Thursday, August 29, 2013

Earliest Known Record About Claiborne West b. 1759

In "Claiborne Dandridge West of Buckingham County Virginia" by Louetta West Wilson and John William Johnson (published 1967) on page 1, it states the earliest known record of him is on the Personal Tax lists of 1787-88 of Buckingham County, Virginia, where he is listed as residing on John Benning estate among the white tithables over 21 years of age.   In 1789-90 he is listed by name among the tithables on the estate of Robert Jones.  It is stated that he may have been an overseer [but no sources are given for this].  The book also states that at the time of the first tax listing he was 28 years old but this might be speculation based on the date of birth on his gravestone (15 Nov 1759), which was known to the authors of the book.  Claiborne died 1 Mar 1822 (gravestone and court estate records).  

After Claiborne’s death, his wife remarried (to her third husband) and died in 1839.  After her death Claiborne's joint gravestone with his wife was created based on information from an unknown person, possibly Claiborne’s last wife’s third husband [Ambrose Davie].  No other indication of a date of birth exists for Claiborne other than  the aforementioned tax list stating he was over 21 years of age and his gravestone created by an unknown person seventeen or more years after his death.  The fact that a day and month are included on the gravestone lend it credibility. A family bible of some description did exist but has long since disappeared.  Nothing is known of its contents and nothing can be concretely attributed to it.

As an addendum: The spelling of Claiborne’s (d. 1822) first name is uncertain.  No known signature as “Claiborne West” (or variant spellings of “Claiborne”) are known to exist.  He signed his will “Clab West.”  Other documents that may be attributed to him are signed “C West,” “Cl West”, or “Cla West” (deeds, petitions, etc.).  His gravestone (and that of his son) spells it “Claibourn.”  

Further, there is absolutely no known documentary record giving the “first” Claiborne’s (d. 1822) middle name or initial    A son of the Claiborne (d. 1822) is identified as Claiborne D. West (1810-1861) in several court records but the only known record mentioning a “Claiborne Dandridge West” is in a record left in the early 1900's by a son of the second Claiborne (1810-1861) referring to his father.

Certainly there is a “Claiborne” family prominent in early colonial Virginia and later,  which has been well scrutinized without a hint being found of either of our Claiborne's (father or son).

I would be most interested in hearing from  anyone having any sources to the contrary of anything covered here.

Submitted by George L. Holder  [glholder AT]

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