Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Four Sons of Thomas and Phebe West

Wests in Essex County, Massachusetts:
Four Sons of Thomas and Phebe West

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, April 2014. Revised, June 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). This is the sixth in a series of articles about this line of the FG#5 West families.

Currently (April 2014) Henry West (1629-1703) and his brother Thomas West (1630/1631-1720) are the earliest documented members of Family Group #5.

Four Sons, Many Descendants
This article is about the four sons of Thomas West and his first wife Phebe Waters West—Samuel West, Joseph West, Benjamin West, and John West. There are many descendants today from these brothers.

A more complete lineage, with additional branches of this family tree, will be posted on the West Family DNA Project—Group #5 site in the future.


(1) Samuel West (1659/1660-1685)
Summary: Samuel West lived in Salem and Bradford, Essex County, MA. He had a short and difficult life. He died at about age 25. He married Rhoda Meacham. A son, Samuel Jr., was born after his death.

Early Years of Samuel West
Samuel West was born 23 Mar 1659/1660 in Salem. [2] He was baptized on 25:1:1665 (March, Julian calendar) at First Church, Salem. [3] He was baptized with his brothers Benjamin and Joseph, and his cousin Elizabeth (daughter of Uncle Henry West and Aunt Elizabeth West). When he was 15 years old, his mother died and his father remarried. The West family moved to Bradford in 1678. [4]

Samuel West’s Head Injury
In 1679, his father brought a case to the Essex County Court: [5]

Thomas West, in behalf of his son, Samuell West v. Anthony Wood. For striking up the heels and violently striking said Samuel down. Verdict for plaintiff.

Today “kicking up our heels” means having fun. In the 1600s, it meant “to be killed.” [6] A footnote to the case reads:

John Bennet, aged about 35 yrs, deposed that a little while after his apprentice, Samuel West, came to live with him he complained of a pain in his head and said it came from a blow he received about a year before. “In the time of the war Thomas West was at my house and desired me that I would let Samuell West his sonne to keep a little out of the way in the time of the press but said if he should be prest I do not fear but that I shall get him freed because he had hurt himselfe by a fall.” Sworn in court.

In the deposition, Thomas West told Bennet to make allowances if there was a “press” on Samuel at “the time of the war.” A press was a military draft. The war was probably King Philip’s War—also called the First Indian War, 1675-1678. [7]

The Last Years of Samuel West’s Life
Samuel West became a member of First Congregational, Bradford on 6:8:1683 (October, Julian calendar). [8] His name is mentioned in a deposition at the Essex County court on 29 Jun 1685. [9]

He may have died in the summer of 1685. An estate inventory for “Samuell Westt” was taken on 14 Aug 1685, and presented in Essex County court. The inventory listed:  “cloath left at James Holtons, 10s; 2 old Coates, an old pr. of Breeches & an old Shirt & Hatt, 10s; an old pr. Of shoos, 1s; total £1, 1s.” [10, 11]

This was a very poor man. It is not clear if this was the son of Thomas West. However, West researchers often use this date because of the guardian record (below). Samuel West married Rhoda Meacham before his death, and she was pregnant when he died. [12] Rhoda named their baby Samuel West, Jr.

Samuel West, Jr.
We do not know the exact date of Samuel, Jr.’s birth, but we can use available information for an estimate. He was baptized on 21 Jun 1691 at First Congregational, Bradford. [13] Rhoda Meacham West died before Apr 1694. Jeremiah Meacham’s Will of Apr 1694 stated: “Item 4. My daughter Rhoda being deceased my will and desire is. . . her Son Samuel West Shall have . . . five pounds.” [14]

On 23 Mar 1695/1696, official guardianship of Samuel, Jr. was granted to Thomas West. Here is an abstract:

“An Essex Co. Mass., probate file #29372-“We Thomas West of Bradford, (Meaning-we, Thos. & Henry.) as principle, being appointed & allowed Guardian unto Samuel West Son of Samll West decd & Rhoda his wife also decd being a minor ten yrs & upward & Henry West of Salem as surety,” were bonded 23 Mar. 1695/6, for Thomas’ guardianship of his grandson Samuel.” [15]

