Tuesday, October 28, 2014

David West, Jr. (1761-ca 1855)

Wests from Middlesex County, Connecticut:
David West, Jr. (1761-ca 1855)

Compiled by Joy Ikelman, October 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 were descendants of Thomas West (1630/1631-1720) of Essex County, Massachusetts. This is the fourth of six articles about FG#5 Wests from Middlesex County, Connecticut. David West, Jr. lived most of his life in New York City.

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) m. Unknown
                        - Aaron West (1763-1840) m. Susannah Kellogg
                        - Judah West (1765-1825) m. Mary Todd

Three Revolutionary War Patriots
David, Aaron, and Judah West were brothers who served in the Revolutionary War. They were the sons of David West (Sr.) and Judith Hills West. Their combined service spans from 1776 to 1783—nearly the entire war. Their Revolutionary War pension applications are a rich source of information on historical events and also their personal lives. Each of the three articles on these brothers includes a brief biography, references, and a transcript of the pension application. 

The Life of David West, Jr.
Birth Date. According to the Vital Records of Chatham, Middlesex County, Connecticut, David West, Jr. was born on 18 Feb 1761. [2] At the time, this was in Hartford County. Middlesex County was not established until 1785. David probably grew up on his family’s land in what is today called East Hampton, Middlesex County, CT (south of Lake Pocotopaug). [3]

As he got older, nobody, not even David himself, could figure out his birth year. In his Revolutionary War pension application [4], he states (sworn testimony) that he is 66 years old. That would make his birth year about 1754. Census Records in the 1850s list his age as 90 or greater, for a birth year between 1755-1759. It was not unusual to be unsure of your birth date during that time.

Revolutionary War Service. “Respectfully showeth that the said David West enlisted as a Soldier in the Year 1776 in the Brigade commanded by General Putnam.” David West was 15 years old at the time. The draft age was 16. We can only imagine the reaction of his parents, David and Judith West. This was their oldest son. There were seven more children at home. War meant sacrifice. Aaron West, an uncle who David, Jr. had never met, died in the French and Indian Wars. [5]

During 1776 the militia of Connecticut were subjected to five heavy drafts, and in the August of that year all the outstanding militia of the State west of the Connecticut River, were ordered to march to New York City. Instead of the question, who went from Middletown that year? The proper inquiry would be, who did not go? [6]

The patriotic fervor was high in Middletown. 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 gives an amazing statistic for Middletown, CT.  In 1776, there were “538 Middletown men on the militia rolls and 202 men in the Continental Army—that is, 790 out of the 947 town men between the ages of 20 and 70.” [7] These numbers do not include young men under 20 years old!

David West, Jr. enlisted again in 1777 when he was 16. In 1778, he enlisted for three years and received a “town bounty.” [8] Each town or district in the Middletown region gave an incentive, usually monetary, for enlistment. The soldier could do with this as they wished; many gave it to their families.

David West was a soldier in the Third Regiment of the Connecticut Line. [9] In his deposition, he mentions General Washington, the treason of Benedict Arnold, and the hanging of Major Andre. West’s base camp was at the site of today’s West Point Military Academy, New York. He participated in the “fortifying of the west point of the Hudson” under Captain Louis de la Radiere, the chief engineer. Between 1776 and 1780, David West participated in these battles: [10]

Battle of Long Island, NY, 27 Aug 1776
Skirmish at Verplanck’s Point, NY, 1 Jun 1779
Battle of Stony Point, NY, 16 July 1779
The Staten Island Expedition, NY, 14-15 Jan 1780
Battle of Connecticut Farms, NJ, 7 Jun 1780
Battle of Springfield, NJ, 23 Jun 1780

Here is an interesting detail.  In 1778 he “marched to Fishkill [NY] put in the Hospital to have the small pox, after my recovery joined my Reg. at West Point.” It is not clear from these words if he had small pox, or if he was inoculated and spent a period of time recovering.  General Washington had ordered the inoculation of all troops in 1777. [11]

West was honorably discharged in Spring of 1781 “by Major Warner my late captain & counter’d sign’d by Genl Washington. Returned to Middletown my native place.” Right away, Captain David Starr of Middletown made him a Sergeant. West trained new recruits and marched them from West Point to Danbury (CT) to Fishkill (NY)and back again. Aaron West, his younger brother, might have been one of the new recruits.

