Column: Worthington's liquor store has perfect namesake
WORTHINGTON -- There is much to be said for the notion that businesses are more successful if they have an owner's name, a founder's name. I think there is no question Acme Clothes Co. could never have done as well as JC Penney. One of the reason...
WORTHINGTON -- There is much to be said for the notion that businesses are more successful if they have an owner's name, a founder's name.
I think there is no question Acme Clothes Co. could never have done as well as JC Penney. One of the reasons people made Ford Motor Co. successful was that Henry put his name on his cars. Charles Goodyear named his tire company Goodyear Tire & Rubber; B.F. Goodrich named his tire company B.F. Goodrich Co.
Like all cities these days, the city of Worthington is strapped for cash. I have wondered if the city might boost revenues by changing the name of Worthington Municipal Liquor Store to Thomas Worthington Municipal Liquor Store. TWM. It is a fitting name in every way. Historically accurate.
The Thomas Worthington whose name lives on these Minnesota prairies was Ohio's sixth governor. All credit to TW. In truth, Thomas Worthington is about as exciting as George Washington. He was an able political leader who is remembered today as a man with short-clipped hair in a portrait painted in oil.
More exciting, far more interesting, is Thomas and Eleanor Worthington's son, Thomas Jr. Thomas Worthington (Jr.) was a boozer. To include his name in the name of a liquor store is in no way like naming the operation Billy Graham Liquor Store. In fact, TWJr's appetite for whiskey is one of the reasons he came to be court martialed by the Union Army.
There is much more to be said than to note Worthington Jr. had an appetite for alcohol. U.S. Grant also was snared by his appreciation for drink. ("Find out what particular kind he [Grant] uses and I'll send a barrel to each of the other generals," President Lincoln said.)
Prohibition was making its first stirrings. There was outrage and sensation in many circles, encouraged by politicians, when it was heard a military man used liquor. In truth, there were military leaders before Thomas Worthington and U.S. Grant who were known to take a drink, and (it is said) to this day there are soldiers and generals who will down a whiskey.
Young Tom Worthington was born in 1807. This made him 13 years older than Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and 15 years older than U.S. Grant. Age becomes important because Worthington, Sherman and Grant all had roles as commanders at the Battle at Shiloh. Col. Tom Worthington, commander of Ohio's 46th Regiment, did not have great respect for the kids who were the top commanders at Shiloh.
Tom Worthington was a graduate of West Point (1827) and served with distinction in the War with Mexico. He wrote a book on military tactics that attracted attention. When the Civil War began, Tom Worthington, age 54, raised an infantry regiment, the Ohio 46th Volunteer Infantry. Tom became Col. Worthington, commander.
I sent to the National Archives requesting the existing records of Col. Thomas Worthington. They sent me 16 pages, most of them related to the Worthington Court Martial and the Colonel's efforts to obtain a pension.
The 46th Ohio was a key regiment and a memorably-fine military unit in the great battle at Shiloh. It is credited by some historians with saving the Union Army from a Rebel assault on the right flank.
The 46th Ohio was attached to Gen. Sherman's division. After the Union won at Shiloh, Gen. Sherman and Gen. Grant were made the heroes. Tom Worthington was furious. He believed the kids had not done well at all, he believed Sherman ignored important warnings Worthington sent to him and he wrote a book that included some false information and some libelous information regarding Gens. Grant and Sherman.
Well -- if you wrote a book during World War II saying Gen. Eisenhower and Gen. Patton were stumblebum amateurs, you know you would be in trouble. Col. Worthington got himself in great trouble.
Worthington was court martialed -- his boozing was among the charges -- and he was kicked out of the Union Army. Later the Judge Advocate General restored Worthington, but he had no important role. He spent nearly 20 years getting his pension.
So -- what do you think?
Thomas Worthington Municipal Liquor Store? You think this might boost sales?
Seems worth a try.
Ray Crippen is a former editor of the Daily Globe. His column appears on Saturdays.