According to this document, Samuel, Jr. would have been born in 1685/1686 if he was 10 years old. If he was more than 10 years old, his birth year would be earlier than 1685/1686. Thus, the Samuel West who died in the summer of 1685 (in the inventory of Aug 1685) was possibly his father.  In 9 Nov 1722, Samuel West, Jr. received a portion of his estate from his grandmother Mary Tenney West. [16]

Samuel West, Jr. Married Dorothy Eggleston
Samuel West, Jr. married Dorothy Eggleston on 24 February 1708. The couple settled in Windsor, CT. Many West descendants came from this union. [17] Their children were [18]:

1. Joseph West (b. 2 Mar 1711)
2. Samuel West (b. 28 Oct 1714)
3. William West (b. 27 Mar 1717)
4. Thomas West (b. 21 Jul 1719)
5. Asa West (b. 19 Nov 1721)
6. Dorothy West (b. 19 Aug 1723)
7. child (b. and d. 26 Feb 1726)
8. Hannah West (b. 13 Aug 1727)
9. Elizabeth West (b. 7 Jun 1730)
10. Benjamin West (b. 1 Aug 1733)


(2) Joseph West (1663-1739)
Summary: Joseph West lived in Salem, Bradford, and Andover, Essex County, MA, and also Enfield, Hartford County, CT. He and his brother, Benjamin, obtained land in Connecticut about the same time. Joseph West spent his later years in Bradford and Andover with his wife Bethia.

Early Years of Joseph West
Joseph West was born 3:7m:1663 in Salem (September, Julian calendar). [17] He was baptized on 25:1:1665 at First Church, Salem. [18] He was baptized with his brothers Samuel and Benjamin, and his cousin Elizabeth (daughter of Uncle Henry West and Aunt Elizabeth West).

When he was about 11 years old, his mother died and his father remarried. When he was 15, he moved with his family from Salem to Bradford. By age 20, he was living on his own in Enfield.

Joseph West’s Land in Enfield, Connecticut
In 1679, the selectmen of the town of Springfield, Hampden County, MA created a plantation (land for farming) south of their boundaries at Freshwater Brook. The first settlers from outside of Springfield were from Salem—some called it “Salem Colony.” [19] A surveying error placed the settlement of Enfield in Massachusetts Colony instead of Connecticut Colony. This was officially corrected in 1749. [20] Today Enfield is part of Hartford County, CT.

On 18 Jul 1683, the Committee for Enfield granted to “Joseph West a homelot of 12 acres, of field land 26 acres, and meadow four acres” provided that he “settle at Enfield by micalstide [autumn] come two years or else such grant to be void.” [21] West’s homelot is shown on a hand-drawn map prepared by the Enfield Historical Society: Town Plat of Enfield, Conn. and its Extension Through the North and South Fields, 1680-1700. [22]

Benjamin West, Joseph’s brother, was granted 35 acres forfeited by Nathaniel Mun of Springfield. [23] Their brother-in-law from Salem, Isaac Meacham, also settled in Enfield about the same time. Isaac’s sister Rhoda Meacham had married Samuel West (another West brother). [24]

Joseph West’s land was in Northfield First Division. Benjamin’s land was in Southfield Fourth Division. Isaac Meacham’s land was on the east side. [25]

On 7 Jan 1691, the Enfield selectmen listed 26 men (mostly first settlers) who had not taken part in clearing bushes in August. The men were told to do the job by the following June or pay a fine. Joseph and Benjamin West were mentioned in this list of men. [26]

In 1693, Joseph West exchanged homelots with Zechariah Booth. [27]

On 13 Nov 1695, Joseph West transferred his land to Benjamin. “Joseph West of Bradford in Essex to his brother Benjamin West living in Enfield, all lands and rights in Enfield.” [28]

Joseph West Marries Bethia Marston
On 22 December 1703, Joseph married Bethia Marston of Andover. [29] They had no children.

