Sunday, April 13, 2014

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

Wests in Essex County, Massachusetts:
More about Thomas West (1630/1631-1720) of Salem and Bradford

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, 2014. Disclaimers apply.

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

Currently (April 2014) Henry West (b. 1629) is the earliest documented member of Family Group #5. His brother, Thomas West (b. 1630/1631) is discussed in this article.

Finding Thomas West
For more than 100 years, descendants of Revolutionary War brothers Judah West (1765-1825) and Aaron West (1763-1840) have attempted to take their line farther back in time. Family lore mentioned a Benjamin West of Connecticut as a key to solving the puzzle.

By the 1970s, a few researchers made a leap and said the ancestors were Thomas West and Phebe Waters of Salem in Essex County, Massachusetts. It was an intuitive leap. The available data implied a connection, but original data were difficult to find.

In 2013, when I began research on Thomas West, many of the documents were on-line. However, at least three separate “Thomas Wests” appeared within Essex County, MA, records of the 1600s. [2] There were very few clear identifiers for these men.

After four months of endless searching and sorting, I gave myself a deadline. If I did not find the verifiable proof I needed by the end of the year, I was done. Period.

I reviewed everything I had one more time. This caught my eye: I had never read Henry West’s Will (1703) all the way through.

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. [3]

This established that Henry had a brother whose name was Thomas, and Thomas had a son, Benjamin. It narrowed the search between two of the Thomas Wests living at the time. Only one Thomas had a son named Benjamin. This son was living exactly where he should be in 1703—Connecticut.

I discovered this on New Year’s Eve, 31 Dec 2013, at 11 p.m.

A Timeline for Thomas West
Note: Dates are presented exactly as found in original records. The odd formats and double dating reflect the difference between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.

1630/1631. We use 1630/1631 as the birth year for Thomas West. This is calculated from the date on his tombstone—23 December 1720. See “References and Additional Notes” for an explanation. [4]

1631-1657. Thomas West’s earliest years are a mystery. There is no documentation that the Thomas West (b. ca 1600) living in Essex County, MA, was the father of brothers Thomas and Henry. [5] We do not know if the brothers were born in England, in America, or if they lived elsewhere in Massachusetts before Salem.

11:8:1658. Thomas West married (1) Phebe Waters in Salem (October, Julian calendar). [6] This is the earliest record of Thomas West in Essex County, MA. Phebe Waters was the daughter of Richard Waters and Joyce (also known as Rejoice) Plasse. [7] She was born in perhaps the late 1630s to the early 1640s. [8]
Children of Phebe and Thomas West were:
1. Samuel West (b. 23 Mar 1659/1660; bapt. 25:1:1665; d. perhaps summer 1685)
        m. about 1683/1684 Rhoda Meacham
2. Joseph West (b. 3 Sep 1663; bapt. 25:1:1665; d. 26 Nov 1739)
        m. 22 Dec 1703 Bethia Marston
3. Benjamin West (b. 1 Oct 1665; bapt. 25:1:1665; d. 11 Dec 1733)
        m. 14 Mar 1693 Hannah Shaddock (in Connecticut)
4. John West (b. 9:7:1667; bapt. 20:1:1668; d. probably 1739)
        m. 25 Mar 1696 Mary Webster

All of these sons were born in Salem, Essex County, MA and baptized at First Church, Salem. More information about these sons will be presented in the blog entry “Four Sons of Thomas West,” soon to be published before the end of April.

10 Mar 1658/1659. Thomas West bought a house and one acre of land from Thomas Hale in Salem. In the deed, Thomas West is called a planter. [9] This is the earliest record for Thomas West found in the Essex Deeds books.

23:12:1662. Thomas West bought 10 acres in the “north neck” of Salem. In 1675, he sold this land to Lieutenant Joseph Gardner. [10]

14 Mar 1663/1664. “Granted to Tho: West 20 akers of lande of the lands neare the 7 mens bounds of that lande we were allowed by the towne to dispose of if he can finde any there convenient for him that is not disposed of to any other.” [11] The “seven men’s bounds” refer to boundaries set by the original founders of Salem in about 1639. [12] The current Salem selectmen were re-granting land that was probably not being used. Thomas West did not have to buy this land, but he was able to sell it later.

4: 1:1665. March, Julian calendar. Thomas West and brother Henry and his wife Elizabeth West joined First Church, Salem. [13]

25:1:1665. March, Julian calendar. Thomas West’s sons Samuel, Joseph, and Benjamin were baptized together, along with Elizabeth West (daughter of Henry and Elizabeth West). [14]

29 April 1665. Thomas West bought three-fourths of an acre “situated in the glass house field.” [15]

14:6:1665. August, Julian calendar. This is the first mention that I found in the Essex County court records. Thomas West witnessed another man stealing thatch. [16]

29 Apr 1668. Freeman status was granted to Thomas West (age 37) and Henry West (age 39). [17] Freeman status meant they were given privileges such as the right to vote and serve on juries. Thomas West served in court various times, including on grand juries. He signed his name to depositions. In his later years, he signed his mark.

