Sunday, August 24, 2014
Wests in Middlesex County, Connecticut:
Benjamin West, Jr. (1696-after 1739)
Compiled by Joy Ikelman, August 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.  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 second 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 (1736-1822) m. Judith Hills
- Aaron West (1763-1840) m. Susannah Kellogg
- Judah West (1765-1825) m. Mary Todd
Early Years of Benjamin West, Jr.
Benjamin West, Jr. was the son of Benjamin West and Hannah Shadduck. He was the grandson of Thomas and Phebe West. He probably knew his grandfather, because he was born before Thomas West died in 1720.
Benjamin West, Jr. was born on 1 Jun 1696 in Enfield, Hartford County, CT.  When he was two years old, his family moved to Middletown, Middlesex County, CT.  He was baptized on the same day as his sister Hannah—24 Jul 1698—at First Congregational Church, Middletown. 
Benjamin West, Jr. Marries Mehitable Bailey
He married Mehitable, Mehitabel, or Mehetibel Bailey of Haddam, Middlesex County, CT on 11 Jan 1719/1720.  She was the daughter of John Bailey, Jr. and Elizabeth Gerrard of Haddam.  She was the granddaughter of John Bailey, one of the first 28 settlers of Haddam (1662). 
Mehitable Bailey West was born on 4 Jun 1698.  She was baptized at Haddam First Congregational Church on 10 Sep 1699.  Mehitable joined Middletown First Congregational Church on 19 Jun 1720.  Her son Moses was baptized the same day. On 2 Nov 1729, Mehitable joined Portland First Congregational Church. 
Chatham, Portland, or East Hampton, Connecticut?
West researchers have written that after 1728, the West family moved to Portland, Connecticut. They base this on the available church records. However, Portland was not a town until 1841—more than a hundred years later. What are the facts?
Community Names. The original settlement of 1653 was called Middletown. This included land on both sides of the Connecticut River. By the time Benjamin West, Sr. moved there in 1698, land on the east side of the River was called “East Middleton.” Eventually the name was changed to “Chatham.” Chatham was incorporated into a town in 1767. One community in Chatham was called “Portland.” Another community in Chatham was called “East Hampton.” The town of Chatham was renamed East Hampton in 1915.
Church Names. A family’s church activities (such as baptisms and marriages) were recorded at the closest available church. The original West property (from 1698) was south of Lake Pocotopaug.  Today this is called East Hampton, and it is about 9 miles west of today’s Portland. However, at that time, there was no church in East Hampton.
The baptisms of the first three children of Benjamin and Mehitable West were recorded at First Congregational Church, Middletown. The rest of the children’s baptisms were recorded at First Congregational Church, Portland. The Portland church was originally (1721) called Chatham First Congregational Church . The First Congregational Church of East Hampton was established in 1746.  By then, Benjamin and Mehitable’s children were adults. The church was very close to the West property near Lake Pocotopaug. Moses, John, and David—their sons—were members.  Very confusing!
This means that the family did not necessarily move from one area to another. Instead, they transferred their membership as closer churches were established.
Children of Benjamin and Mehitable West
1. Moses West (Senior): b. 23 Apr 1720  and bpt. 19 Jun 1720 at First Congregational Church, Middletown —the same day as his mother, Mehitable Bailey West became a member. He m. 13 Feb 1746 Sarah Hopkins, at First Congregational Church, East Hampton.  He d. 8 May 1794 in East Hampton.  On 3 Jun 1746: “This Court grant Adms on the estate of Widow Deborah Hopkins, late of Middletown decd., unto Moses West of sd. Middletown.”  We do not know her relationship to Sarah Hopkins. Moses and Sarah Hopkins had two known children: Hopkins West and Moses West (Junior).
Hopkins West was bpt. 25 Apr 1756 at East Hampton.  He m. Susannah Peters; they had five children.  Hopkins West is on a list “taken from the town treasurer’s book, of soldiers to whom bounties were paid in 1781-82.”  This refers to the Revolutionary War. By the 1790 Census, Hopkins and Susannah West were living in Cambridge, Washington County, NY, with two other individuals (probably their children).  Moses Jr., his brother, also lived there. Today, Cambridge is in Albany County, NY.
