Tuesday, September 30, 2014

David West (ca. 1736-1822) in Middlesex and Litchfield Counties, Connecticut

Wests in Middlesex and Litchfield Counties, Connecticut:
David West (ca. 1736-1822)

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, September 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 (1765-1825) was added to West DNA Family Group #5 in 2007. [1] David West, Jr. (1761-ca. 1855) and Aaron West (1763-1840) were his brothers. They are descendants of Thomas West (b. 1630/1631-1720) of Essex County, Massachusetts. The father of these three brothers was David West, Sr. This is the third 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
                        - David West, Jr. (1761-ca. 1855)
                        - Aaron West (1763-1840) m. Susannah Kellogg
                        - Judah West (1765-1825) m. Mary Todd

Early Years of David West
I was unable to find a birth date for David West. He was baptized on 7 Nov 1736 at First Congregational Church, Portland, Middlesex County, Connecticut. [2]

He was the son of Benjamin West, Jr. and Mehitable (or Mehitabel) Bailey. His grandparents were Benjamin West, Sr. and Hannah Shadduck. His great-grandparents were Thomas West and Phoebe Waters of Essex County, Massachusetts. David West grew up in what is today called East Hampton, Middlesex County, Connecticut, south of Lake Pocotopaug. [3]

Service in the French and Indian Wars
Campaign of 1755. At the age of 19, 1 Sep 1755, David West enlisted with Captain Joseph Savage of Middletown, CT.  This was possibly the 1st or 2nd Connecticut Regiment. He was discharged on 6 Nov 1755. [4] Much of the Campaign of 1755 was completed before the time he enlisted.

Campaign of 1757. In 1757, David West served in Col. Phinneas Lyman’s regiment, Tenth Company, under Capt. Eliphalet Whittelsey. The Tenth Company was composed of soldiers from areas around Middlesex and Hartford Counties, CT. David enlisted on 2 Apr 1757 and was discharged on 1 Dec 1757. Serving with him was Aaron West, his brother. David was about 21 years old, and Aaron was 18. Aaron West enlisted on 30 Mar 1757 and died in service on 10 Nov 1757. [5] Other men in this regiment died on the same day or closely thereafter.

Although Connecticut provided thousands of men for the 1757 campaign, they were treated poorly. A scathing assessment was published in 1854.

    . . .They [colonial soldiers of Connecticut] were treated with the greatest hauteur, and even insolence, by the royal [British] officers sent here, swelling with pride, to domineer over the provincials, caring more to show their superiority over the latter than to advance the king’s interest.
    . . .They had no opportunity to exhibit the native courage which burned in their bosoms . . . Yet instances of courage and daring flashed up in every part of the colonies, disconnected with the royal service.  
    . . .The campaign of 1757 ended most ingloriously. To the incapacity and pusillanimity of these commanders are to be attributed the constantly recurring losses of that year. Had the colonies been left to themselves, they would have done better. [6]

Becoming American. The seeds of independence were firmly planted during the French and Indian Wars. The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut states:

The wars helped to bring about important changes in the British colonies. In addition to the fact of their ocean-wide distance from the mother country, the colonies felt themselves less dependent militarily on the British by the end of the wars; they became most concerned with their own problems and put greater value on their own institutions. In other words, they began to think of themselves as Americans rather than British. [7]

David West Marries Judith Hills
David West married Judith Hills on 1 Nov 1757 in Middlesex County, Connecticut. [8] Sometimes her name appears as “Juda.” Her tombstone says “Judith.” She was born about 1737—this is based on her death date of 1816, at age 79. I found no reference to her immediate family.

The Hills living in Middlesex County in the late 1700s were descendants of William Hills of England (circa 1607-1683). [10] William Hills emigrated from England to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1632, and moved to Hartford in 1636. [11] His descendants are sometimes referred to as the “Hartford Hills.” Hartford is about 20 miles from East Hampton.

David West and Judith Hills were married nine days before Aaron West died in the French and Indian War.

Chidren of David and Judith. David and Judith West had ten known children.

1. Abigail West b. 15 Jan 1759 [11]; m. Henry McCone on 7 Oct 1779. [12]

2. David West b. 18 Feb 1761 [13]; d. after 1855. [14] He served in the Revolutionary War.
David West, Jr. will be discussed in a future blog article.

3. Aaron West b. 3 Jun 1763 [15]; d. 15 May 1840 [16]; m. Susannah Kellogg, 4 Nov 1784. [17] He served in the Revolutionary War.
Aaron West will be discussed in a future blog article.

4. Judah West b. 11 Sep 1765 [18]; d. 9 Apr 1825 [19]; m. Mary Todd, 27 Dec 1785. [20] He served in the Revolutionary War.
Judah West will be discussed in a future blog article.

