in the reunion, which runs for several days, will be tours of the areas their Planter ancestors settled and farmed.

During the reunion I expect those Woodworth cousins will visit the graveyards in Kings County where many of their ancestors are buried.  About 225 Woodworths ancestors lie in county graveyards from Lower Horton to Aylesford; most, if not all of them, are descendants of the Planter grantees who settled on land in Cornwallis and Horton townships.

Getting back to George Woodworth, he believes his ancestors may have arrived a year before the main influx of Planters.  George jokingly refers to his family as “pre-New England Planters.”  He tells me his ancestors belonged to one of three Woodworth families that arrived at the same time.  His people stayed here while the other Woodworth families took up land towards Berwick and on the North Mountain.

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