Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Henry West and Thomas West of West DNA Family Group #5

Wests in Essex County, Massachusetts:
Henry West and Thomas West of West DNA Family Group #5

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, 2014. Disclaimers apply. Note: The use of double dating, such as 1630/1631, reflects the difference between the Julian and Gregorian Calendars.

Background: Judah West (b. 11 Sep 1765; d. 9 Apr 1825) was added to West DNA Family Group #5 in 2007.[1] He is a descendant of Thomas West (b. 1630/1631; d. 23 Dec 1720). Thomas West had a brother, Henry West (b. 1629; d. Sep 1703). Therefore Henry West is also part of FG#5. These two men lived in Essex County, Massachusetts during the 1600s. This is the second in a series of articles about this line of the FG#5 West families.

Currently (February 2014) Henry West and Thomas West, brothers, are the earliest documented members of Family Group #5. They lived in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts during the 1600s to early 1700s.

Dedicated to Dr. Harry Irwin West, Jr.
Dr. Harry Irwin West (1925-2004) was the foremost genealogist for Henry West (1629-1703). In 1997, he published Descendants of Henry West (1629-1703) of Salem, Massachusetts with some Collateral Lines of Interest. He traced his line through Samuel West (b. 1666)—Henry West’s first son. [2] Dr. West earned his PhD in physics from Stanford University in 1955. He retired from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, California, in 1990, after 45 years of service. [3] He spent many years researching his ancestry.

I have verified all of Dr. West’s early Salem-related information against original records. In the “Reference and Additional Notes” section, I have cited the original source. Then I have referenced the page number from Dr. West’s publication, if he also used the information.

Henry West and Thomas West, Brothers
Henry West mentioned his brother Thomas in his Will of September 1703 [4]:

Item, I give to my brother Thomas Westt if he survives me ye Three pounds Ten shillings which is due to me by obligation from his son Benjamin who lives at the Southward.

Thomas West survived his brother by 17 years; he died in 1720. [5] His son, Benjamin West, was living “at the Southward” in Enfield, Connecticut. [6] In the Will, Henry West cancelled his nephew’s debt to him.

Three “Thomas Wests” lived in Essex County, MA, in the mid- to late-1600s. Three “John Wests” were also alive at that time. [7] Fortunately for researchers, only one “Henry West” lived in Essex County during this time period. His presence in town and court records is useful in identifying the various “Thomases” and “Johns,” placing them with the correct families.

The birth year of Henry West is determined by several court records that mention his general age in years. For example:  “Henry West, aged about forty-nine years, and John Norton, aged about forty years, deposed. Sworn, 10:4:1678.” [8] Also, “Henry West, aged about fifty-six years, and John Maskoal, aged thirty-four years, testified . . .” (25 Jun 1685). [9] These court depositions and others point to 1629 as his likely year of birth.

The birth year of Thomas West is determined from his tombstone at Bradford Cemetery, Essex County, Massachusetts. He died in December of 1720 at the age of 89. We use 1630/1631 as his birth year, reflecting the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars. [10]

Parents of Henry and Thomas West
For more than 100 years, West family researchers have been trying to connect all of the Wests that lived in 17th Century Essex County, MA. In 1908, Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts was published. [11] William Richard Cutter wrote:

                Thomas West, immigrant ancestor, was born in England about 1600 and came to Massachusetts Bay colony in the ship Mary and John, sailing March 24, 1633-34. He settled at Salem where he had a grant of land in 1640. His descendants are numerous in Beverly, Massachusetts. He is the progenitor of the Chester, New Hampshire family. His sons Henry and Thomas, and Henry’s wife Elizabeth were admitted to the Salem church, January 4, 1665-66.
The information about Thomas West (the elder, b. ca. 1600) has been accepted as truth for many years. This is a mistake. Cutter (1908) has mixed up three separate West families within his opening paragraph. Thomas West (b. ca 1600) had no recorded wife or children.  No documentation proves that Henry and Thomas were his sons. 
Dr. West wrote: “. . . one would expect that the land that the first Thomas (b. ca 1600) had near the Great Pond [in Salem] would have passed to the brothers, and we find no evidence that it did.” [12] In fact, Thomas West (b. ca 1600) gave his land grant back to Salem, and it was re-granted to Thomas Robbins, who had land close by. [13] The practice of re-granting land was not unusual.