5. Abner West bpt. 28 Jun 1767 [21]; died young. Another son would be named Abner in 1773.

6. Whitney West (son) b. 25 Jul 1769 [22]; bpt. 13 Sep 1772. [23]

7. Prudence West b. 5 Feb 1771 [24]; bpt. 13 Sep 1772 [25]; m. Joel Loomis, 23 May 1792 in Torrington, Litchfield County, CT. [26]

8. Abner West b. 13 Sep 1773 [27]; bpt. 29 Sep 1773. [28] There was an Abner West appearing in the 1820 Census of Sharon, Litchfield County, CT with one female over 45. Abner is “engaged in agriculture.” [29] This Abner West might possibly be the son of David West.

9. Hannah West b. 16 May 1775 [30]; bpt. June 1775 [31]; m. John Allin, 16 Dec 1796 in Colebrook, Litchfield County, CT. [32]

10. Jesse West b. 19 Sep 1777 [33]; bpt. 28 Sep 1777. [34]

Service to First Congregational Church
The First Congregational Church of East Hampton was established in 1746. [35] The West Family belonged to this church—it was very close to their property. David West was chosen to be sexton on 29 Nov 1762. The sexton looked after the church and church grounds, and also rang the church bell. The next year, 28 Nov 1763, he was appointed as grave digger. [36] The grave digger position was a supervisory one, associated most often with winter burials.  In many New England churches, these jobs provided a small stipend. At the time of David’s church appointments, his brothers Moses and John West also lived in East Hampton with their families.

David West and the Revolutionary War
In his Revolutionary War pension application of 1820, David West, Jr. (son of David West) testified that he had “An aged Father near 90 years old who was in the old French War and who took an active part in the Revolutionary War.” [37] I found one reference to this service. At a town meeting, 4 Dec 1780, David West and three other men “were chosen a Comm’tt of Supply for the Soldiers Families for the year ensuing.” [38] This Committee was part of a county-wide program which began in 1777, “to provide necessarys for the families.” [39]

Middlesex County had enjoyed prosperity in the years up to the war. It was a vital port on the Connecticut River. But when the Boston Port Act was put in place by the British to block Boston harbor from imports and exports, the inhabitants along the Connecticut River reacted swiftly. More than five hundred inhabitants of Middlesex County adopted this resolution:

That we will heartily concur in any salutary measures that may or shall be devised and come into or recommended by a General Congress, from all or most of the Colonies, or by the greater places of trade or commerce on the Continent, or by the inhabitants of this colony, for the preservation of the rights of British Americans. [40]

In December of 1774, “The non importation and non consumption of British goods was recommended by the Continental Congress and the Colonial Assembly, and it was promptly and heartily concurred by the people here.” [41] There was solidarity with other colonies. This declaration led to strengthening of local government to manage the shifting economy. Local industries adapted their production of goods toward supporting all of the colonies, and not just Connecticut.

In 1776, the Continental Congress established a draft and quota system to ensure that the Continental Army would be strong. Middlesex County, CT had specific guidelines about filling these quotas, setting up an organized method of conscription. However, the three sons of David West, Sr., voluntarily enlisted.

David, Jr., and Aaron served in the Connecticut Line. Judah served in the Massachusetts Line. Massachusetts had called for assistance to help fill their quota. David West’s nephews, Moses, Jr., and Hopkins West, also served. Future blog articles will address the service records of David, Aaron, and Judah.

The [historical] records are sufficient to prove that Chatham [Middlesex County] nobly did its part in filling up the Continental armies with good soldiers, relieving them at the same time of all anxiety in regard to the care of their families in their absence, and strengthened the government by every available means. [42]

The Wests Move to Litchfield County, Connecticut
In 1783, David West moved his family to Winsted—in the township of Winchester, Litchfield County, CT. Winchester was considered a remote area at the time. David West “first lived in a log house at the base of Cobble Hill on Spencer Street, a little south of the site of the Joshua Hewitt dwelling.” [43]

We do not know why he moved there. His brother, Moses, stayed in East Hampton. As the oldest son of Benjamin West, Jr., Moses may have inherited the West land. Perhaps David wanted a fresh start in a less-populated area, with land that was not overworked. R. W. Bacon, editor of The Middler, Newsletter of the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, studied the migration from Middlesex County to other areas after the Revolutionary War. He suggests that the economic situation may have been a motivation for many migrating families. He wrote:

The Middletown populace welcomed the end of the war in 1783, but difficult adjustments followed . . .Where there had been a mercantile boom fueled by the military supply business, prosperity certainly did not spread equally throughout the population. The dependent families struggled, and discharged soldiers were often left holding devalued currency. [44]