David and Aaron West Served Together. David and Aaron served together under Captain David Starr of Middletown. [12] Their pension applications have slightly different viewpoints of the same military actions. They gave their depositions in different States at different times. Both were discharged in January 1782. Aaron enlisted for three more months beginning in May 1782. [13]

In the summer of 1782, Aaron became ill, and was confined to the hospital at West Point. Aaron’s term of service expired while he was there. Aaron stated in his pension application “that his brother took him from the hospital and carried him to Quaker Hill in the Nine Partners where he lay some time before he was able to go home.” A family tradition passed down through the Aaron West line says that “Daniel” was this brother. There was no Daniel in this family at this time. It was David who took him to Quaker Hill, NY.

Living in New York City. David West was about 21 years old when he was discharged from service in the Revolutionary War. In 1783, his parents and siblings moved to Winsted, Litchfield County, CT. [14] It is possible that David moved there also—I found no evidence to prove this.

Eventually David West moved to New York County, NY, which today is New York City. Based on information from the New York Census of 1855, he came to the State in about 1800. [15] During the 1810 Census, he lived in New York Ward 10. [16] He lived with a female in his age group (45 and older), three males age 16 to 25, a female age 10 to 15, and one other person. The 1820 Census shows that he was living in New York Ward 8 with three other people—one female in his age group, and a female and male both ages 26 to 44. [17]

His pension application of 1820 indicated that he was married. He has step-children. The first name of his wife is unreadable. David was about 60 years old, although he swore in court that he was 66. He says his father is still alive and about 90 years old. This would be David West, Sr. who was about 84 years old in 1820. [18] His mother, Judith Hill West, died in 1816. [19]

He testifies that he has two brothers who were in the Revolutionary War that he has not seen for 30 years. This would be Aaron West, who was living in Orwell, Oswego County, NY and Judah West, who was living in Winsted (Winchester), Litchfield County, CT.

I have no trade but have pressed Horns for Comb Makers for a Living but owing to Rheumatis pains cannot follow it at present. I have no other Occupation except as above mentioned and I am unable to support myself without the assistance of my Country or by private or public Charity. I have no personal estate or income except as above mentioned and I have no real estate whatever.

Horn smithing required strength, accuracy, and craftsmanship. An animal horn (usually cattle) would be flattened by a wedge press or screw press. A comb maker would create daily-use combs and also fancy ornamental combs for women’s hair styles. Special hand tools were used for crafting these decorative pieces. [20] David West received training in Connecticut, Massachusetts, or New York. It is likely that the place he worked at was a small shop, rather than a factory.

Later Years.  At the age of 60, David’s pension application was approved. He was granted $8 per month—equivalent to about $163 per month today. [21]

I could not find any census records for him in 1830 or 1840. In the 1850 Census, David West is listed as age 95, born in Connecticut. He was actually 89 years old based on the record of his birth (1761). He is living in Ward 16, Enumeration District (E.D.) 2, New York City in a boarding house. He has real estate valued at about $2,000. [22]

In the New York State Census of 1855, David West is living in the same boarding house. [23] It is identified as a “brick building.” This is in Ward 16, E.D. 3 in Manhattan. [24] David West is listed as age 96, born in Connecticut. He was actually 94 years old, based on the record of his birth (1761). He is listed as a boarder and a pensioner. He is marked as “widowed.” The box is checked for “owner of land.”

This is the last known record of David West, Jr. He outlived his brother Aaron by 15 years, and his brother Judah by 30 years.

Two Families Linked by DNA
In 1782 (during the war), David West took his sick brother Aaron from West Point to Quaker Hill, Pawling Township, Dutchess County, NY. Another West DNA FG#5 family was living close by—the family of another David West. Did the brothers know the other West family?

At first I thought that Aaron had stayed in the Oblong (Quaker) meeting house. It had been converted to a hospital in late 1778. However, it was only used for a few months, and then it became a meeting house again. [25] David took Aaron to Quaker Hill during the summer of 1782—three years later. Did they stay at the other family’s home?

The other David West—David West of Dutchess County, NY—was added to West DNA Family Group #5 in 2007. [26] He was born in Pawling in 1758. [27] He married Susannah Hoag. Five sons were born in Dutchess County from 1781 to 1791. [28] I have not yet been able to link these families!