Cutter (1908) mentioned “numerous” descendants in Beverly, MA, and Chester, NH. These are actually descendants of John West (b. ca 1615). [14] John West is not known to be a part of West Family DNA FG#5 (as of February 2014). That leaves Henry and Thomas. Where did the brothers come from?

Looking at English Parish Records
There have been West researchers who believe that Henry and Thomas West came from Cuckfield Parish, Sussex, England. Dr. West had this commentary in 1997 [15; W1, W2, W3]:

            In searching English records we find a West family in Cuckfield [W1] that meets the age requirements (within a year), and they disappear from Cuckfield at the right time. However, at least two of the principals seem to have died in England in a nearby town. [W2] Also, these two brothers, Henry and Thomas, had two brothers, Walter and Bellingham (Bellingham was their mother’s maiden name) and these names should have been used in later generations in New England. It is with some reluctance that we do not accept this family because to have done so would have added five more generations. [W3]

I counted at least six separate “Thomas Wests” in the Cuckfield Parish records between 1608 and 1633, and seven “Henry Wests.” Dr. West is referring to a Thomas West that had four sons: Walter (b. 9 Jan 1624/1625), Henry (b. 10 May 1627), Thomas (b. 16 Oct 1629), and Bellingham (b. 10 Nov 1632). [16] The baptism dates are very close to the birth years of the New England brothers. Since this particular West line in Cuckfield Parish was an upper-class family associated with Woodmancote manor in Sussex, there is more information available.

In this particular line, Henry West died in 1674 in England. This is clearly not the Henry and Thomas we are seeking. See “References and Additional Notes,” below.

When I did a FamilySearch query on English parish records for any “Henry West” or “Thomas West,” limited to 1627-1632, there were many hits.  In Sussex there were records fitting the time frame in Patching Parish, Burwash Parish, and Eastergate Parish. There were multiple records in London. I also found records in Surrey, Gloucester, Westminster, Kent, Buckingham, and York. [17] There are many possibilities for further research.

The West Brothers in Early Essex County, Massachusetts, Records
Dr. West wrote, “Henry and Thomas could have lived in the Salem area many years, without leaving a trail through town or court records.” [18] In the Salem records, it is as if the brothers suddenly appeared.

The earliest record of Thomas West is his marriage to Phebe Waters in Oct 1658. [19] The first deed is that of a house and one acre of land (a “house lott”) that he bought in 1658/1659 from Thomas Hale in Salem. [20] In the deed, Thomas West is called a planter, implying that he was already farming. In 1658/1659 Thomas would have been about 28 years old.

The earliest record of Henry West is from Salem town records in 1661, when he was assigned to be the bell ringer and also given a town lot to build a house. He was 32 years old. [21] He married Elizabeth Merriam in 1664, at age 35. [22] The brothers and their wives were members of First Church, Salem, and baptized their first children on 25:1:1665 (Julian calendar). [23]

On 29 Apr 1668, Henry West (age 39) and Thomas West (age 37) took the oath of freemen, along with nine other men. [24] Freeman status meant they were given full civic rights, such as the right to vote and serve on juries. Sometimes this status meant that the men were free of all paid service to others, such as apprenticeships.

Based on these earliest records, we know that Henry West and Thomas West arrived in Salem before 1658. Perhaps they arrived during the Great Migrations of the 1640s, and lived elsewhere in New England before coming to Essex County, MA.

The migrations within New England mirrored those within England—more than one-third of people at the time would move at least once from their original settlement (or parish), often more. Reasons for migrations within New England included scarcity of useable land, religious conflicts, and lack of opportunities to work in the trades that they had learned. [25]

Henry West was a saddler—making saddles, harnesses, and bridles. [26] He would have been apprenticed to learn this trade before he started his own business in Salem. Was this apprenticeship in England? Was Henry West apprenticed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony? Was his father a saddler?

