Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lynn West (b. 1775; d. 26 Jan 1836)

Lynn West (b. 1775; d. 26 Jan 1836)

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, 2013. Disclaimers apply.

Lynn 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 (Anne Linn) (b. ca. late 1740s; d. ca. 1780)
            Lynn West (b. ca. 1775; d. 26 Jan 1836) m. Susan Jackson (b. 1777; d. 8 Aug 1860)


Birth Date: 1775? Or 1770? Lynn West was born about 1775, or perhaps as early as 1770, to James West and Ann Lynn West. The primary source [1] sets the date as 1775 based on the story of Lynn coming to Kentucky in 1784 at age nine. However, the Lexington Observer and Reporter reported in his death notice: “Capt. Lynn West, of Georgetown [Kentucky]. One of the oldest settlers of that place. Died Jan. 26, 1836, aged 66 years.” [2]

I chose the 1775 date based on the migration story of Lynn West and his Uncle Edward West which has been repeated in various independent accounts. Lynn had three sisters: Ann (Nancy),  Catherine (Katy), and Jane. In legal documents, Lynn is always listed third, and sister Jane West is mentioned last. In a deposition of 1795, Francis Lynn, brother to Ann Lynn West says:

“He [the grandfather 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.” [3]

It is likely that sisters Ann and Kate were older than him by say, four and two years. Lynn would have been perhaps five years old when his father died - certainly if the 1755 birth date is assumed. If the 1770 birth date is used, then Lynn West was the child that was 10 years old, and that would not fit the fact that he came to Kentucky at the age of nine.
Lynn West and his sisters were probably born in Prince William County, Virginia. Perhaps the birth records of these West children might have been recorded in Hamilton Parish or Dettingen Parish, but neither Parish records are available at this time.

He was named after his mother’s family. James and Ann West and their four children probably lived on land next to their grandparents John and Isabell Lynn. [4]

His Father and Mother Die. Sometime before 3 July 1780, James West died.[5]  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, Lynn West’s grandfather, 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.

He is Bonded to a Blacksmith. Francis Lynn’s deposition continues:

“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.”[6]

This phrase meant that Lynn was legally bound to a Master blacksmith, usually for a period of seven years. Becoming an apprentice was one way that boys could receive an education and prepare for future employment. In general, apprenticeship started at age 14. But certainly it could have started sooner. Perhaps Lynn West was only seven or eight years old. Francis West, above, implies that the “bonding” was carried out.

Apparently, Uncle Edward West found the arrangement unacceptable and brought his 9-year-old nephew to Kentucky in 1784.

Lynn West Migrates West to Kentucky with Edward West. Edward West, Sr. and Lynn West came to the Woodford County, Kentucky area (now Scott County) in 1784. This area was still part of Virginia at that time. Earliest Kentucky histories say Edward West came from his land in Fredericksburg, Stafford County, Virginia. [7] One of his sons, Edward West, Jr. arrived one year later from Falmouth, Stafford County, Virginia [8] which is about 2 miles away. Since both were listed in close proximity in the Virginia census of 1785 [9], both probably came from Falmouth, Virginia.

The place Edward West and nephew Lynn settled was originally called Lebanon.  It was a sparsely populated and wild land, located on the Elkhorn River and its branches. The area had been first settled by White people about 10 years before. [10] In 1790, after a petition by settlers, the town was renamed George Town, and later Georgetown. Lebanon residents that signed the petition in 1790 included Edward West, and his sons William Mills West, Lewis West, and James West. [11] By this time, Lynn was 15. In 1792, Kentucky became a State; in 1793 Scott County was carved from Woodford County.

Lynn West, Gunsmith of Georgetown. Uncle Edward West brought his business with him:

“Firearms were a necessary household article in these early times, and in 1784 Mr. Edward West, from Fredericksburg, Va., settled in Georgetown [Kentucky] as a gunsmith. He erected a log house near the Spring Branch, where he manufactured rifles chiefly, for which there was great demand. He also invented a mold for casting or molding pewter into plates and basins, then in great request and almost indispensable to every housekeeper.” [12]

He taught Lynn West the gunsmith trade. Later, Lynn West later taught his son Lewis H. West (b. 1800) the trade, and the two were renown for their skill. Here are photos of rifles made by Lynn West and his son Lewis, on display at the 2012 Lake Cumberland Show in Kentucky. Scroll down the page; click on the pictures to enlarge.