I located three records for Joseph West in Bradford Town Records [30]. In each he was chosen as a tithingman—20 Mar 1710/1711; 13 Mar 1715; and 12 Mar 1716. A tithingman maintained order during church services, enforced the Sabbath laws, and monitored disorderly conduct.

When Thomas West died in 1720, Joseph was listed in the estate document with other surviving adult children. [31]

It is likely that Joseph and Bethia lived in Bradford until 1727. At that time they transferred their church membership to First Church, Andover. [32] Joseph West died 26 Nov 1739 and Bethia West died 8 Feb 1739/1740. [33] Joseph West’s Will was settled on 11 Dec 1739—the estate executor was David Foster of Andover. [34, 35]


(3) Benjamin West (1665-1733)
Summary: Benjamin West was the great-grandfather of Judah West and Aaron West. He lived in Salem and Bradford, Essex County, MA; Enfield, Hartford County, CT; and, Middletown, Middlesex County, CT.

He was born 1 Oct 1665 in Salem. [36] Benjamin married Hannah Shadduck (or Shaddock) on 14 Mar 1692. [37] I found five children listed in various Connecticut records—Hannah West, Phebe West, Benjamin West (Jr.), Mary West, and Abigail West.

Benjamin West was mentioned in his Uncle Henry West’s Will of 1703. More about Benjamin West and his descendants will be provided in a future blog entry.


(4) John West (1667-1739/1740)
Summary: When he was very young, John West moved with his family from Salem to Bradford, Essex County, MA. He stayed there the rest of his life. John West married Mary Webster of Bradford. He was a planter (farmer). John and Mary had 10 children.

Early Years of John West
John West was born 9:7m:1667 (September, Julian calendar) in Salem. [38] He was baptized on 20:1:1668 at First Church, Salem. [39]

This John West was one of three “John Wests” in Essex County during the 1600s. The other two were John West, b. ca 1615 and John West, b. 1661, son of Twiford West. John West (b. 1667) is sometimes mixed up with Twiford’s son because of their close age. At the writing of this article (April 2014), only John (b. 1667) is part of West DNA Family Group #5. It is very likely that these two John Wests knew each other. They lived in the same county, and both West families married into the Tenney family. [40]  

John West’s Land in Essex County
Thomas West co-signed on a purchase of land with his son, John, in Apr 1695. [41]

Thomas West of Bradford, husbandman, having purchased of Abiel Mower of Haverhill, 12 A. there, 15 Apr., 1695, acknowledges son John West as a joint purchaser with him, 16 April, 1695. Wit. By Benj. Rosse, Robert Clements. Vol. XI, folio 16.

John West Marries Mary Webster
John married Mary Webster the next year, 25 Mar 1696, in Salem. [42] They had ten children. All of the children are listed in Vital Records of Bradford. [43]

            1. Mary West (12 Jan 1696/1697)
                        m. 24 Jun 1724 Samuel Heath
                2. Hannah West (b. 6 Jul 1699; d. 26 Jul 1699)
                3. Sarah West (b. 28 Jun 1700)
                4. Abigail West (b. 18 Feb 1702/1703)
                        (intention) 26 Aug 1736 Thomas Coverly
                5. Rebeckah or Rebecca West (b. 20 Jun 1706)
                        m. 22 Aug 1728 Joseph Gray
                6. Bethiah West (b. 19 Apr 1709)
                        m. 11 Sep 1735 Enoch Poor
                7. John West, Jr. (b. 6 Dec 1711)
                8. Isaac West (b. 31 Jan 1714/1715)
                        m. 29 Nov 1739 Phebe Swan; 3 sons, 6 daughters
                9. Thomas West (b. 10 Aug 1717; d. 28 Oct 1782)
                10. Joanna West (b. possibly 1721)

Mary joined First Congregational, Bradford on 21:6:1698. John joined the church on 24:5:1701. This merited a special note in the church records: “John West, that hath waited from the 31 of 3d ’97 to this day, 4 years.” [44]

I located three records for John West in Bradford Town Records: [45]
10 Mar 1695/1696: John West was chosen as one of several “serveyors of Hige ways and to view fenses.”
13 Mar 1715: John West was chosen as one of “survayors of high ways & fences for the West End.”
3 Mar 1719: John West was chosen as a “thitheing man.”