Henry West and Thomas West both named their first sons “Samuel.” Is this a clue, or is it coincidence?

For some reason Henry and Thomas West eluded Salem court records and town records up until 1658. Fortunately, there is more information about the brothers, including the names of some of their descendants.

Next: More about Henry West (1629-1703) of Salem

References and Additional Notes
1. West Family Group #5 results are at http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG5.
2. Harry Irwin West, Jr., 1997: Descendants of Henry West (1629-1703) of Salem, Massachusetts with Some Collateral Lines of Interest. Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, Iowa, 256 pages. Available on digital loan from http://oclc.org/en-US/home.html.
3. Don Johnston, editor, 2004: “Harry Irwin West,” Newsline, Public Affairs Office, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, July 30, 2004, p. 2.
4. Essex Will Probate No. 29341; West, p. 18.
5. Thomas West died in 1720. His tombstone at Bradford Burial Ground, Bradford, Massachusetts reads: “Here lyes buried the body of Mr. Thomas West who died December ye 23 1720 & in the 90th Year of his age.” This means he was 89 years old, which is his 90th year since birth. Photograph at: http://bradfordburialground.com/thomas_west_site_584.htm.
6. James Savage, 1860, A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692. Volume IV, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 488.
7. The three Thomas Wests in Essex County, MA, were: (1) Thomas West, b. circa 1600; (2) Thomas West, b. 1630/1631; and, (3) Thomas West (b. about 1740), son of John West. The three John Wests were: (1) John West, b. 1615; (2) John West, b. 1661, son of Twiford West; and (3) John West, b. 1667, son of Thomas West (b. 1630/1631). Only Thomas West (b. 1630/1631) and his son John West (b. 1667) are known to be part of West DNA Family Group #5.
8. George Francis Dow, editor, 1911: Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume 7. Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 56. Also referenced as “EIQC,” with volume number, and page number. EIQC:7:56. West, p. 5. The dating of 10:4:1678, most likely refers to the 10th day of the 4th month in 1678. The fourth month in the Julian calendar was June.
9. EIQC:9:473. West, p. 5.
10. According to the Julian calendar, the first month was March, and the tenth month was December. The eleventh and twelfth months of a year were January and February. We do not know the month of Thomas West’s birth. However, we know that it is later than December. He was 89 years old in December, and there are two months left in 1630 (Julian). Today, January and February would start a new year, so the date would be 1631 (Gregorian). His birth year is cited as 1630/1631. Some people of the time thought the calendar change from Julian to Gregorian was the work of the devil. Some genealogists, struggling with Julian v Gregorian calendar variations, would agree.
11. William Richard Cutter, 1908: Genealogical and Personal Memoirs Relating to the Families of Boston and Eastern Massachusetts. Volume I. Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, p. 559.
12. West, p. 8.
13. The Essex Institute, 1868: Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume I, 1634-1659. Salem, Massachusetts, p. 200 and 220. The Salem town records note on 11:3:1657, “Granted to Thomas Robins the thirtie Acres formerlie graunted to his predesesor Thomas West.” [23] The thirty acres were the original 20 from the Phillips Company venture that Thomas West (b. ca 1600s) joined, plus the 10 acres granted in 1642—probably land nearby. The land was still described as Thomas West’s land in 1658 but in the possession of Thomas Robins. This Thomas West, b. ca 1600s, cannot be linked to FG#5 (as of February 2014).
14.  Topsfield Historical Society, 1906: Vital Records of Beverly, Massachusetts to the End of the Year, 1849, Topsfield, Massachusetts, p. 598 and various other pages.
15. West, p. 8. He cites the following references, which I verified              to determine if there was any FG#5 link to this Bellingham/West family. I concluded that at this time (February 2014) there is no probable connection.
                W1. W.C. Renshaw, editor, 1911: The Parish Registers of Cuckfield, Sussex, 1598-1699. Sussex Record Society, Volume XIII, London, various pages. Also referenced as “Cuckfield Parish Register.” Available free from https://archive.org/details/oldestregisterbo13hawkuoft.
                W2. Woodmancote Register, St. Peters Church. I could not find this specific reference. Cuckfield and Woodmancote are 10 miles apart from each other in Sussex County. West (1997) says “at least two of the principals seem to have died in a nearby town,” which is—by the reference—Woodmancote. I am guessing the principals that Dr. West noted were Bellingham West and Henry West, based on Elwes (1876), next.
                Dudley George Cary Elwes, 1876: A History of the Castles, Mansions, and Manors of Western Sussex. Longmans & Co., London, p. 170-171. The Woodmancote manor “seems to have passed into the hands of a family named West, early in the seventeenth century. This family is said to have come originally from Berkshire, and to have been a branch of Lord de la Warr’s line, but we find in the Parish Registers entries of the name as far back as 1592. In 1691 Walter West sold the property to Thomas Dennett, Esq, the representative of an old Sussex family. . .” A footnote gives a few names and dates of this West family, including Thomas West, gent, d. 18 Aug 1638, and his wife Cecilia Rolt, “mother of Mr. Henry West, [she] d. 18 Jan 1668.” According to Elwes (1876), Henry West died in 1674, Bellingham West in 1669, Walter West was alive in 1691, and Thomas West was unaccounted for.  
                Note: West DNA Family Group #5 does not include Lord de la Warr’s line.
                W3. William Berry, 1830: County Genealogies; Pedigrees of the Families of the County of Sussex, Sherwood, Gilbert, and Piper, London, p. 14. This is mainly a record of English peerage. The “five generations” Dr. West refers to are shown on a chart in this publication. “Thomas West, of Clifford’s Inn, gent.; living in 1634” and “Cecill, do. And sole heir of Richard Bellingham, 3d brother of Edward Bellingham, father to Sir Edward Bellingham, who was living in 1634.” Sons: Henry West, Walter West, Thomas West, and Bellingham West.
Note: There was a “Richard Bellingham” who came to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634 from Lincolnshire, England. He lived in Boston but held land in Salem that was later disputed. He was a governor of Massachusetts three times. The town of Bellingham, MA is named after him. (Information from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Bellingham, accessed February 2014.) Perhaps he was related to the Bellinghams listed above. But, as far as I can determine, there is no link from Bellingham to “our” FG#5 Henry and Thomas West of Salem.

