Saturday, August 31, 2013

West Families with Quaker Connections

Joy Ikelman posted on the West, Fike site 31 Aug 2013 [paraphrased]:
David West (Susanna Hoag) -- he was a Quaker, which seems to be unusual for the WEST Surname Project of the FTDNA Group #5.  I responded (shortly afterwards) with the following comments:

Thanks, Joy. I want to point out that there may be more Quakers than you think among the WEST family. Our Thomas West, Sr. family records can be found (in order) Granville, Bute (later discontinued into Warren & Franklin Cos.), Orange and then Chatham County before the family went into many separate directions.

Now, a little geographical history of early NC county formation. In 1752 Orange County was formed from 3 counties: Bladen, Granville & Johnston. In 1752 Thomas West was recorded in Granville Co. to the east of newly formed Orange Co. In 1764, Bute Co. was formed from the eastern 1/2 of Granville Co. where we can find records of Thomas West. In 1770, Guilford is formed out of the west 1/3 of Orange county (along with a near equal size of land from Rowan County resulting in Orange & Guilford being about the same size, side by side; except in the same year, Chatham County is formed from the S.E. 1/6 part of Orange County. Therefore in 1770, Guilford adjoined the entire western borders of Orange & Chatham County. In 1777 Caswell Co. took the N. 1/2 of Orange Co. reducing its size to nearly the same as Chatham Co. In 1778, Randolph was formed from the 1/3 S. part of Guilford making Randolph and Chatham sharing the exact same border between them, while the new S. half of Guilford's eastern border is shared with Orange County. Then, in 1785, Rockingham County was formed out of Guilford Co. reducing it to the same size as Orange Co. The result being that Guilford & Orange are at the top of a near square group of 4 counties with Randolph and Chatham being at the bottom. All four counties are about the same size, as well. This remained that way until 1849 when Alamance was formed out of the eastern 1/2 of Orange County squeezing in between Guilford & Orange, now making it into a 5-county square with 3 across the top!

I suspect that for many reading this the geography above is confusing... it is not to me; however, remember, I have been studying these county formations for about 35 years! The part to remember is that the area that became Guilford County was in very close proximity (actually was part of) the counties that Thomas West and family were. This whole area of North Carolina was the home of many Quaker families leaving Virginia with Guilford County becoming heavily inhabited by Quakers. Thomas West, Sr. son Ignatius West had a son William who married a woman by the name of Cook... she died quite young and William left little Abram with the Cook family of Guilford Co. while William decided to travel to Christian County, where his Uncle Thomas West had moved. He married a Lacy woman from Chatham County - they had twins that were born just after William had died! They grew up and were known as the West Brothers Gunsmiths. They were the half brothers of Abram. Now Abram married Sina Hadley, and they migrated with the Hadley's to Hendricks County, Indiana just east of Marion Co. which is Indianapolis (the state capital). I discovered last year that Hendricks Co. had a township known as Guilford Township... I thought that was interesting. At the library, I soon discovered that the Quakers who settled there were from Guilford Co., NC led by Abram West's father-in-law Hadley! Now, without any proof, I suspect that William West named his son Abram as a good Quaker name because his in-laws the Cook family were Quakers. A few generations later in Hendricks County, IN, Abram and his family became Methodists or Baptists... I will have to verify which denomination they became.

- Sumitted by John G. West


  1. John West said, with regards to Abram West & Sina Hadley: "A few generations later in Hendricks County, IN, Abram and his family became Methodists or Baptists ... I will have to verify which denomination they became."

    I'm thinking Methodist? I have an old xerox of a pub called "History of the West Family" that addresses Ignatius, William, Abram. Talks about the West reunions in Indiana. Don't know the publication date -maybe 1950s? Page 18. It says:

    "He [Abram] and his wife [Sina] were charter members of the M.E. Church of Pecksburg [Hendricks County, Indiana], now abandoned. It was [...]lt on their land, south of the east and west road, [...]d east of the creek. The West home was headquarters for the preachers who passed that way."

    1. Thanks, Joy. I actually attended one of this West Family Reunions before they stopped having them. The booklet that you mention of the West Family History is one of about 5 that were published (& updated) from time to time by the West Family Association (descendants of Abram West). I have a copy of all of them... there are 2 or 3 editions available on the Internet that can be downloaded or printed out. I thought they were Methodists.