Sunday, July 6, 2014

Benjamin West (1665-1733) [Revised 14 Aug 2014 by Joy Ikelman]

Wests in Middlesex County, Connecticut:
Benjamin West (1665-1733)

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, July 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] Aaron West (b. 03 Jun 1763; d. 15 May 1840) was his brother. Both are descendants of Thomas West (b. 1630/1631-1720) of Essex County, Massachusetts. This the first of several articles about the Connecticut line of this FG#5 family.

Thomas West (1630/1631-1720) m. Phebe Waters
       - Benjamin West (1665-1733) m. Hannah Shadduck
            - Benjamin West, Jr. (1696-after 1739) m. Mehitable Bailey
                  - David West (ca. 1736-1822) m. Judith Hills
                        - Aaron West (1763-1840) m. Susannah Kellogg
                        - Judah West (1765-1825) m. Mary Todd

Early Years of Benjamin West
Benjamin West was one of the four sons of Thomas West and his first wife Phebe Waters. His brothers were Samuel, Joseph, and John. Please refer to other articles on this site for more information.

Benjamin West was born 1 Oct 1665 in Salem, Essex County, Massachusetts. [2] He was baptized on 25:1:1665 (January) at First Church, Salem. He was baptized with his brothers Samuel and Joseph, and his cousin Elizabeth (daughter of Uncle Henry West and Aunt Elizabeth West). [3]

When he was about 10 years old, his mother died. His father then married Mary Tenney. [4] Thomas and Mary had seven children. Benjamin moved with his family to Bradford, MA in 1678, when he was 13 years old. [5] He married at the age of 27, after he had lived in Connecticut for awhile.

Benjamin West Marries Hannah Shadduck or Shaddock
“Benjamin West and Hannah Shadduck: joyned in marriage the 14 Mar 1692.” This was recorded in the Enfield, CT, Town Records. [6] She was from Windsor, CT.

Hannah was the only child of Elias Shadduck and Hannah Osborn. The last name is spelled as Shadduck, Shaddock, and Chaddock in various documents. [7] In 1676, when Hannah was very young, her father died. Her mother Hannah Osborn then married Benjamin Eggleston of Windsor. Benjamin and Hannah Eggleston had ten children. [8] 

One of these children was Dorothy Eggleston, who married Samuel West, Jr. [9] This Samuel was the nephew of Benjamin West. Therefore, despite a 20 year age difference, the two men had the same mother-in-law!

Children of Benjamin and Hannah West
Benjamin and Hannah had five known children:

1. Hannah West was born on 24 May 1693, in Enfield, CT. [10] She was baptized 24 Jul 1698 at First Congregational Church, Middleton, CT. [11] She died 5 Jan 1756. On 7 Oct 1714 she married Samuel Bow, Jr. (his second wife). [12] Their children were [13]:
Amos Bow (b. 18 Aug 1715; d. after 1750)
Phebe Bow (b. 25 Aug 1717; m. ___ Miller; d. after 1750)
Samuel Bow (b. 25 Jul 1719; d. 16 Apr 1749; m. Elizabeth Wright)
Eleazer Bow (b. 1 Apr 1721; d. after 1750)
Elisha Bow (b. 1 Apr 1729; d. 25 Jan 1756)

2. Phebe West was born on 7 Mar 1694/1695, in Enfield, CT. [14] She probably died before 1698, as I found no record of her baptism in Enfield or Middletown.

3. Benjamin West was born on 1 Jun 1696, in Enfield, CT. [15] He was baptized the same day as his sister Hannah—24 Jul 1698, First Church, Middletown. [16] He married Mehitable or Mehitabel Bailey of Haddam, CT on 11 Jan 1719/1720. [17]
The story of Benjamin and Mehitable West will be continued in the next article, as they are the grandparents of Judah and Aaron West.