When Thomas West died in 1720, John was listed in the estate document with other surviving adult children. [46]

John and Mary lived out their years in Bradford. John West died possibly 1739/1740. His Will was dated 12 Apr 1739 and mentions children John, Isaac, Thomas, and daughters Mary Heath, Rebecca Gray, Sarah West, Bethia Poor, and son-in-law Thomas Coverly. [47, 48] An estate inventory was completed on 5 Feb 1740. [49] This is Essex County Probate File #29352, dated 20 Apr 1741 in Bradford. [50]

Next: West Connections to the Salem Witch Trials


References and Additional Notes
1. West Family Group #5 results are at http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG5.

Samuel West
2. Essex Institute, 1916: Vital Records of the Town of Salem, Volume I—Births, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 413. His name is spelled “Samuell” in the record.
3. Essex Institute, 1974: The Records of the First Church in Salem, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 27.
4. 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, p. 4A. West sourced this as Essex Institute Historical Collections, Volume 16, p. 78, which I could not find.
5. George Francis Dow, editor, 1921: Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume 8, Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 6. Also referenced as “EIQC,” with volume number, and page number—EIQC:8:6. Presented at the Ipswich Quarterly Court on September of 1680.
6. Christine Ammer, 2013: The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, Second Edition, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, p. 252. “This expression originated about 1600 with a totally different meaning, “to be killed.” The modern sense, alluding to a prancing horse or exuberant dancer, dates from about 1900.”
7. “King Philip’s War.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Philip’s_War
8. J. D. Kingsbury, 1883: A Pictorial History of Bradford, Massachusetts; from the Earliest Period to the Close of 1882, C.C. Morse and Sons, Haverhill, Massachusetts, p. 36.
9. EIQC:9:483.
10. EIQC:9:560. Reviewed by the court, Nov 1685.
11. Essex Probate # 29371, 24 Nov 1685. M.L. Sanborn, compiler, 1987: Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1638-1840, Salem, Massachusetts. On-line index at ancestry.com.
12. Sidney Perley, 1926: The History of Salem Massachusetts, 1638-1670, Volume II, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 304.
13. Topsfield Historical Society, 1907: Vital Records of Bradford, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Topsfield, Massachusetts, p.166. “Samuel, s. Samuel, deceased, bp 21:4m:1691, C.R.I.” The notation “C.R.I.” refers to “Church Record of Bradford, First Congregational.”
14. Will of Jeremiah Meacham, 1694.  http://judyharper.info/Geneology.htm.
15. Beatrice West Seitz, 1971: West, Barker, Hodges: New York to Wisconsin, 1836-1846. Janesville, Wisconsin, 202 pages.
16. A.H.D., 1906: “Answers, Genealogical Department,” Boston Evening Transcript, June 20, 1906, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 21.
17. The genealogy written by Beatrice Seitz (Reference 15, above) follows many of these descendants.
18. Henry R. Stiles, 1892: The Histories and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut; East Windsor, South Windsor, Bloomfield, Windsor Locks, and Ellington, 1635-1891.  Volume II. “Genealogies and Biographies,” Hartford, Connecticut, p. 789.

