Worthington, Ohio

From Ohio History Central

James Kilbourne established Worthington in 1804. Kilbourne was a member of the Scioto Company. In 1802, the Scioto Company dispatched Kilbourne to locate a township in the United States Military District for purchase. On his trip to the Northwest Territory, Kilbourne completed the first map of Ohio, but he refused to purchase land. He feared that the Ohio Constitutional Convention would permit slavery once the territory became a state. Once the Constitution of 1803 went into effect, outlawing slavery, Kilbourne purchased the desired land. In 1804, he laid out the town of Worthington. It was named for a small town in Kilbourne's home state of Connecticut.

At first, Worthington consisted of 162 lots, with one parcel reserved for a church and another piece of land saved for a school. In December 1804, approximately one hundred settlers, primarily from Connecticut and Massachusetts, arrived in Worthington. The first cabin that these people constructed became the church and schoolhouse. The church was the first organized Episcopal Church in Ohio. Kilbourne served as the original minister. The first church service occurred once three families lived in the community. The school formally opened once eleven families had moved to the town.

Worthington grew relatively slowly at first. This changed in 1812, once the Ohio legislature established Columbus as the new state capital. Located just a few miles south of Worthington, both communities quickly prospered. Worthington continues as a separate city today, but Columbus has virtually surrounded the community, making this once independent town a suburb of Ohio's capital.

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