Lynn West Returns to Virginia about 1795. In 1794, his grandfather John Lynn died. 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 their father, James West. [13] The document gives us an idea of the extent of James West’s wealth:

“. . . [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 demanded 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.”[14]

Whatever the tone of the wording or the resolution of the litigation, one thing is clear. Lynn West received the land of James West. He sold it to Enock Renoe on 1 Dec 1796. Here is the complete description [15]:

This indenture made and entered into this first day of December in year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety six Between Lynn West of County of Scott and State of Kentucky of one part and Enock Renoe of County of Prince William of other part; Witnesseth that Lynn West for sum of One hundred and twenty pounds current money of Virginia to him in hand paid by Enock Renoe do by these presents bargain sell and confirm unto Enock Renoe his heirs a certain tract of land lying in Prince William County which decended to Lynn West from his Father, James West containing One hundred & two & three quarter acres and is bounded; Begining at a white Oak on East side of Philemons Branch, corner to William Pearson, etc. and extending thence North 68 East 84 poles to a red Oak, thence with a line which divides this land from Isaac Farrow So. 65 E. 91 poles to a corner of said Farrow and Francis Renoe, thence S. 18 Wt. 106 poles to Philemons Branch, thence down said Branch the meanders thereof N. 80 W. 16 poles, S. 33 W. 3 poles, No. 53 W. 21 poles, No. 72 W. 2 poles, S. 80 W. 4 poles to the mouth of a Ditch, thence with the Ditch N. 77 W. 30 poles, No. 74 W. 40 poles to a Sycamore and Poplar at the mouth of an Old Mill Race, thence down said Mill Race W. 76 poles to Philemons Branch, thence down the Branch N. 50 W. 26 poles, N. 70 W. 4 pole, N. 51 W. 4 poles to the mouth of Spunk Branch, thence to the Begining, excepting Two and a quarter acres sold by Lewis Renoe (when said land was in his possession) to William Ashomre for a Mill Seat and also the Revertion thereof, and all houses profits with the appurtenances of every kind; To have and to hold the aforesaid bargained premises unto Enock Renoe and his heirs; and Lynn West his heirs doth warrant and for ever defend the bargained premises unto Enock Renoe and his heirs against all claims of any persons; In Witness whereof the said Lynn West hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and year first written.

Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presence of
Thomas Chapman, Philip Dawe, Wm. Smith,
Lynn West, Bernard Gallagher, Abraham Sullivan

Dumfries December 1st 1796. Received of ENOCK RENOE One hundred and twenty pounds current money of Virginia the consideration for the within mentioned Deed Witness (same five as above) – Lynn West

This Deed and receipt thereon from Lynn West to Enock Renoe were proved by the Oaths of William Smith, Abraham Sullivan & Philip Dawe & ordered to be recorded. Teste John Williams Cl Cur.

Continuing Life in Georgetown, Kentucky. A month later, West married Susan Jackson, 26 January 1797, in Prince William County. [16] She was most likely kin to William Jackson who married his sister Catherine. “Before going to Virginia, he had erected a dwelling on the corner of Hamilton and what is now called Bourbon street.” [17] When he returned to Georgetown he continued his gunsmith business, and started his life with Susan. He was about 22 years old.

Children of Lynn and Susan West. The Wests had nine children. [18] They were:
            1. Lewis H. West (b. 16 May 1800 in Georgetown, KY; d. 28 Jan 1895, Gatesville, TX) m. Sarah Mahoney d. 1874. Five children.
            2. Elizabeth West, m. Mortimer Price
            3. Susan West,  (b. 28 Feb 1812; d. 25 Jan 1887) m (1) Crockett; m (2) George G. Stiffee, 1842 in Georgetown
            4. Preston West (b. 1802; d. 31 Oct 1894, Charleston, IN). m (1) Elizabeth Crawford; m (2) Elvira Crawford; m (3) Elizabeth [19]
            5. Clinton West
            6. Juliann West, m. Elgin
            7. Permelia West, m. Stevenson
            8. Emeline West, m. Osburn
            9. John West

Lynn West, Captain 1st Regiment, War of 1812. “Already active in Scott County’s 77th Regiment before war against Great Britain was declared, Captain West offered his military abilities and training to the war effort and was commissioned captain in the 1st Regiment August 7, 1812. Records indicate that men from his company were detailed for the Raisin march but that Captain West did not accompany them to Frenchtown. . . He resigned his commission as captain 77th Regiment, May 6, 1815.” [20]

The reference to Frenchtown and the Raisin march is “The Battle of Frenchtown” which was fought January 18–22, 1813. The location was Frenchtown in the Michigan Territory; today it is the city of Monroe, Michigan. There were 397 Americans killed in this battle, hundreds were taken prisoner by the British, and dozens were killed by Indians in a subsequent massacre. [21]

Horse Breeder and Race Track Owner. “Captain West was an energetic, industrious and high-toned man. He was fond of the blooded horses, of which he raised and ran a good many.” [22] He also established the Gano Race Track along the Elkhorn creek about one mile outside of Georgetown. It was the first race track established in Scott County. [23]