Aaron and Judah also lived in Winsted after the Revolutionary War ended.  Aaron West was “a grantee of the Lockwood Farm on Spencer Street on which he lived until 1787, when he is named of New Hartford.” [45] Judah West came to Winsted with his father. He “first lived on the Halsey Burr place on the old Still River turnpike” and then “on the east side of the same road where the old toll gate was located.” [46] Judah stayed in Winsted. David West’s nephew, Hopkins West, came to Winchester township about the same time, and then moved to Cambridge, New York. [47]

Tax Assessment. In 1783, a tax assessment of Winchester showed about 700 residents, with about 148 male taxpayers. Of these, 39 lived in Winsted, including David West. His taxable property was £47 [48]—solidly “middle class” for that time and location.

Wests and Egglestons. In 1801, David West bought a house from Frederick Eggleston. The home “stood on the site of George Dudley’s dwelling on Main Street.” [48] Today, Main Street in Winsted, CT, is also Highway 44. During the 1800s it was referred to as “the turnpike.” Judah also lived on the turnpike. David and Judith lived in the house on Main Street for the rest of their lives.

The purchase has an intriguing subplot:  the appearance of the Eggleston name. The Wests and Egglestons had interacted in Enfield, Windsor, Middletown, and Winsted, CT. Soon after this sale, Frederick Eggleston moved to the neighboring town of Colebrook, CT. The relationship between the two families spanned four generations—more than 100 years. [49]

Early Methodists. David West was one of the early Methodists in Winsted. He was described as “a pious and worthy man.” [50] In 1808, Winsted’s first Methodist church was built on Spencer Street. “Prior to the building of this house, the Methodists had worshipped in the adjoining school house. Their number [of members], though limited, included a highly respectable class of our inhabitants.” [51]

Census Data for Litchfield County [52]
1790 Census: One male under 16, two males 16 and over, and three females. This is most likely David, Judith and four children. The children are probably Abner or Whitney, Jesse, Hannah, and Prudence.
1800 Census :  One male 16-25, one male 45 and over, and one female 45 and over. This was David, Judith, and possibly their son Jesse. Or perhaps this was another young man.
1810 Census: One male 45 and over, and one female 45 and over. This would be David and Judith.
1820 Census: Neither David or Judith is mentioned. David West was alive, but not counted in the census.

Last Years of David and Judith West
Judith’s tombstone reads: “Judith West who died Feb. 24th, 1816 in her 80th year of life.” [53] This phrase indicates she was 79 years old. She was buried at the Winsted Old Burying Ground—also known as Central Cemetery.  [54] Judah West, their son, is buried in the same cemetery.

David West, Sr. died in 1822 at age 87, six years after his wife. [55] Although I found this information in two citations, neither could be verified with a town or church record. I could not find David West’s burial site. He may be buried at Winsted Old Burying Ground.