16. Cuckfield Parish Register, p. 30, 32, 35, 38. Information about this other Thomas West family is available at: http://histfam.familysearch.org/getperson.php?personID=I6997&tree=SussexGenealogies.
17. FamilySearch queries during January 2014. https://familysearch.org/
18. Sidney Perley, 1924: History of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume 2, 1638-1670, Essex Institute, Salem, p. 304.
19. West, p. 9.
20. Essex Deeds Book 1, Leaf 61 (10:Mar:1658/1659); cited in Sidney Perley, 1904: “Thomas Flint House,” The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 8, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 31. West, p. 9. The property was sold in 1666. By 1700, it was owned by Thomas Flint. The house was down the street from Henry West’s. (See map of William W.K. Freeman, compiler, 1933: Part of Salem in 1700, From the Researches of Sidney Perley. James Duncan Phillips, Salem, Massachusetts. On line at: http://www.salemin1700s.com/description.aspx.)
21. Essex Institute, 1913: Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume II, 1659-1680, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 24. West, p. 9-10.
22. Perley, p. 304. West, p. 4A.
23. Essex Institute, 1974: The Records of the First Church in Salem, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 108 (admission to church), and 27 (baptism of Thomas’ sons, and Henry’s daughter).
24. EIQC:4:38. Perley, p. 403. West, p. 11.
25. Alison Games, 1999: Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic World, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 170-171.

26. West, p. 18, from the Will of Henry West. His sons, Samuel and Henry Jr., as well as his grandsons, Samuel, John, and Daniel, were all saddlers. 

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