History Bytes: Katherine Prescott Wormeley

May 5, 2023

The coat of arms of Ralph Wormeley of Yorkshire, England and York Co., Virginia 1635, direct ancestor of Katherine Prescott Wormeley of Newport.

Katherine Prescott Wormeley (1830-1908) was a reformer, author and philanthropist who served as superintendent of the Lovell Civil War Hospital at Portsmouth Grove, RI, and a founder of the United States Sanitary Commission. She lived in a cottage at the corner of Old Beach Road and Red Cross Avenue (2 Red Cross Avenue, pictured above). The house was designed by Charles Follen McKim in 1876, with additions by McKim, Mead & White in 1882. By 1893, Wormeley had moved to New Hampshire and sold the house to Elizabeth Hayden.

Recently, the Committee on Heraldry of the New England Historic Genealogical Society enrolled the coat of arms of her direct ancestor Ralph Wormeley of Yorkshire, England and York County, VA 1635. The arms date back to a wax seal used by John de Wormeley in 1349.