References and Additional Notes
1. West DNA Family Group #5 results are at http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG5.
2. Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut. Vol. 091, Portland First Congregational Church, 1720-1925, p. 200.
3. This was the location of the West family land in Middlesex County. Benjamin and Hannah West settled in the area in 1698. For more of this history please consult the articles on Benjamin West, Sr. and Benjamin West, Jr. on this blog site.
4. Connecticut Historical Society, 1903: “Campaign of 1755, Miscellaneous,” Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume IX, The Society, Hartford, Connecticut, p. 81.
5. Connecticut Historical Society, “Campaign of 1757,” p. 185-187. Note: Two years later in the Campaign of 1759, David West is recorded as a soldier. However, this West was from Tolland County, CT. The “Tolland Wests” were descended from Francis West and Margery Reeves—West DNA Family Group #19. West Family Group #19 results are at: http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG19.
6. William Cothren, 1854: History of Ancient Woodbury, Connecticut from the First Indian Deed in 1659 to 1754, Volume I, Bronson Brothers, Waterbury, Connecticut, p. 167.
7. Sigourney Fay Nininger, Jr., editor, 2011: The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Connecticut, Web site. http://colonialwarsct.org/1689_map.htm. Accessed September 2014. The Society of Colonial Wars was founded in 1893 to honor the activities of those colonists who served in pre-Revolutionary civil and military positions. Descendants of David West would qualify for membership, as he has documented service in the French and Indian Wars.
8. 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. 163 (Chatham). Also known as The Barbour Collection.
9. William Sanford Hills and Thomas Hills, compilers, 1906: The Hills Family in America, The Grafton Press, New York, New York, various pages.
10. Robert Charles Anderson, 1996-2011: The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633, New England Historical and Genealogical Society, Boston, p. 941-946. Entry for “William Hills.”
11. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 163.
12. Frederic W. Bailey, editor, 1896: Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, Book 4, Bureau of American Ancestry, New Haven, Connecticut, p. 99.
13. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 163.
14. Census of the State of New York, for 1855, New York State Archives, Albany, New York.
15. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 163.
16. The death date comes from Susannah West’s testimony in court.
17. Barbour Collection, Colebrook, p. 259.
18. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 163.
19. Charles R. Hale, compiler, 1916-1935: “Central Cemetery, Winsted,”The Charles R. Hale Collection of Connecticut Cemetery Inscriptions, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut, p. 171.
20. Barbour Collection, Colebrook, p. 259.
21. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200. Although the East Hampton Congregational Church was established in 1746, the baptisms were recorded in the Portland Church’s book.
22. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 164.
23. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 201. Baptized the same day as his sister Prudence.
24. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 164.
25. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 201. Baptised the same day as her brother Whitney.
26. Bailey, Book 7, p. 70.
27. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 163.
28. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200.
29. Census of 1820, Sharon, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
30. Ray Dayton West, 1947: Wests: Partial Lineage. Mimeographed manuscript, Menominee, Michigan, 60 pages plus Index, p. 3.  Original from the University of Wisconsin through the Haithi Trust, http://babel.haithitrust.org. Accessed March 2014. Ray West stated the day of birth—perhaps by viewing the original document. The Barbour Collection (p. 164) says May 1775.
31. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 200—“David, his dau. bp June [__] 1775.” This is probably Hannah, although her name is not mentioned. Ray Dayton West (1947) concurs.
32. Barbour Collection, Colebrook, p. 259.
33. Barbour Collection, Chatham, p. 163.
34. CT Church Record Abstracts, Portland, p. 201.
35. “The Congregational Church of East Hampton,” Historic Buildings of Connecticut, http://historicbuildingsct.com/?p=2168. Accessed August 2014.
36. CT Church Record Abstracts, Volume 027, East Hampton Congregational Church, p. 589.
37. Revolutionary war pension application for David West, Jr. HeritageQuest, http://www.heritagequestonline.com. Accessed December 2013.
38. E. Emory Johnson and Hosford B. Niles, 1884: “Town of East Haddam,” in The History of Middlesex County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men, J.H. Beers and Company, New York, p. 282.
39. M.L. Roberts, 1884: “Town of Chatham: Chatham in the Wars,” The History of Middlesex County, p. 182.
40. David D. Field, 1853: Centennial Address, with Historical Sketches of Cromwell, Portland, Chatham, Middle Haddam, Middletown, and its Parishes, William B. Casey, publisher, Middletown, Connecticut, p. 65.
41. Henry Whittemore, “Middletown in the Revolution,” The History of Middlesex County, p. 78.
42. Mrs. J.J. Hayne, 1884: “Portland—The Revolution,” The History of Middlesex County, p. 503.
43. 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.
44. Reginald W. Bacon, 2008: “Middletown in the Revolutionary War: The Redcoats Never Marched Down Main Street, but War Did Accelerate Change in Middletown Life,” The Middler; Newsletter of the Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants, Volume 8, No. 2, p. 1, 6-8. Bacon based his conclusions on Albert E. Van Dusen, 1950: Middletown and The American Revolution, Rockfall Corporation and the Middlesex Historical Society, 35 pages; plus other sources.
45. Boyd, p. 289.
46. Boyd, p. 297.
47. CT Church Record Abstracts, East Hampton, p. 232. Hopkins (b. 1756) was a son of Moses West and Sarah Hopkins. The 1790 census shows him living in Cambridge, where his brother Moses, Jr. also lived.
48. Boyd, p. 160.
49. The Eggleston Family was related to the Wests through intermarriages in Windsor and Enfield, CT in the late 1600s and early 1700s. Benjamin West (David West’s grandfather) and Samuel Eggleston were both “first settlers” of Middletown, and had adjoining properties. All of the Egglestons, including Frederich, were descendants of Bygod Eggleston (c. 1586-1674) who settled in Windsor, CT in 1635.
50. Boyd, p. 330.
51. Boyd, p. 289. Also cited in Roberts, 1884: “Town of Chatham: Sketches of the Settlers,” in The History of Middlesex County, p. 215.
52. Boyd, p. 402-403.
53. Census of 1790, 1800, 1810, and 1820, Winchester, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
54. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=118569757. Accessed August 2014.
55. Hale, “Central Cemetery, Winsted,” p. 171.

56. Boyd, p.289; Roberts, p. 215.

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