Oct 1668. The General Court (in Boston) declared increased taxes upon imports, exports, cattle, and grain. [18] There were individual town responses from Salem, Marblehead, Springfield, Northhampton, and Hadleigh (Hadley) signed by more than 500 men. Their petitions stated that merchants were unfairly targeted. Thomas West and his brother Henry West signed the petition for Salem.

1670. Thomas West and eight other men were given permission to cut down some trees. West was allowed 6 trees. [19] The trees were mostly used for buildings or fencing.

16:2:1674. Phebe Waters West died in Salem (April, Julian calendar). [20]

14:8m:1674. Thomas West married (2) Mary Tenney in Salem (October, Julian calendar). [21] Mary Tenney (b. 24:7:1646) [22] was the daughter of William and Katherine Tenney. She died on 12 May 1731. [23]
Children of Mary and Thomas West were [24]:
            1. Mary West (b. 31:11:1675; bapt. 12 Mar 1676 at First Church, Salem)
            2. Elizabeth West (bapt. 1 Jul 1677 at First Church, Salem; d. possibly 1738)
                m. (possibly) 4 Dec 1721 Anthony Colby (his second wife)
            3. Phebe West (b. 30 Sep 1679 in Bradford, Essex County, MA)
                m. 30 Dec 1718 Zechariah Eastman (his second wife)
            4. Ebenezer West (b. 24 Nov 1681 in Bradford; d. 1 Apr 1683 in Bradford)
            5. Deliverance West (b. 26 Feb 1684 in Bradford)
            6. Sarah West (b. 10 Mar 1686/1687 in Bradford)
            7. William West (b. 16 Sep 1689 in Bradford; d. 8 May 1712)

31 Jan 1677. “In consideration of the marriage of his daughter, Mary Tenney, with Thomas West of Salem, Mass., to said West, William Tenney gives deed of sixty-seven acres of land in Rowley Village, now Boxford, Mass. Dated 31 Jan., 1677. Ipswich Deeds, Volume 4:267.” [25]

11:4:1677. Tithingman status was given to Thomas West and his brother Henry West. [26] A tithingman maintained order during church services, enforced the Sabbath laws, and monitored disorderly conduct.

9 Mar 1678. Thomas and Mary Tenney West moved to Bradford, Essex County, MA. [27] Thomas West is listed as a “First Settler” of Bradford. [28]

11 Mar 1678. Thomas West trades his remaining Salem properties for 28 acres of Bradford, MA, land. “On 11 Mar 1678, Thomas West (husbandman) of Salem granted to Thomas Tyler (seaman) of Boston. . . for 5 pounds money, 10 pounds in wheat, rye & Indian corn & 28 acres of land at Bradford near Merrimac river (as appears by an instrument of sale of this date given by said Tyler), 2 parcels of land in Salem, his 1 and one-fourth acre homestead with his dwelling house bounded W by the glass house field so called . . Essex County Deeds, 4:621.” [29]

1680. Thomas West appeared in Essex County court. “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 the plaintiff.” [30]

1682. Thomas West was compensated for sheltering an apprentice who was being abused by his master and had escaped. Charges were filed against the apprentice and the master. [31]

Apr 1682. Thomas West was one of the eighteen founding members of First Church, Bradford. Mary (Tenney) West and the other women signed separately. [32] Thomas and Mary were members of the Haverhill church before this.

1683. Thomas West and son (probably Samuel or John) witnessed a theft of a steel trap in Bradford. [33]

Aug 1685. There is an estate inventory for “Samuell West.” It is unclear from the court record if this is the son of Thomas West or someone else. However, West family researchers have used this as the date of his son’s death because of the guardianship record (below). [34]

25 Oct 1691. Katherine Tenney (Mary Tenney West’s mother) “as executrix of her husband’s will, to her son-in-law, Thomas West of Bradford, for her support, transfers five acres in Rowley.” [35]

23 Mar 1695/1696 Guardianship of Grandson Samuel. Beatrice West Seitz (1912-1997) was a genealogist for the descendants of the Samuel West line (son of Thomas). She wrote [36]:

“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.”

Apr 1695. Thomas West buys 12 acres in Haverhill, Essex County, MA, co-signing with his son John. [37] John West married Mary Webster the next year.