Moses West (Junior) was probably older than Hopkins West. He m. Mary Ranney—sometimes written as “Rainney”—on 4 Jun 1771 in East Hampton, Middlesex County, CT. They moved to White Creek, Washington County, NY in 1789. Moses West d. 10 Mar 1801 in Cambridge, Washington County, NY.  The baptisms of three of their children were recorded in the East Hampton Congregational Church records: Margary West (bpt. 1780), Richard West (bpt. 1782), and Moses West (bpt. 1785).  Daughter Hannah West (b. ca. 1776, who married Arthur Ackley) is mentioned in the pension application. There was another son, Ezra West, probably born in Washington County, NY in 1790. There are known descendants from Ezra today.  Other children of Moses Jr. (according to some West researchers) may have been Aaron, Elisha, Ezekial, and Polly. I was unable to prove this. In the 1790 Census, Moses and Mary West had 6 other individuals at their house—4 males and 2 females—probably their children. In the 1800 Census, there was an additional male at their house. 
2. Elijah West: b. 23 Aug 1722 , bpt. 23 Sep 1722  He married Hannah Thurber, who was born in Rhode Island. She married (1) Josiah Bennet Nichols in Nova Scotia, Canada, and then (2) Elijah West. [31) Elijah died in 1798, and is buried in Old South Cemetery, Windsor, Windsor County, VT. Elijah’s tombstone reads: “Dedicated to the memory of Mr. Elijah West, who departed this life October 28th, 1798, in the 78th year of his age.” 
1790 Census. The 1790 Census records show that Elijah and Hannah had 8 other people at their house—4 males and 4 females. Two of these males were under 16 years of age, and 2 were more than 16 years old. We do not know the ages of the females.  Hannah’s known children were Samuel Nichols (from her first marriage), Elizabeth (West) and Susan (West). Elizabeth West married Abner Forbes, and Susan West married Allen Hayes.  The Census numbers show us that there were more children, or perhaps boarders.
Constitution House. Elijah was a lawyer  and a “tavern” owner. This was a large house that accommodated travelers. On 2 July 1777, State delegates met at Elijah West’s tavern and drafted Vermont’s first Constitution.  The tavern house has been restored and is now a Vermont State Historic Site called “The Old Constitution House.” It is located at 15 North Main in Windsor, VT. 
3. Hannah West: b. 15 Jan 1724/1725 ; bpt. 7 Mar 1725. 
4. Benjamin West: b. 9 Apr 1728 ; bpt. 12 May 1728.  He was the first of the West children to be baptized at First Congregational Church, Portland, CT.
5. Israel West: bpt. 13 Sep 1730. 
6. Abigail West: b. possibly 30 Jun 1732 ; bpt. 13 Aug 1732 
7. John West: bpt. 17 Aug 1734.  John West married Susanna (last name unknown). Church records show that he was appointed grave digger at First Congregational Church, East Hampton, in November 1765 and 1766.  In many New England churches, this was a paying job, associated most often with winter burials. John and Susanna West joined the church on 6 Jun 1784.  Three of their children—Mehitabel, John, and Benjamin West—were baptized that same day. 
8. David West: bpt. 7 Nov 1736 ; d. 1822. 
The story of David and Judith (or Juda) West will be continued in the next article, as they are the parents of Judah and Aaron West.
9. Aaron West: bpt. 5 Feb 1739.  There is a very high probability that Aaron West died in the French and Indian War, Campaign of 1757. A soldier named Aaron West served in Col. Phinneas Lyman’s regiment, Tenth Company, under Capt. Eliphalet Whittlesey. He enlisted on 30 Mar 1757, and died on 10 Nov 1757.  Another person in this Company was David West. We know that David West, his brother, served in the French and Indian War. The Tenth Company was composed of soldiers from areas around Middletown, CT. Aaron West would have been about 18 years old at the time of his death.
Wests from Middlesex County, CT vs. Wests from Tolland County, CT
There was a family of Wests who lived in Tolland County, CT at this time. This is not too far from Middlesex County. The other West family is often referred to as the “Tolland Wests” by researchers. They are descendants of Francis West and Margery Reeves of Duxbury, Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. This is West DNA Family Group #19.  It’s easy to mix up the two families.
Similar Names. These two West families had similar first names. This is not because the two families were related. This is because of the popularity of Old Testament names for male children, such as Moses, Aaron, Abner, Israel, David, Ezra, and Elijah. These names were used throughout the 1700s in many New England families.
Military Records. Both West families had men serving in the French and Indian Wars, and in the Revolutionary War.  Connecticut military records from the French and Indian Wars do not give specifics on a soldier’s place of enlistment. However, officers’ residences are sometimes cited. The officers were usually from the same geographic areas as men serving under them. The Revolutionary War pension applications are more informative. It is easier to sort these into FG#5 and FG#19 West families. If Tolland, Hebron, and other Tolland County town names are mentioned as hometowns, the soldier is probably from a FG#19 family.
Migration Patterns. After the Revolutionary War, Wests from both families moved from Connecticut to New York. Wests from both families also followed the settlement route to the Connecticut Western Reserve and settled in Ohio. 