Joseph West
17. Vital Records of Salem, p. 411.
18. Records of First Church, Salem, p. 27.
19. David Pease, 1869: A Genealogical and Historical Record of the Descendants of John Pease, Senior, Late of Enfield, Connecticut, Samuel Bowles and Company, Springfield, Massachusetts, p. 397.
20. Ruth Bridge, editor, 1977: The Challenge of Change; Three Centuries of Enfield, Connecticut History, Enfield Historical Society, Phoenix Publishing, Canaan, New Hampshire, p. 18.
21. Cleveland Abbe and Josephine Genung Nichols, 1916: Abbe-Abbey Genealogy, in Memory of John Abbe and his Descendants, Tuttle, Morehouse, and Taylor Company, New Haven, Connecticut, p. 14.
22. Bridge, p. 14-15.
23. Francis Olcott Allen, editor, 1900: The History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volumes 1- 3, Wickersham Printing Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In Volume 1: “Committee Book; An Introduction to the Records of the Town of Enfield, A.D. 1683.”
24. Sidney Perley, 1926: The History of Salem Massachusetts, 1638-1670, Volume II, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 391.
25. History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volume 3. Various pages in “Deeds—Enfield,” p. 1905-2142.
26. Abbe and Nichols, p. 15.
27. History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volume 3, “Deeds—Enfield,” p. 1937.
28. Ibid, p. 2139.
29. Topsfield Historical Society, 1912: Vital Records of the Town of Andover, Volume 2—Marriages and Deaths, Topsfield, Massachusetts, p. 567.
30. John E. Hardy and Melinde Lutz Byrne, transcribers, unknown date: Bradford Town Records, 1668-1743, p. 5, 37-38, 63, 66. Original documents and transcriptions at: http://www.bradfordburialground.com/town-records-1668-1743.htm
31. A.H.D., 1906: “Answers, Genealogical Department,” Boston Evening Transcript, June 20, 1906, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 21.
32. Essex Institute, 1922: “Andover Church Records—Admissions to the First Church (South Parish),” Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 58, p. 255.
33. Vital Records of the Town of Andover, p. 567.
34. Essex Probate #29356, 11 Dec 1739. M.L. Sanborn, compiler, 1987: Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1638-1840, Salem, Massachusetts. On-line index at ancestry.com.
35. G.H.S., 1905: “Answers, Genealogical Department,” Boston Evening Transcript, October 11, 1905, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 25. G.H.S. writes: “The Wests connect in some land swaps with William Foster of Boxford and John Jackson. Notes not at hand in order to refer to. Joseph West died Nov. 26, 1739, estate settled by David Foster, executor; wife Bethiah died Feb. 8, 1740.”

Benjamin West
36. Vital Records of Salem, p. 410.
37. History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volume 2, “Enfield Town Records, Marriages,” p. 1756.

John West     
38. Vital Records of Salem, p. 411.
39. Records of First Church, Salem, p. 28.
40. M.J. Tenney, 1904: The Tenney Family of the Descendants of Thomas Tenney, of Rowley, Massachusetts, 1638-1904, Revised, The Rumford Press, Concord, New Hampshire, p. 337-338. John West (son of Twiford) married Sarah Tenney, a sister to Mary Tenney West (John’s step-mother).
41. Eben Putnam, 1895: “Pedigrees from Deeds Recorded in Essex County, Massachusetts,” Putnam’s Monthly Historical Magazine, Volume III, January-December 1895, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 110.
42. Essex Institute, 1918: Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, Volume IV—Marriages, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 454. The record says, “John, and Mary Webster, both of Bradford, Mar. 25, 1696.”
43. Vital Records of Bradford, p.166.
44. J. D. Kingsbury, p. 37.
45. Bradford Town Records, 1668-1743, p. 32, 66, 71.
46. A.H.D. (1906), p. 21.
47. A.H.D. (1906), p. 21.
48. Boston Registry Department, 1898: Report of the Record Commissioners of the City of Boston, Rockwell and Churchill. Joseph Gray m Rebecca West in 1728, p. 143. Thomas Coverly gave his intention to marry Abigail West in 1739, p. 225.
49. A.H.D., 1905: “Answers, Genealogical Department,” Boston Evening Transcript, November 6, 1905, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 12.

50. Essex Probate # 29352, 20 Apr 1741 (in Sanborn, 1987). A.H.D. (1906) p. 12, refers to the Will as Salem Probate 324-554, 6.

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