4. Mary West was born perhaps 24 Mar 1699 [18] or 01 Apr 1699 [19]. According to First Church records, she was baptized on 02 Apr 1699. [20] On 5 Jun 1721, Mary West married Lemuel Lee. [21] Their children were all born, and died, in Middletown:
Anne Lee (b. 12 Mar 1722; d. poss. 1740)
Mary Lee (b. 8 Oct 1724; m. 20 May 1743 Frances Clark [22]; d. poss. 1760)
Mindwell Lee (b. 13 May 1726; 16 Jun 1743)
Lemuel Lee (b. 11 May 1729; d. 23 Dec 1746)
Abijah Lee (b. 8 Apr 1733; m. 12 Apr 1752 Abia Smith in Middle Haddam)
Levi Lee (b. 23 Jul 1739; d. 14 Dec 1746)
“Of these all but Mary and Abijah died either young or without issue. Abijah Lee and Abia Smith married April 12, 1752.” [23] Mary West Lee died 15 Jan 1752. [24]

5. Abigail West was born on 23 Jul 1716 in Middletown, CT. [25] She was baptized on 7 Sep 1716 at First Church, Middletown. [26] Guardianship after the death of Benjamin West: “Adms. granted to Hannah West, widow, who gave bond with Lemuel Lee of Middletown. Abigail West, a minor daughter, chose her mother Hannah West to be her guardian.” [27] Abigail West would have been 18 years old, according to a birth year of 1716. Abigail died on 28 Sep 1785 in Middletown. [28] On 15 Nov 1750 she married Nathan Harding (his second marriage). Harding was a Mayflower descendant and also a Plymouth Colony descendant. [29] Their children, all born in Middletown, were:
Ephraim Harding (b. 9 May 1752; m. Susannah Wheeler)
Benjamin Harding (b. 1 Aug 1756; d. 15 Aug 1786; m. Olive Sexton)
Abigail Harding, b. 3 Dec 1762; m. Giland Bradley)

The Wests in Enfield, Hartford County, Connecticut

In 1679, the selectman of the town of Springfield, Hampden County, MA created a plantation (land for farming) south of their boundaries at Freshwater Brook. A surveying error placed the settlement of Enfield in Massachusetts Colony instead of Connecticut Colony. This was officially corrected in 1749. [30] Today Enfield is part of Hartford County, CT.

Nineteen residents of Springfield were given grants first. If a person did not settle within three years, the right to the grant would be forfeited. The grant would be reassigned to someone else. This is the way Benjamin West received his land. He was granted 35 acres forfeited by Nathaniel Mun of Springfield. [31] This would have been in about 1683-1684.

The first settlers from outside of Springfield were from the Salem area—some called it “Salem Colony.” [32] Joseph West from Salem, brother of Benjamin, received a grant of about 40 acres in 1683. [33] Their brother-in-law from Salem, Isaac Meacham, also settled in Enfield about the same time. Isaac’s sister Rhoda Meacham married Samuel West, Sr. (another West brother). [34]

Benjamin’s land was in Southfield Fourth Division. Joseph West’s land was in Northfield First Division. Isaac Meacham’s land was on the east side. [35]

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. Benjamin West and his brother Joseph were mentioned in this list of men. [36]

On 14 Mar 1692, Benjamin West married Hannah Shadduck.

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.” [37]

In February 1696/1697, Benjamin and his wife sold their Enfield property to John Bliss, Sr. The deed recorded in Enfield Book C, page 57 describes this property [38]:

Benjamin West and wife Hannah to John Bliss senr of Springfield. (War.) “All lands in Enfield.”
12 acres homelot and house—John Bliss Junr north, Samuel Osborne south, highway west, Commons east.
10 acres in the South field fourth division—Samuel Terry west, Simon Booth east, highway north, Davison’s farm south.
20 acres in the South field—John Burrows west, Commons east, highway north, Davison’s farm south.
9 acres on Scantick river—highlands east and west, Commons north, Benjamin Denslow south.
8 acres in Freshwater great meadows.
Witnesses George Webster, Mary Taylor, 19 Feb. 1696/7. Recorded 3 May 1716.

