Worden Babcock – From Civil War Injuries to Managing a Beautiful Hotel

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Branching Out

When the Civil War broke out, Worden Babcock responded to the first call from President Lincoln to help the cause. After he enlisted on 11 Aug 1862, twenty-two-year-old Worden quickly rose from Corporal to Sergeant. ¹ His brother, Lemuel, joined at the same time. Most likely Worden was hot, tired, dirty, and sick when he transferred to the Veterans Reserve Corp² at Fort Porter, Buffalo, New York, on 1 May 1864, where he could mend and heal. He saw action in the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge, and Nashville³, and Lemuel, his brother, died of disease in Nashville in 1862.⁴ Responsibility for the discipline and direction of soldiers underneath him had taken a toll both physically and mentally; his service in the Civil War had lasting effects on his health throughout his life.

Battle of Missionary Ridge, Tennessee, Courtesy of Kurz & Allison, Library of Congress, in the public domain

Worden Babcock was born 22 Jun 1840 in Venice, Cayuga County, New York to Lemuel and Emma (Carpenter) Babcock. ⁵ He lived at home with his parents farming the land. He married Emma L. Carpenter after the Civil War. Their only son, Frederick, was born in November of 1869.⁶ Worden engaged in the mercantile business for several years.

Elizur Kirke Hart, a wealthy businessman built the Hart House Hotel in the Village of Medina, Orleans County, New York. The historic hotel opened to the first traveler in Medina in 1876. The Italianate-style hotel boasted 30 well-appointed rooms, a restaurant, a bar, and a billiards room. ⁷  In 1892, Worden purchased the Hart House Hotel Hart. from Hart. ⁸ Worden owned and managed the hotel until his death on 16 Jun 1902. He left the hotel to his wife Emma and his thirty-two-year-old son, Frederick. It’s unknown how long Emma and Frederick owned and managed the hotel.

Hart House, Medina, New York, Courtesy of Andre Carrotflower, Wikipedia, Creative Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Andre_Carrotflower

According to the Hart House story, dwindling demand caused the hotel to close in 1918. Enter clothier, Robert Newell, who purchased the hotel converting the 14,000 square foot hotel into a factory that employed one hundred employees. The factory custom fit and manufactured tailored shirts and pajamas for the likes of Bob Hope and John Jacob Aster. Eventually, the factory closed; the building stayed vacant until Renewell, LLC purchased it in 2005.

A ten-year restoration project revived the building to include several businesses, including a boutique hotel and the Shirt Factory Café. I hope to visit the Hart House Hotel in the future.

This month’s theme is branching out. When researching an ancestor, I also research their family members and neighbors. Sometimes I find what I am looking for in these records, along with interesting stories.  

Worden Babcock is my first cousin five times removed. He is the son of Lemuel Babcock and grandson of Jesse Babcock. Jesse is my fifth great-grandfather.

¹Service record, Enlistment record for Worden Babcock in the 68th Indiana Infantry; Civil War Service Index, Civil War; digital images, Fold3 (https://www.fold3.com/image/294167089?terms=war,us,civil,babcock,worden : accessed 4 Feb 2022). 



⁴Historical Data Systems, Inc., “U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2022), Record for Lemuel Babcock, 68th Infantry, Company E, Died of disease on 28 Mar 1863, buried in Nashville National Cemetery; Citing Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Indiana; SUVCW Database: http://www.suvcwdb.org/. 

⁵Orleans County GenWeb, Orleans County, New York (http://orleans.nygenweb.net/index.htm : accessed 4 Feb 2022), Worden Babcock Obituary appearing in the Medina Tribune, 19 Jun 1902. 

⁶1900 U.S. census, Orleans, New York, population schedule, Ridgeway, enumeration district (ED) 0109, p. 31, dwelling 696, family 708, Household of Worden Babcock; digital images, Ancestry.com, Operations (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2022); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623.


⁸New York, Probate Records, 1799-1905, Will of Worden Babcock, Orleans County, Vol. 28, Pages 562-563, Image 692 of 745; digital images, Ancestry.com, Operations, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Feb 2022).