23 Dec 1720. Thomas West died intestate in 1720. His estate was settled in Jun 1721. [38, 39] Samuel West, Jr. received his portion of the estate on November, 1722. [40]

Next: Four Sons of Thomas and Phebe West

References and Additional Notes
1.    West Family Group #5 results at
2.    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 1640, son of John West. At his time (April 2014), only Thomas West (b. 1630/1631) is known to be part of West DNA Family Group #5.
3.    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.17.
4.    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. A photograph of Thomas West’s tombstone is at:
        Thomas West’s birth month is later than December. His birth month could be in January or February 1630 (Julian), March through November 1631 (Julian), or January through November 1631 (Gregorian).
5.    Two publications contributed to the error that Thomas West (b. ca 1600) was the father of Henry and Thomas West.
                (1) Charles Henry Pope, 1900: The Pioneers of Massachusetts; A Descriptive List, Drawn from Records of the Colonies, Towns and Churches, and other Contemporaneous Documents. Charles H. Pope, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 487. He stated that “Henry and Thomas seem to be his sons.”   
                (2) William 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. He stated that Thomas West (b. ca 1600) was the father of Henry and Thomas West.
                As of April 2014, I have found no wife or children recorded for this Thomas West in any of the official town, county, or State records. Pope’s and Cutter’s statements about this Thomas West (b. ca. 1600s) cannot be verified or documented.
6.    Essex Institute, 1924: Vital Records of Salem, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849; Volume IV—Marriages, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 455.
7.    The Waters Family has been extensively studied. For basic information see:
                (1) Henry F. Waters, 1891: Genealogical Gleanings in England, New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Volume 2, p. 1341-1343.
                (2) Sidney Perley, 1924: History of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume I, 1626-1637, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 382-384.
8.    Phebe Waters’ birth date has not been established by researchers. It is highly likely that she was baptized into First Church, Salem, as her mother became a member on 23:3:1641. Reference: Essex Institute, 1974: The Records of the First Church in Salem, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 11.
9.    Essex Deeds Book 1, Leaf 61 (10:Mar:1658/1659). This is cited in Sidney Perley, 1904: “Thomas Flint House,” The Essex Antiquarian, Volume 8, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 31. By 1700, the property was owned by Thomas Flint.
10. West, p. 10, cites Essex Deeds, Book 2, Leaf 195. John Norton, carpenter, sold 10 acres to Thomas West, planter. The property was sold on 22 July 1675 to Joseph Gardner (Essex Deeds, Book 4, Leaf 120). This information is cited in Frank A. Gardner, 1902: “Thomas Gardner, Planter, and Some of His Descendants,” The Essex Institute Historical Collections, Vol. 38, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 74.
11.  Essex Institute, 1913: Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume II, 1659-1680, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 44.
12. Essex Institute, 1869: Bulletin of the Essex Institute, Volume 1, No. 7 and 8, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 101.
13. The Records of the First Church in Salem, p. 108. “Edmond Gale, Henry West, and Elizabeth West his wife and Thomas West being non-members having stood propounded a moneth, and no exception against them, they made their confession, and were on the Lords Day following received unto membership.”
14. The Records of the First Church in Salem, page 27.
15. West, p. 11. He cites Essex Deeds, Book 2, Leaf 314. This field was the location of glass slag. As early as 1638 this was used to make windows and bottles in a glass works business.
16. George Francis Dow, editor, 1913: Records and Files of the Quarterly Courts of Essex County, Volume 3, Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 276. Also referenced as “EIQC,” with volume number, and page number—EIQC: 3:276.
17. EIQC:4:38.
18. Wm. B. Trask, compiler, 1855: “Petitions Against Imposts, 1668,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register and Antiquarian Journal, Volume IX, New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 81-91.
19. Essex Institute, 1913: Town Records of Salem, Massachusetts, Volume II, 1659-1680, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 118.
20. Essex Institute, 1925: Vital Records of Salem to the End of the Year 1849, Volume VI--Deaths, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 323.
21. Essex Institute, 1924: Vital Records of Salem to the End of the Year 1849, Volume IV—Marriages, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 455.
22. Essex Institute, 1928: Vital Records of Rowley, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 214.
23. Douglas Richardson, 1997: “The Tenney Family of Lincolnshire and Rowley, Massachusetts,” New England Historical and Genealogical Register, July 1997, p. 340.
24. Two sources:
                (1) Records of First Church of Salem, page 31.
                (2) Topsfield Historical Society, 1907: Vital Records of Bradford, Massachusetts to the End of the Year 1849, Topsfield, Massachusetts, p. 166.
        Children Mary and Elizabeth West were baptized at First Church, Salem. The other children were born in Bradford.
25. 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. Mary Tenney’s sister, Sarah, married John West. He was the son of Twiford West who is not known to be DNA-related to FG#5 (as of April 2014). John and Sarah Tenney West also received land.
26. EIQC:6:290. Also, Town Records of Salem, Vol. II, p. 240.
27. West, p. 4A, referenced Essex Institute Historical Collections:16:78, which I could not find.
28. Gardner B. Perry, A.M., 1821: Discourse, Delivered in the East Parish of Bradford, December 22, 1820; Two Hundred Years after the First Settlement in New-England; Containing a History of the Town, Burrill and Hersey, Haverhill, Massachusetts, p. 68. Next to the Phillips Patent and the Haseltine Patent, “followed the lot(s) of Thomas West, whose house stood near where Abijah Gage now lives. . .”
29. Essex Society of Genealogists, 2003: Essex County Deeds, 1639-1678—Abstracts of Volumes 1-4, Heritage Books, Essex County, Massachusetts, p. 338.
30. EIQC:8:6.
31. EIQC:8:301.
32. 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. 35.
33. EIQC:9:38.
34. EIQC:9:560.
35. Tenney, p. 627.
36. Beatrice West Seitz, 1971: West, Barker, Hodges: New York to Wisconsin, 1836-1846. Janesville, Wisconsin, 202 pages.
37. 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.
38. Essex Probate # 29383, 05 Jun 1721. M.L. Sanborn, compiler, 1987: Essex County, Massachusetts Probate Index, 1638-1840, Salem, Massachusetts. On-line index at
39. (Initials C.H.A.), 1906: “Answers, Genealogical Department,” Boston Evening Transcript, June 20, 1906, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 21. This was a newspaper section devoted to genealogy inquiries. C.H.A. stated that “The children who signed the paper were Joseph West, Hannah Eastman, Phebe Eastman, John West, Mary West, Anthony West, Elizabeth West, Richard Kimball and one other signature not readable.” In this family there was no Anthony West nor Hannah Eastman, so perhaps these are errors in C.H.A.’s transcription. Richard Kimball was probably a witness. Son Benjamin West was still alive, so we might expect to see his signature as well.