References and Additional Notes
1. West DNA Family Group #5 results are at http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG5.
2. 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).
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. David West, Private (and Sergeant), Connecticut Line, 1776-1781. Pension certificate No. 16773, City of New York, 24 Dec 1819 and 1 Jul 1820. File No. S43275, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Digital images on HeritageQuest.com. Accessed November 2013.
5. Connecticut Historical Society, 1903: “Campaign of 1757,” Collections of the Connecticut Historical Society, Volume IX, The Society, Hartford, Connecticut, p. 185-187.
6. Henry Whittemore, “Middletown in the Revolution,” in The History of Middlesex County, Connecticut, with Biographical Sketches of Its Prominent Men, J.H. Beers and Company, New York, p. 80.
7. 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 researched Albert E. Van Dusen, 1950: Middletown and The American Revolution, Rockfall Corporation and the Middlesex Historical Society, 35 pages; plus other sources.
8. Connecticut Historical Society, 1909: “Town Bounties, 1777-1779,” Lists and Returns of Connecticut Men in the Revolution, 1775-1783, Hartford, Connecticut, p. 65. “David West, Jr.” is listed under the town of Chatham.
9. Henry P. Johnston, editor, 1889: “Regiments, Connecticut Line, 1777-1781,” The Record of Connecticut Men in the Military and Naval Service during the War of the Revolution, 1775-1783, The Adjutant-General of Connecticut, Hartford, CT, p. 179. The record shows David West of Warner’s Company: enlisted 23 Feb 1778 for three years; discharged 27 Jan 1781.
10. Battles. See David West’s Revolutionary War pension application. Basic information can be found at the following reliable sites. All accessed October 2014.
Battle of Long Island, NY
Skirmish at Verplank’s Point and Battle of Stony Point
        The skirmish preceded the main battle at Stony Point.
Staten Island Expedition
        There were 500 sleds carrying about 3,000 men over the frozen river.
Battle at Connecticut Farms, NJ
Battle of Springfield, NJ
11. To read about small pox and the Revolutionary War, go to:
Accessed October 2014.
12. Johnston, “Col. Canfield’s Militia Regiment at West Point, Sept, 1781,” p. 582. The Captain is listed as “Capt. William Starr” of Middletown. The line should read “Capt. David Starr.”
13. Aaron West, Private, Connecticut Line, 1779-1782. Pension certificate No. 19607, Orwell, Oswego County, New York, 24 September 1832. Susanna West (Widow’s Application) File No. W19607, 7 December 1840. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Digital images on HeritageQuest.com. Accessed November 2013.
14. 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. 215.
15. Census of the State of New York for 1855, 9 Jun 1855, New York State Archives, Albany, New York. Database online at Ancestry.com. David West had been in New York for 55 years.
16. Census of 1810, New York City, County of New York, State of New York. Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
17. Census of 1820, New York City, County of New York, State of New York. Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
18. Boyd, p. 215.
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. Mary Musser, 1978: “Massachusetts Horn Smiths: A Century of Combmaking, 1775-1875,” Old-Time New England, Volume 68, Number 251, p. 59-68. The article is on-line at the Historic New England Web site, http://www.historicnewengland.org/. Accessed October 2014.
21. The inflation calculator that I used was at http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php.
22. Census of 1850, New York City, New York County, State of New York, 30 July 1850. Records of the Bureau of the Census, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
23. Census of the State of New York for 1855.
24. New York City 1855 Enumeration District Boundaries, New York Public Library. Transcribed by R.K. Brown; online at http:// http://bklyn-genealogy-info.stevemorse.org/Ward/1855.St.ward.html. Accessed October 2014. The boundaries of E.D. 3 were 20th St to 8th Ave to 23rd St and the western boundary was the Hudson River.
25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblong_Friends_Meeting_House. Accessed October 2014.
26. West DNA Family Group #5 results are at http://web.utk.edu/~corn/westdna/west5.htm#FG5. Notes on the results say, “It appears likely that W66 and W113 are from the same branch of this family that either immigrated to the New England area, or moved there from the Virginia area before 1750. W66 and W113 have values of 30 for the marker DYS 389-2, while everyone else in this group have values of 29.”
27. Josephine C. Frost, compiler, 1910: “Members of Hartland Monthly Meeting, Niagara County, New York, Residing at Alba, Genesee County, New York,” Quaker Records, Hartland Monthly, Niagara Co., NY, p. 4.
28. I have not done my own research on this family yet. However, a good starting point is Lorelle VanFossen’s David West Descendants at http://family.cameraontheroad.com/family-names/david-west-descendants/. Accessed October 2014.

David West’s Revolutionary War Pension Application
Pension certificate 16,773. A brief deposition was signed on 24 Dec 1819. A longer deposition was presented on 1 July 1820. Transcription by Joy Ikelman. Original spelling and grammar are retained. A blank space means the handwriting could not be deciphered.

First form, 24 Dec 1819. Official court form, printed. Handwriting is from the county clerk or his representative.
 . . . The Declaration under oath of David West, formerly a soldier engaged in the Service of the United States, during the Revolutionary War, and now a Citizen of the United States, and a resident of the city of New York.

