Wednesday, October 30, 2013

James West (b. 26 Sep 1742; d. ca. 1780)

James West (b. 26 Sep 1742; d. ca. 1780)

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, 2013. Disclaimers apply.

James West is descended from John West (d. 1744) of Stafford County, Virginia, and therefore is a part of Family Group #5:

John West (d. 1744) m. Dorothy ________
James West (b. 26 Sep 1742; d. ca. 1780) m. Ann Lynn (b. ca. late 1740s; d. ca. 1780)


The Overwharton Parish Register Record. John West’s Will of 1744 (Stafford County, Virginia, Will Book M, p. 411-412) [1] lists his sons in this order: Edward, John, William, and James. The birth of James was recorded in the Overwharton Parish Register two years earlier as: “West, James. Son of John, born September 26, 1742.” [2]

How do we know that “West, James, Son of John . . .” refers to John, the writer of the Will? Could this James West actually be John Jr.’s son? Here is the answer. When the Will was written, no heirs of his sons (including John Jr.) existed.  The legal wording of the Will states: “Heirs of their bodies Lawfully begotten and for want of such Heirs.”  All four brothers are unmarried, and without heirs. Therefore, James was the son of John Sr., the writer of the Will. James was two years old when his father died.

His mother, Dorothy West, married again, to Lawrence Suddeth, 18 Apr 1745. They had two known children. Elizabeth Suddeth, born 3 Nov 1745, and Grace Suddeth, born 23 Sep 1749. [3] The combined West and Suddeth families was what we would call today a “blended family.” Because of James’ age, we can guess that he barely remembered his biological father. He was raised by Dorothy and Lawrence Suddeth.

He Marries Anne Lynn. James West married Anne Lynn of Prince William County after 1764 (after he was 22), but likely before 1771 (estimated year of their first child). Anne Lynn was the daughter of John and Isabell Lynn. She was not yet married in 1764. This is mentioned in the Will of Robert Fristoe, son of Richard Fristoe, in 1764. Fristoe’s Will reads in part:

“I give to Ann Lynn the Daughter of John Lynn & Isabell his wife, 10 pounds & in case she should die before she is married or arrives to the age of 18, then it is my desire that it shall go to her Brother Frank Lynn and in case he shall die before he arrives to age of 21, then go to the next Lawful heir.” [4]

The Will of Robert Fristoe suggests that in 1764, Ann is not yet 18 years old, and unmarried. So, as an example, if Ann is as old as 17 or as young as 13 in 1764, her birth year would be circa 1746 to 1751. Thus, I have placed her birth date as circa late 1740s. (As an aside, the Fristoe Family interacted with the West Family over the years in Stafford County.)

Ann Lynn’s siblings were John Lynn, Lewis Lynn, Francis Lynn, Fielding Lynn, Thompson Lynn, and Sukey Lynn (m._____ Thomas). This is the order they were mentioned in father John Lynn’s will of 1794. (5)

Children of James and Ann West. In legal documents, the children are mentioned in this order:
1. Ann “Nancy” West (b. ca. 1771?) married William Davis
2. Catherine “Katy” West (b. ca. 1773?), married William Jackson
3. Lynn West (b. 1775; d. 26 Jan 1836). Moved to Georgetown, Kentucky in 1784, age 9, with his Uncle Edward West. [6] Married Susan (or Susannah) Jackson 26 Jan 1797 in Prince William County. [7]
4. Jane West (b. ca. 1777?) was mentioned in the Will of John Lynn in 1794. In documents dated 1797, was still not married. She may have married later.

James and Ann West Acquire Land. John West willed “two hundred Acres of land lying in Prince William County bought of William Cockrill” to his four sons. (See John West (d. ca. 1744) on this Blog.)  We do not know if James received this land, a portion of this land, or received a portion of its resale. We know, however, that James West acquired land in Prince William County.
A document of 6 July 1779 “mentions an indenture between James and Ann West and Henry Peyton as having land adjoining the John Lynne property.”[8] It appears from the deed that Mr. Peyton bought this property from James West. Peyton’s Will includes:

“. . . tract of land bought of James West and all remaining part of land I purchased of Bristoes [Fristoes?] tract, stocks, etc during natural life and after her [his wife Margaret Peyton] death to be equally divided between my children: Mary, John, Frances, Betty, and grand child Robert Peyton.” [9] [10]

James and Ann West had more land. It was passed down to his son Lynn West who sold it in 1796, sixteen years after his father’s death. The full description of the land is described elsewhere. (See Lynn West (b. 1775; d. 26 Jan 1836) on this Blog.) The abstract of this transaction reads:

1 December 1796 – Indenture in which Lynn West, of the County of Scott, State of Kentucky sells to Enoch Renoe, of the County of Prince William, State of Virginia for 120 pds. Current money, a tract of land in Prince William County which descended to the said Lynn West from his father, James West, containing 102 and three-fourths acre,  adjoining land of Francis Reno, Isaac Farrow, William Pearson, etc., excepting 2 and one-fourth acres sold by Lewis Renoe when said land was in his possession, to William Ashmore for a mill seat, etc. Recorded December 1796. [11]

The Death of James and Ann West. Sometime before 3 July 1780, James West died.[12]  He died intestate (without a Will). Because Ann Lynn West was not mentioned after this, she may have died at the same time, or before him. This is not known for certain. John Lynn, Ann’s father, became the Administrator of James West’s estate, and raised the four very young children along with the children of his own that were still living at home.