The Wests in Middletown, Middlesex County, Connecticut
After selling their land in Enfield, Benjamin and Hannah West moved to Middletown, Middlesex County, CT. The History of Middlesex County lists the Wests’ arrival as 1698. [39] The date of the move was before 24 May 1698. This was the date they were admitted as members of the First Congregational Church. [40] The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, 1650-1700 includes Benjamin West on their ancestor list. [41]

The Town Records of Middletown note that Benjamin West was “admitted as an inhabitant” of Middletown on 05 Jan 1708/1709. [42] Of the 22 people admitted on the same day, 9 had been living in the area for 10 years or more, like West. This probably had to do with a system of land “proprietorship” that was in place for original settlers of the 1650s. The proprietors had control over inhabitant status in the early settlements, but some of this authority was transferred to the town leaders in the late 1600s. [43]

By 1714, Benjamin West owned 45 acres in the Three Mile Division of Middletown. [44] This was east of the Connecticut River, and south of Lake Pocotopaug. Eventually this area was designated as Chatham. Today this is the Town of East Hampton, CT. [45] West’s property originally belonged to Daniel Harris, a first settler who arrived in 1650. [46]

I do not know if this is first place in Middletown where Benjamin West and his family first settled. Land records for Middlesex County probably give more information about this. These are available in microfilm format through the Family History Centers (LDS), Middletown City Hall, and also the Russell Library in Middletown. [47]

Property owners close by were Francis Whitmore, Daniel Pryor, John Kirby, Richard Hall, James Tappin, and John Ward. West’s property was adjacent to Samuel Eggleston’s, and across the street from Samuel Bow, Jr., who married Hannah West, Benjamin and Hannah’s daughter. [48]

Samuel Eggleston and Daniel Pryor (listed above) migrated from Windsor, CT. They were related to the Wests through intermarriages with the Eggleston and Osborn families in Windsor and Enfield, CT. [49]

Later Years of Benjamin West
The Will of Henry West. In 1703, Benjamin West was mentioned in his Uncle Henry West’s Will [50]:

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.

This line from the Will established that Thomas and Henry were brothers. It also shows that Thomas West was the father of Benjamin West. The “Southward” was the designator for Connecticut. In this item of the Will, Henry West cancels the debt his nephew owes to him.

Will of Thomas West. Thomas West, Benjamin West’s father, died in 1720 in Bradford, Essex County, MA. We do not know the contents of the Will or the distribution of property. However, a family researcher from 1906 wrote that “Bond of administration was given June 2, 1721, on the estate of Thomas West of Bradford, by Mary his widow. He died Dec 23, 1720. 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.” [51] The family researcher seems to have viewed the actual document, and interpreted the signatures as well as she or he could.

Benjamin West does not appear on the list, above. His may have been the signature that was not readable. Or, the transcriber may have misread “Anthony West.” There was nobody by that name associated with the family. Richard Kimball was probably a witness, as was Hannah Eastman, a sister to Zechariah Eastman who married Phebe West. It is very likely that Benjamin West was present for this document. All the other living adult children were there.

Death of Benjamin West. Benjamin West died on 11 Dec 1733. [52] The estate inventory was taken 9 January, 1733/1734 by Daniel Prior, Frances Wetmore [Whitmore?], and George Hubbard of Middletown. The estate value was £103-19-00. [53] About a month later, the administration of the estate was given to Hannah West. Abigail West chose her mother as her guardian. On 3 Dec 1734, Hannah West’s administration account was accepted by the Court. [54]

References and Additional Notes
Detailed references are given here as this family has been poorly documented by researchers.
1. West Family Group #5 results are at
2. Essex Institute, 1916: Vital Records of the Town of Salem, Volume I—Births, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 410.
3. Essex Institute, 1974: The Records of the First Church in Salem, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 27.
4. 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.
5. 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 referenced Essex Institute Historical Collections:16:78, which I could not find.