Respectfully showeth that the said David West enlisted as a Soldier in the Year 1776 in a Regiment in the Brigade commanded by General Putnam. That in the year 1779 the said David West again enlisted as a soldier in the Company  commanded by Captain Robert Warner in the Regiment commanded by Colonel Samuel Willis in the Connecticut line on the Continental establishment for three years and served until sometime in the year 1781 & received an honorable discharge which is now lost. And the said David West afterward enlisted again in the Company commanded by Captain David Starr in a Regiment commanded he thinks by Colonel ___ and served therein nine months as a Sergeant and was employed in drilling new recruits.

And this Declaration further representeth that the said David West is now a Citizen of the United States, and residing in the city of New York aforesaid, and is by reason of his reduced circumstances in life, in need of assistance from the country for support . . . And in support of the facts above, he refers to the deposition hereto annex. [signature of David West]

City & County of New York ss. David West being duly sworn says, that the matters by him set forth in the foregoing Declaration are in all respects just and true. [signature of David West] Sworn before me, the 24 day of Dec 1819. [Signature of R.A. Jay]

Second form, 1 July 1820. Official court form, printed. Handwriting is from the county clerk or his representative.
In the Court of Common Pleas, called the Mayor’s Court of the City of New York, held at the City Hall . . . be it remembered, that on the first day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and twenty . . . David West aged Sixty-six years, resided in New York who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath declare that served in the revolutionary war as follows:

In 1776 I volunteer’d and went to New Haven lay there 3 Months and continually in scouting parties for said parties, then was dismissed at Middletown.

In 1777 enlisted in Middletown under Captain Fitch marched to Norwalk in scouting parties from place to place and Sea board and at Black Rock in skirmishes with parties to plunder & was then discharged at Norwalk.

In 1778 in the spring enlisted for 3 years by Lieut Hulbert in Captain Warner’s Company in Col. Willis’s Reg. & General Parsons Brigade, was then marched to Fishkill put in the Hospital to have the small pox, after my recovery joined my Reg. at West Point and worked on the Forts under Col. La Radiere, the Engineer. At the close of the Campaign marched to Redding to Winter Quarters. I was detached and sent to Norwalk (was in the winter) was in different skirmishes with the British & Tories. General Putnam their commander in chief of that part of the Army.

In 1779 in opening the Campaign, joined my Reg. & marched to White Plains, Joined the grand Army, under Genl. Washington. Was detached and sent with Genl. Washington as a reconnoitering party back at Verplanck Point, previous to storming Stony Point, had a skirmish by a party who sallied out while the fort was pitching Bombs & elevated Shot among us. Lay in Robinson’s house opposite West Point when Genl. Arnold deserted. Was detached to the point to mount Cannon which Arnold had dismounted was detached to Albany & all the river from the point upward to collect all the flat bottomed boats & bring them to West Point.

Then our line marched to Jersey near Tappan when Major Andre was hanged then in the _____ Camp at Short Hills in 1779 & 1780 was in an expedition under Lord Sterling to Staten Island where we took a Quantity military stores and provisions.

In June 1780 was in 2 actions under Genl Maxell at Connecticut Farms and Springfield against the British under Genl Kuphausen—at the end of the campaign 1780 marched to Constitution Island opposite West Point to Winter Quarters.

In the Spring of 1781 was honorably discharged by Major Warner my late captain & counter’d sign’d by Genl Washington. Returned to Middletown my native place, on my return Captn David Starr gave me a Sergant warrant to raise a Company of new Levies, and when company was compleat, gave me the Command and orders to march to West Point, and at Danbury received 18 prisoners and lodged them in Fishkill provost marched to West Point joined the Company in Col. Hulls reg. The rest of this campaign was drilling New Levies & _____ Fort Putnam.

And that his original declaration is dated the twenty fourth day of December one thousand eight hundred and nineteen and that his pension certificate is No. 16,773.

Printed form, second page.  Two different handwriting styles. West’s name is signed by the clerk.
. . . I have not, nor has any person in trust for me, any property or securities, contracts of debts, due to me; nor have I any income other than what is contained in the schedule hereto annexed, and by me subscribed, to wit:
Necessary Clothing.
An aged Father near 90 years old who was in the old French War and who took an active part in the Revolutionary War. 
Two Brothers who were in the Revolutionary War who enlisted during the war, have not heard from any for 30 years.
I have no children. My wife named ______ who lives with my step children and is about 65 years of age.
I have no trade but have pressed Horns for Comb Makers for a Living but owing to Rheumatis pains cannot follow it at present. I have no other Occupation except as above mentioned and I am unable to support myself without the assistance of my Country or by private or public Charity. I have no personal estate or income except as above mentioned and I have no real estate whatever.
David West
Sworn in the open Court this first day of July 1820

Benjamin Ferris Clk

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