40. Ibid. Correspondent C.H.A. (above) wrote, “Samuel West received of his grandmother, Mary West, wife of Thomas West, in Bradford, Nov. 9, 1722, his portion of the estate (Salem Probate).”


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    1. The inventory Thomas West's personal estate only was taken on May 31, 1722 and the widow Mary was appointed administratrix on June 5, 1722.

  2. Footnotes 39 and 40 are misrepresented. Pardon the formatting, but the document should be clear.

    Massachusetts Wills and Probates (Ancestry)
    Essex County, Probate Records, Vol. 313-314, Book 13-14, 313:670 (image 365)

    Whareas our honoured Father Thomas West late of Bradford Dec'd died intestate of som parsonall estate as appears per an inventory of ye same, amounting to Thirty Seven Pounds & a fue shillins wee ye Subscribers being ye Children of ye said Thomas West and such as Represent them being all of full age mett together ye Twelvth Day of June 1723 to divide ye aforsd Estate amongst us and after the Widow had her full satisfaction rec'd her thirds we have divided ye remainder amongst us and do acknowledge yt we have received our full share of said Estate according to Inventory and Doe accordingly aquitt and discharge ye Administratrix from ye same.
    In Witness our hands and seals ----------------Joseph West & seal
    In presence of us Witnesses -------------------Zecheriah Eas(t)man & seal
    Robt Hazeline Junr ----------------------------Phebee Eas(t)man & seal
    Mosses Day ------------------------------------Mary [her mark] West & seal
    To the Hon'ble John Appleton Esqr -------------Antho[ny] Colbee & seal
    Judge of ye Probates this may certifie --------Eliza. [her mark] Colbee & seal
    that I did receive my thirds of the -----------Rich'd Kimball & seal
    Parsonall Estate before it was Divided -----------attorney for Benja. West
    Mary [her mark] West --------------------------John West

    Bradford Nov. 4th 1722
    Then received of my Grandmother Mary West of the town aforsd Widow and Administratrix to ye Estate of my Grandfather Thos. West Dec'd ye full and just sum of 87/6d it being ye full of what was my Part left in ye sd Estate I say rec'd by mee.
    In Witness hereto Sam'll [his mark] West & seal
    Josh[u]a Boynton
    Zech: Boynton

    Note: All of the above is probable proof that Thomas and Mary (Tenney) West's daughter Mary was the 2nd wife of Ephraim Foster of Andover, Mass., who married of record in Bradford on Jan. 3, 1732/33; not as otherwise claimed in the 1899 Foster Family (Frederick Clifton Pierce) that Ephraim's 2md wife was Mary Webster, the widow of Thomas West's son John. Unfortunately, John and Mary (Webster) West were both living when John West wrote his will in Bradford on Apr. 12, 1739, and died per the Bradford VRs on Feb. 6, 1740/41.