By 1794, when John Lynn died, Catherine West was married to William Jackson, Ann West was married to William Davis, and Lynn West was living in Georgetown, Kentucky, supported by his Uncle Edward West. Lynn West was not yet married.  Only Jane West remained at John Lynn’s residence. In John Lynn’s Will, he divided his land and possessions among his adult children. He also left “five pounds to my Grand Daughter Jane West to buy her a Suit of Clothes.”[13]

After John Lynn died, the administration of any of James West’s estate was possibly assumed by Peter Grant of Fauquier County. (The name of Peter Grant appears in at least one other FG#5 West-related document, for Ignatius West.) In litigation (chancery) in 1795, William and Ann Davis, William and Catherine Jackson, Lynn West and Jane West brought suit against the administrator of John Lynn’s Will, believing they were wronged in the distribution of the estate of James West. [14]

A deposition by Francis Lynn, son of John Lynn, stated in response:

“He [father John Lynn] had charge of the 4 children viz Nancy West, Katy West, Lynn West & Jane West at a very early period of their infancy; the oldest of Children not exceeding 10 years of age, at the time of his administering on West’s Estate. These Girls remained with my father, until they became women & were supported by him. The son also continued with him until he was of age to be bonded out to Daniel Davies to learn the blacksmith trade.”[15]

The document also gives us an idea of the extent of James West’s wealth. The adult children state:

“. . . [We] are informed that he [James West] was clear of debt and possessed of a personal estate of considerable value, that a certain John Lynn obtained letters of administration on the said James West’s estate from the County Court of Prince William . . . [and] further state that the said John Lynn never underwent any inventory of appraisement of said estate. And they have been advised that . . . an amount of sales of a part of the said estate having appropriated the . . .” [illegible . . .]  

The suit also demands the whereabouts of some of West’s personal items such as furniture, cow and calf, pewter, clothing, and a man’s saddle, that “was by the said Lynn [West] carried home [by John Lynn] and converted to his own use.” Francis Lynn explained that he knew of the fate of some items, but “I do not know that any other property belonging to the Estate of James West then that which before have mentioned ever came into my Father’s hands.”
There is no available document that mentions the resolution of this effort. However, we do know that Lynn West received the land of James West and sold it in 1796. And then, before he went back to Kentucky, Lynn married Susan Jackson, perhaps a sister to William Jackson, who married his sister Catherine West.

1. See John West (d. ca. 1744) on this Blog for a transcription of the Will of John West.

2. Boogher, Wm. F., 1899: Virginia; Overwharton Parish Register, 1720 to 1760; Old Stafford County. Saxton Publishing Co., Washington, D.C., p. 179.

3. Ibid, p. 160, 162, and 181.

4. Will of Robert Fristoe. Stafford County Will Book “O”, 15 Sep 1764. This was recorded in full on Timeline.Lynn in Prince William, Virginia. I am very grateful for the work of “Janiejac” in compiling this information on the Linn family through proven documents. The Timeline may be found at,_Virginia

5. 18 Aug 1794, Fauquier County, Will Book 2, p. 345. Will of John Lynn. Abstract found at Timeline.Lynn in Prince William, Virginia, linked above. The full Will was retrieved for me by Ron Roy, West Family researcher.

6. Gano, S.F., “History of Georgetown,” in B.O. Gaines, History of Scott County, Vol. 2, p. 236. Available through Kentucky Digital Library,

7. Clift, Garrett Glenn, 1961: Remember the Raisin! Kentucky and Kentuckians in the Battles and Massacre at Frenchtown, Michigan Territory, in the War of 1812. Genealogical Publishing Company, p. 164.

8. Document dated 6 July 1779. Prince William Deed Book U, p. 33-34. The abstract is mentioned in the John Lynn Timeline. See reference #4, above. I was unable to find this document.

9. Prince William County, Virginia, Will Book G, p. 119-122. Abstract found at “Henry Peyton,” 1658-1758 Charles County MD Famlies “The first 100 years.” Compiled by Mike Marshall. Found at:
10. Henry Peyton was a brother to Craven Peyton, who married Ann West, daughter of William West (b. ca. 1709 in Stafford County; d. 1769 in Loudoun County). It is unknown at this time if William West was related (by DNA) to John West, father of James West. An extended note about the possible relationship is in Reference #4 at William Edward West (b. 10 Dec 1788; d. 2 Nov 1857) on this Blog.

11. Hamlin, Charles Hughes, 1975: Virginia Ancestors and Adventurers. Genealogical Publishing Company, p. 15. Abstract, Prince William Co., VA Deed Book Z, page 45.

12. The first deed that mentions “James West, dec.,” is from 3 Jul 1780. (from Timeline.Lynn in Prince William, Virginia, linked above). Prince William County, VA Bond Book, August 1753-1782, p. 7 (abstracts compiled by June Whitehurst Johnson). The other names mentioned are John Lynn, Admin, Wm. Gains and Wiliam Lynn.  I have not been able to find the complete abstract or the deed.

13. Will of John Lynn, 18 Aug 1794.

14. Fauquier Minute Book 13-230, circa 13 November 1795, Fauquier County, Virginia. Portions retrieved for me by Ron Roy, West Family researcher.

15. Deposition of Francis Lynn in Fauquier Minute Book 13-230, circa 13 November 1795 . 

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