Church Records. Both West families were members of First Congregational Church, East Hampton, at the same time. Several of Benjamin and Mehitable West’s descendants stayed in East Hampton, CT, where the West homestead was located. From 1791-1826, the pastor of the church was Reverend Joel West. He is not related to Family Group #5. He was born in Lebanon (today’s Columbia, Tolland County) to Captain Samuel and Sarah West. He was descended from Frances West and Margery Reeves (Family Group #19).  Several generations of Reverend West’s descendants lived in East Hampton.
Later Years of Benjamin and Mehitable West
There is no direct information about the later years of Benjamin and Mehitable West. I found no records for their deaths.  We can guess that each lived until 1739 or beyond, based on the baptism date of their last known child Aaron West (bp. 5 Feb 1739). Benjamin West, Jr. witnessed this baptism.
Perhaps Benjamin West, Jr. lived on his (father’s) land throughout his life. He may have farmed the land or leased it. He might have willed the land to his sons, particularly Moses West, the firstborn. Moses West lived out his years in East Hampton, Middlesex County, CT. He died in 1794. His brother David West stayed in East Hampton until about 1783, when he moved to Winchester, Litchfield County, CT.  Brother John stayed in East Hampton, at least through 1784, when his children were baptized.
Land records for Benjamin West, Jr. and his children would give more information. I did not have access to these. These are available in microfilm format through the Family History Centers (LDS), Middletown City Hall, and also the Russell Library in Middletown. 
Perhaps descendants of Benjamin and Mehitable worked in local mills or shops. During these times, industries rose up in the East Hampton region south of Lake Pocotopaug—the lake’s waterpower was excellent for production.  By the mid-1700s, there were mills, a bell factory, and other successful ventures.
References and Additional Notes
1. West Family Group #5 results are at http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG5.
2. Francis Olcott Allen, editor, 1900: The History of Enfield, Connecticut, Volumes 1- 3, Wickersham Printing Company, Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Volume 2: “Enfield Town Records, Births,” p. 1588.
3. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Vol. 070, Part 2, Middletown First Congregational Church, p. 612. The date of the move was before 24 May 1698. This was the date Benjamin West, Sr. and Hannah Shadduck West were admitted as members of the church.
4. CT Church Record Abstracts, Middletown, p. 612.
5. 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. 297 (Middletown). Also known as The Barbour Collection.
6. An excellent family chart—“Descendants of John Bailey (1618-1696)”—is at:
7. George S. Roberts, 1906: Historic Towns of the Connecticut River Valley, Robson and Adee, Schenectady, New York, p. 75. A map showing town lots in Haddam in about 1670, including “John Balie” is at http://www.haddamhistory.org/early_settlement_map.htm. Accessed August 2014.
8. Barbour Collection, Haddam, p. 9.
9. CT Church Record Abstracts, Volume 048, Haddam First Congregational Church, 1739-1808, p. 19.
10. CT Church Record Abstracts, Middletown, p. 612.
11. CT Church Record Abstracts, Volume 091, Portland First Congregational Church, 1720-1925, p. 201.
12. Paul Loether, 1981: Middletown, Connecticut: Lots in the Three Mile Division, 1721, Connecticut Historical Society Collection, hand-drawn diagram. http://www.chs.org/emuseum. Accessed July 2014.
13. The First Congregational Church of Portland. Facebook page. Accessed Aug 2014.
14. “The Congregational Church of East Hampton,” Historic Buildings of Connecticut, http://historicbuildingsct.com/?p=2168. Accessed August 2014.
15. CT Church Record Abstracts, Volume 027, East Hampton Congregational Church, p. 589, 595, 598.
16. Barbour Collection, Middletown, p. 298.
17. CT Church Record Abstracts, Middletown, p. 612.
18. CT Church Record Abstracts, East Hampton, p. 232.
19. _____, 1900: Early Records of Baptisms, Marriages, Deaths and Membership of the Congregational Church, East Hampton (Chatham) Connecticut, Middletown, Connecticut, Felton and King, p. 125.
20. 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. 573-574. “Court Records, Page 13.” Inventory taken 29 May 1746.
21. CT Church Record Abstracts, East Hampton, p. 232.
22. Edmond Frank Peters and Eleanor Bradley Peters, 1903: Peters of New England, A Genealogy, and Family History, The Kickerbocker Press, New York, p. 307.
23. Henry Whittemore, 1884: “Town of Chatham,” in The History of Middlesex County 1635-1885, J.H. Beers and Company, New York, p. 186.
