Friday, March 21, 2014

Some Descendants of Henry West (1629-1703) of Salem [Article Four]

Wests in Essex County, Massachusetts:
Some Descendants of Henry West (1629-1703) of Salem

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. 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. This is the fourth in a series of articles about this line of the FG#5 West families.

Currently (March 2014) Henry West (1629-1703) is the earliest documented member of Family Group #5.

Ten Generations
Dr. Harry Irwin West, Jr. (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 (Anundsen Publishing Co., Decorah, Iowa, 256 pages). He traced his line back ten generations to Henry West.

Dr. West’s publication has great detail on the dates, marriages, migrations, and lives of this West family. The following summaries were compiled from his publication.

Six generations of this family lived in Salem before the first family members moved to “The West” (Indiana). The first three generations were mostly saddlers by trade. Saddlers made harness, bridles, saddles, and other leather goods. The saddler trade was taught from one generation to the next, or by apprenticeship. Henry West (1629-1703) was a saddler. Sons Samuel and Henry were taught the trade by their father. Grandsons Samuel, John, and Daniel were also saddlers.

By the 1750s, the Wests of Salem were fishermen, ship owners, master mariners, merchant marines, privateers, and importers.

1760s: The Wests owned and managed shipping vessels for fishing, and also for foreign trade.

1770s: West-owned merchant ships travelled as far south as the West Indies and north to Newfoundland, carrying supplies for coastal businesses.

During the Revolutionary War, all six of William West’s (1728-1803) sons became privateers: William, Nathaniel, Ebenezer, Edward, Thomas, and John. They “played significant roles in furthering the cause of the Revolution through their exploits on the high seas as privateers,” and William West “played a significant role in backing such ventures.” (West, p. 32) Ebenezer and Edward West spent several years on a British prison ship.

1790s: Wests owned and captained voyages to Cuba, South America, and Europe. Ebenezer West (b. 1758) was the first captain from New England to sail to China.

1800s: Captain Thomas West (1777-1849) sailed his cargo vessel from Boston to Calcutta on a trade route that took eleven months to complete. Hamburg was added to the route later. He made 21 voyages. He was a privateer during the War of 1812.

1840s: George West (1810-1852) owned 28 vessels. Benjamin West (1820-1877), brother to George West, owned 22 vessels.

The Triangle Trade
Dr. West wrote: “William West [1728-1803] was a merchant, a distiller, and collector of the excise tax. At that time the distilling business in Salem was quite common. Molasses came from the West Indies by ship, in this case was landed at William West’s wharf, jutting out from the passage way over the North River, and was then made into rum. The rum saw ready local consumption, but most was used as export, replacing French brandy in many parts of the world.” (West, p. 31-32.)

The West family shipping business was part of the Triangle Trade. The rum was exported to ports abroad where resale brought profits to the buyers. The buyers used the profits to buy slaves from West Africa, who came through the Middle Passage to work the sugar cane plantations in the West Indies. The molasses was then shipped to New England to make rum. For more information on the Triangle Trade go to:

William West’s ships worked two sides of the Triangle Trade—import of molasses and export of rum. New England’s profit from the Triangle Trade was one reason that the anti-slavery clause was kept out of the Declaration of Independence.

Lt. Benjamin West (1755-1775)
Lieutenant Benjamin West of Salem, son of Samuel and Mary Massey West died at the Battle of Bunker Hill on 17 Jun 1775. A memorial stone is located at the Harmony Grove Cemetery in Salem.

Benjamin Franklin West (1818-1854)
Benjamin West, son of Thomas West and Elizabeth Mosely, was noted for his ship paintings. His work is found at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem:
The more famous Benjamin West, artist of Pennsylvania, is part of West DNA FG#3.

Capt. Nathaniel West (1758-1851)
Nathaniel West, one of William West’s sons (mentioned in the “Mariners” section) was well-respected in Salem. A miniature portrait is at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. View it at:

Some of the furniture from Nathaniel and Elizabeth Derby West’s Oak Hill estate home is in the Art of Americas Wing at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. An example:

In 1834, Captain West built a home on the site of the West estate in Salem. Today this home is part of Salem Inn.

Nathaniel West, Jr. (1788-1843)
A portrait of this ancestor is at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He was the son of Captain West, above. View it online at: Nathaniel West and his wife Mary Bowles West moved to Indianapolis in 1836 to buy land. He was a lawyer, merchant, farmer and manufacturer. He owned a cotton mill and a grist mill. He was a State Senator from 1841-1843.

Nathaniel West, III (1814-1896)
Nathaniel West bought land in Kentland, Newton County, IN. This was the g-g-grandfather of genealogist Dr. Harry Irwin West. Descendants moved to AL, CA, CO, FL, ID, IL, ME, MN, ND, NH, NY, OH, SD, TX, WI, WY and also to England, France, Italy, and Jamaica.

Line of Henry West (1629-1703) to Dr. Harry Irwin West, Jr. (1925-2004)
Here is a very brief accounting of ten generations from Henry West to Harry Irwin West, Jr. A more complete lineage, with additional branches of this family tree, will be posted on the West Family DNA Project—Group #5 Web site in the future.
1. Henry West (1629-1703)
    2. Samuel West (1666/1667-1732)
        3. Samuel West (1691-1776)
            4. William West (1728-1803)
                5. Nathaniel West (1758-1851)
                    6. Nathaniel West (1788-1843)
                        7. Nathaniel West (1814-1896)
                            8. Charles H. West (1862-1937)
                                9. Harry Irwin West (1888-1977)
                                    10. Harry Irwin West, Jr. (1925-2004)

Next: More about Thomas West (1630/1631-1720) of Salem and Bradford

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