Marriage to Hannah Shadduck
6. Francis Olcott Allen, editor, 1900: The History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volumes 1- 3, Wickersham Printing Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. In Volume 2: “Enfield Town Records, Marriages,” p. 1756.
7. Lemuel Shattuck, 1855: Memorials of the Descendants of William Shattuck, Dutton and Wentworth, Boston, p. 9. “Elias Chaddock (sometimes written Shaddock and Shadock) died in Windsor, Conn., in 1676, leaving a daughter Hannah. . .”
8. Donald E. Eggleston Family. Online at
9. Henry R. Stiles, 1892: The Histories and Genealogies of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut; East Windsor, South Windsor, Bloomfield, Windsor Locks, and Ellington, 1635-1891, Hartford, Connecticut.  In Volume II, “Genealogies and Biographies,” p. 789.
10. History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volume 2, “Enfield Town Records, Births,” p. 1587.
11. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920, Vol. 070, Part 2, Middletown, p. 612. Scanned book on from the Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut.
12. Lorraine Cook White, editor, 1994-2002: The Lucius Barnes Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records, Vol. 1-155, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, Maryland, p. 298 (Middleton). Also known as The Barbour Collection.
13. Royal Ralph Hinman, 1852: A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut, Case and Tiffany, Connecticut, p. 302.
14. History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volume 2, “Enfield Town Records, Births,” p. 1587.
15. Ibid, p. 1588.
16. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, p. 612.
17. Barbour Collection, p. 297.
18. Ray Dayton West, 1947: Wests: Partial Lineage. Mimeographed manuscript, Menominee, Michigan, 60 pages plus Index, p. 2.  Original from the University of Wisconsin through the Haithi Trust, Ray West wrote, “Data were obtained through Thompson R. Harlow, Librarian of the Connecticut Historical Society.” Ray West researched the Aaron West branch of this family.
19. Barbour Collection, p. 298.
20. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, p. 612.
21. William Wallace Lee, 1885: Lee Family Quarter-Millennial Gathering of the Descendants and Kinsmen of John Lee, Republican Printers, p. 102.
22. Frederic W. Bailey, editor, 1898: Early Connecticut Marriages as Found in Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, Book 3, Bureau of American Ancestry, New Haven, Connecticut, p. 74.
23. “Middletown Deaths,” The Connecticut Nutmegger, Vol. 31, No. 2, September 1998, p. 294.
24. Barbour Collection, p. 20.
25. Ibid, p. 297. In the Barbour Collection, Abigail West’s birth is listed with a “sic” after the record.  This usually means a possible error in recording, or transcription. The birth year is sixteen years later than Benjamin and Hannah’s prior child, Mary.
26. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, p. 612.
27. Charles William Manwaring, editor, 1906: A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records, Hartford District, 1729-1750, Vol. III, R.S. Peck and Company, p. 128.
28. ________, 1900: Early Records: Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths, Membership: of the Congregational Church of East Hampton (Chatham), Connecticut, Felton and King, Middletown, CT, p. 114. “Abigail wife of Nathan Harding died aged 69 years.”
29. Lucy Mary Kellogg, Edna Waugh Townsend, and Robert S. Wakefield, 1975: Mayflower Families Through Five Generations, Volume II, “General Society of Mayflower Descendants,” p. 210.

The Wests in Enfield, Hartford County, Connecticut
30. Ruth Bridge, editor, 1977: The Challenge of Change; Three Centuries of Enfield, Connecticut History, Enfield Historical Society, Phoenix Publishing, Canaan, New Hampshire, p. 18.
31. 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.”
32. 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.
33. 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.
34. Sidney Perley, 1926: The History of Salem Massachusetts, 1638-1670, Volume II, Salem, Massachusetts, p. 391.
35. History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volume 3. Various pages in “Deeds—Enfield,” p. 1905-2142.
36. Abbe and Nichols, p. 15.
37. History of Enfield, Volume 3, p. 2139.
38. Ibid.