24. Census of 1790, Cambridge, Washington County, NY. Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
25. Hannah Wright, (widow’s) pension application for Revolutionary War soldier Moses West, W18387. HeritageQuest, http://www.heritagequestonline.com. Accessed December 2013.
26. CT Church Record Abstracts, East Hampton, p. 597, 598, 599.
27. In 1998, S.R. posted information on some family descendants of Moses West, Jr. through son Ezra, who moved from Washington County, NY to Seneca County, OH. Ezra West m. Prudence Culver. James West (OH to MO) m. Julia Bogart. Albert West (MO to KS) m. Josephine Campbell. James Henry West (KS) m. Susan Lewellen. Claude West was from Smith County, KS. Source: Rootsweb, West-L, Subject: [WEST-L] re: Moses West, 12 Jan 1998. In 2005, T.G. posted information on descendants of another son of James West and Julia Bogart—Asahel McGee West. This line continued to Charles West (CO to Lyon County, KS). Home page dated 2005, accessed August 2014: http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com/users/g/r/i/Thomas-West-Griffiths/.
28. Census of 1790 and Census of 1800, Cambridge, Washington County, NY.
29. Barbour Collection, Middletown, p. 298.
30. CT Church Record Abstracts, Middletown, p. 612.
31. Florence Thurber Gargaro, 2009: Descendants of Benjamin Thurber and Elizabeth Hallett, http://www.gargaro.com/thurber/. Accessed July 2014. Per notes by Gargaro, the marriage to Josiah Nichols is recorded in Hants County, Nova Scotia Registration Year 1766, Book 1700, page 45, at http://www.novascotiagenealogy.com. Accessed August 2014.
32. Information and pictures are at: http://www.findagrave.com.
33. Census of 1790, Windsor, Windsor County, Vermont.
34. Gagaro sources for the children: Thurber Family Genealogical Index: A Work in Progress, by Joanne E. Martin, 1995.
35. Lewis Cass Aldrich and Frank R. Holmes, editors, 1891: History of Windsor County, Vermont, D. Mason & Co., Syracuse, New York, page 184.
36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Constitution_House. Accessed July 2014.
37. http://historicsites.vermont.gov/directory/old_constitution/history. Accessed July 2014.
38. Barbour Collection, Middletown, p. 298.
39. CT Church Record Abstracts, Middletown, p. 612.
40. Barbour Collection, Middletown, p. 297. Portland was not yet incorporated, so the birth record is in Middletown.
41. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
42. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
43. Barbour Collection, Middletown, p. 297.
44. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
45. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
46. CT Church Record Abstracts, East Hampton, p. 595.
47. Early Records, East Hampton (Chatham) Congregational Church, p. 123.
48. CT Church Record Abstracts, East Hampton, p. 590, 595, 598.
49. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
50. John Boyd, 1873: Annals of Family Records of Winchester, Connecticut with Exercises of the Centennial Celebration, on the 16th and 17th Days of August, 1871, Case, Lockwood, and Brainard, Hartford, CT, p. 289.
51. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
52. Connecticut Historical Society, 1903: “Campaign of 1757,” Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume IX, The Society, Hartford, CT, p. 185.
53. West Family Group #19 results are at: http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG19
54. Marilou West Ficklin, 2013: Wests of Tolland, CT and Lee, MA—Their Westward Migration; Selected Descendants of Francis West of Duxbury. Self published, on-line at http://www.westerly-journeys.com. Accessed July 2014. Ficklin has written an excellent account of these Wests.
55. Ikelman, 2013-2014, research on migration patterns of the Wests from Middlesex County, CT. Ficklin, 2013, research on migration patterns of the Wests from Tolland County, CT and Berkshire County, MA.
56. Martin L. Roberts and Samuel Mills Bevins, compilers, 1899: The One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary: 1748-1898, of the Congregational Church of East Hampton, (Chatham) Connecticut, November 30, 1898, Pelton and King, Middletown, CT, p. 17-18.
57. There were no entries in The Charles R. Hale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions (Hartford, Connecticut: Connecticut State Library). However, the Hale Collection includes a number of “Tolland Wests.” In the Barbour Collection, “Tolland Wests” are very well represented. These Wests are in DNA Family Group #19—not related to Family Group #5.
58. Boyd, p. 289.
59. R.W. Bacon, editor, The Middler: Newsletter of the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, Newburyport, Massachusetts. Email communications with Mr. Bacon during June 2014.
60. Roberts and Bevins, p. 11. A brief description of the early industry associated with Lake Pocotopaug is at: http://connecticuthistory.org/lake-pocotopaug-shapes-the-growth-of-east-hampton/. Accessed August 2014.