Scott County Court, Sep 1803. Lynn West and two other men were appointed Commissioners in charge of repairs to the Cincinnati and Bourbon bridges in Georgetown.
March 10, 1804. Lynn West was elected to the Board of Trustees in Georgetown.
1810 United States Federal Census. Lynn West’s entry has 7 free white males, 3 free white females, and 4 slaves.
Scott County Court, 1816. Lynn West and two other men are appointed to devise an extension of Bourbon Street and Washington Street, to intersect with the road leading to Paris, Kentucky. [24]
1820 United States Federal Census. Lynn West’s entry has 9 free white males, 6 free white females, and 9 slaves. Three persons are “engaged in manufacturing.”
Scott County Deeds of 1829. Lynn West deeded several lots to his son Lewis H. West to run his own business. [25]

The Will of Lynn West. Unfortunately, the Wills for Scott County from 1832 to 1836 were lost in a Court House fire of 1837. [26] However, much more information on Lynn West will probably be found in thorough examinations of records of Georgetown, Scott County, Kentucky.


1. Gano, S.F., “History of Georgetown,” in B.O. Gaines, History of Scott County, Vol. 2, 1898 and 1905. Available through Kentucky Digital Library, Gaines’ publication was reprinted several times, so page numbering varies. S.F. Gano’s account is widely copied by other Kentucky history books. S.F. Gano was a medical doctor in Georgetown.

2. Lexington Observer and Reporter, January 27, 1836 issue. Listed in Clift, G. Glenn, 1942: “Kentucky Marriages and Obituaries, Volume 2.” Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 40, No. 130, p. 65.

3. Deposition of Francis Lynn dated from about 13 November 1795, Fauquier County, Virginia, in response to the litigation brought by the children of James and Ann West.

4. A document of 6 July 1779 is a land sale between James and Ann West and Henry Peyton; this land adjoined the John Lynne property. Mr. Peyton bought the property from James West. Prince William Deed Book U, p. 33-34. The information is listed in Timeline.Lynn in Prince William, Virginia which may be found at:,_Virginia

5. The first deed that mentions “James West, dec.,” is from 3 Jul 1780. (from Timeline.Lynn in Prince William, Virginia). 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.

6. Deposition of Francis Lynn, 13 November 1795.

7. Baer, Mabel Van Dyke. “The Ancestry of Edward West of Lexington, Kentucky, 1757-1827,” The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society; Vol. 58, No. 4, p. 354-363.

8. McCullough, Samuel D., 1859: “Interesting Reminiscences of an Early Experiment in Steam Navigation.” The Scientific American, Vol. 1, No. 1, New York, p. 4. Letter from John B. West.

9. U.S. Census Bureau, First Census of the United States; Heads of Families – Virginia, 1783-1786. Stafford County begins on page 107 and contains approximately 450 names; the header gives the date of 1785.

10. Gano, p. 177.

11. Apple, Lindsey; Frederick A. Johnston, and Ann Bolton Bevins, 1993: Scott County, Kentucky: A History. Scott County Historical Society, Georgetown, Kentucky, p. 39.

12. Gano, p. 180.

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

14. Deposition of Francis Lynn, 13 November 1795.

15. Prince William County Deeds 1796-1799, pp. 45-47.

16. 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.

17. Gano, p. 236.

18. Pearson, Will and Sandy, 2003: “The West Family: Descendants of John West.” This is the first complete list I’ve seen.

19. Mary D., 2007 to present: “Fast Horses, Buns, and Bourbon,” Mary’s Genealogy Blog: Family History Stories and Personal Reflections. 1 Sep 2008. Mary is a descendant of Preston West. She has done a great job searching for information on Preston; adding new material to the data in 2013.

20. Clift, p. 164.

21. Wikipedia, Battle of Frenchtown.

22. Gano, p. 236.

23. Gaines, B.O., 1898: History of Scott County, Vol. 2, p. 107. Available through Kentucky Digital Library,

24. All three are brief news reports in Gains, above.

25. Pearson, Will and Sandy, 2003: “The West Family: The West Family of Kentucky.”



  1. 31 Oct 2013. MORE INFORMATION relating to Lynn West as "Horse Breeder and Race Track Owner." West Family researchers have wondered about Richard West (1819-1877). He was a horse breeder and owner of the Edge Hill Farm and track in Georgetown. Was he related? The answer is no.

    The West Family DNA Project places him in Family Group #13, descended from Joseph P. West, 1662, Maryland. See Richard West was the son of Samuel West of Montgomery County, MD.

  2. The Kentucky Historical Society has a shirt that belonged to Lynn West in their collections:;id=D09E15BA-89A3-42E8-91C3-956810168543;type=101

  3. Oh wow, Mary this is really cool. Imagine that! Thanks for passing the link to us!

  4. Elizabeth Gano West married Mortimer Bird Price
    Son: Preston Gano Price
    Daughter: Matilda Price