Daniel Worth

Daniel Worth, a Company Shops merchant, helped develop schools for both white and black children. In 1865 local whites built a schoolhouse that doubled as a church. In 1868, ladies of this congregation began raising funds for a new building. Worth was appointed to the committee charged with disposing of the old building. This committee sold the building to the government for use as a black school. Worth persuaded the Railroad Company to donate a tract of land, and General Miles and Dr. H.C. Vogel took responsibility for moving the building to its new site. Worth then contacted the Society of Friends Philadelphia Association for a teacher. Alonzo B. Corliss was the second schoolmaster at this school. [1]

Worth had also constructed a white school on his own property, which was taught by another Northern teacher named Meader. Three members of John T. Trollinger's White Brotherhood camp set this building on fire, ostensibly because Meader was teaching black students at night. Worth insisted that this was not the case, and that the motive was of a more personal nature. He argued that Thomas Gray, one of the arsonists, was a gambler who wanted to open a disreputable grog shop across from Worth's land. Gray became incensed at reports that Worth planned to demolish the building in which he wanted to set up his dram shop. Worth insisted that he did not own the building, but that he intended to block Gray's efforts to run a barroom in his "yard." [2]

Soon after the disagreement between Gray and Worth, John W. Long met Gray in Trollinger's barroom. After the 10 PM train passed through the two men left on their mission. Gray did not inform Long what was to be burned until they reached Worth's schoolhouse. Long pleaded with him not to go through with it, but Gray announced that he would burn it "in defiance of the devil." Gray then squirted kerosene on the walls, tossed a match, and the two men ran back to Trollinger's bar, where they hid until the alarm had sounded. [3] Despite the loss of this building, Worth continued his educational endeavors. He built another school on a different site, and even rehired Meader as a teacher.


[ 1 ] SR 304.

[ 2 ] Trial 572-72.

[ 3 ] Third Message 181-184.