The Wests in Middletown, Middlesex County, CT
39. Henry Whittemore, 1884: “Town and City of Middletown,” in The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885, J.H. Beers and Company, New York, p. 62-173. On line at: Page 7 of Web transcription.
40. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, p. 612.
41. The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants is an organization dedicated to preserving the history of the original settlers. Benjamin West is listed as a first settler, with the date of 1698. For more information about this organization, go to:
42. Whittemore, page 28 of Web transcription.
43. Richard L. Bushman, 1967: From Puritan to Yankee: Character and the Social Order in Connecticut, 1690-1765, W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., New York, New York, p. 41-53.
44. J.Paul Loether, 1981: A Partial Reconstruction of the Original Middletown Land Divisions, Connecticut Historical Society Collection, hand-drawn diagram. Accessed July 2014.
45. Connecticut Humanities Council: East Hampton. Accessed July 2014.
46. Paula Higgins, 2009: “In-Depth First Settler Profile: John Ward (1664)/Mary (Harris) Ward,” The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, Newburyport, MA, September, p. 4. Higgins references Middletown Land Records, Volume 3, p. 140. On 29 Apr 1714, sons of John Ward “conveyed three acres bounded east on the Great River south on Millers land north on land now belonging to Benjamin West which originally belonged to Daniel Harris . . .” Daniel Harris settled in Middletown in 1653 (Ref: The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants Web site).
47. R.W. Bacon, editor, The Middler: Newsletter of the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, Newburyport, Massachusetts. Email communications with Bacon during June 2014.
48. Paul Loether, 1981: Middletown, Connecticut: Lots in the Three Mile Division, 1721, Connecticut Historical Society Collection, hand-drawn diagram. Accessed July 2014.
49. The Wests, Egglestons, Osborns, and Disbrows of Enfield, Windsor, and Middletown, CT had multi-layered connections during the 1600s to early 1700s.
        Daniel Prior [or Pryor] married Sarah Eggleston, a daughter of Samuel Eggleston who is listed as a first settler of Middletown. Prior is also listed as a first settler. Samuel Eggleston had a brother, Benjamin. Benjamin Eggleston married Hannah Osborn [Shadduck] Eggleston. Samuel West, Jr. married Dorothy Eggleston, one of their daughters, and stayed in Windsor.  Sarah (of Samuel) and Dorothy (of Benjamin) were first cousins.
        Dorothy’s sister, also named Sarah Eggleston (of Windsor), married John Bliss, Jr. of Enfield. John Bliss, Sr. of Springfield, CT—his father—bought Hannah and Benjamin West’s land in Enfield. John Bliss, Jr.’s homelot was next door to the West’s. Samuel Osborn lived on the other side. He was an uncle to Hannah West.
        Humphrey Prior and Ann Osborn were the parents of Daniel Prior. Ann Osborn was a sister to Hannah Osborn [Shadduck] [Eggleston]. Hannah Osborn Shadduck (her first marriage) was the mother of Hannah Shadduck who married Benjamin West. Hannah Osborn Shadduck Eggleston (her second marriage) was the mother of Dorothy Eggleston. Benjamin West and Samuel West, Jr. therefore had the same mother-in-law.
        Samuel Eggleston’s wife was Sarah Disbrow or Disbrough. The name “Disbrow” appears in another branch of the West DNA Family Group #5, about 75 miles away, in Pawling, New York. This name link may be merely a coincidence.
        Wests, Egglestons, and Osborns migrated to Middletown, CT from Enfield and Windsor. There may be an additional migration from CT to NY of Wests, Egglestons, and Disbrows.

Later Years of Benjamin West
        50. Harry Irwin West, p.17.
51. (Initials C.H.A.), 1906: “Answers, Genealogical Department,” Boston Evening Transcript, June 20, 1906, Boston, Massachusetts, p. 21. C.H.A. was responding to a query about the West family.
52. Barbour Collection, p. 297.
53. Manwaring, p. 128. Manwaring is citing page 338 of a probate volume that is not enumerated.

54. Ibid, p. 128. Manwaring cites “Court Record, Page 104” for the first part of this statement. He cites “Page 14, Vol. XII” as the source of the administration settlement.

1 comment:

  1. Joy, your source citations are excellent! Thanks for all of your great articles on the Judah West branch. Looking forward to reading more!