Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who is Thomas West, Sr. (abt. 1718-1808) of North Carolina?

Looking for the family of Thomas West, Sr. who:
died in Chatham Co., NC in 1808

Yesterday I posted a blog "The 1876 Journal of James W. Crewdson" that I made an additional comment about us searching the surrounding counties of NC that the Thomas West, Sr. (b. bef. 1718 - d. 1808 Chatham Co., NC) family lived to attempt to identify all of the West families in hopes to put together a better, clearer profile of questions we have of this branch of the family DNA group #5.  What follows is some background and some of the counties surrounding Thomas in both NC & Virginia [thanks, Joy for pointing out that Virginia bordered many of the NC counties listed -JGW]

We are looking for any documentation of any and all West families in NC & those of the border counties of VA during the period of about 1735 thru 1770.  We have discovered quite a few men named West in the same county as Thomas lived, but most have not been sorted out as to who they are.  Anyone interested in working on this research project is more than welcome.  Any findings sent to us will be posted here and on our web site.

The West family history begins with Thomas West, Sr. born about 1718 or earlier, place of birth is unknown. The first record of this Thomas West is [since then I have found 2 deeds listed with the deeds I submitted with this category for 4 Mar 1754 and 5 Mar 1754] the muster roll of a regiment of militia under the command of Colonel William Eaton on 8 Oct 1754. Under Capt. Benjamin Simm's Company is listed Thomas West. Under Captain Andrew Hampton's Company is listed Francis West (relation to Thomas is unknown). This latter two muster rolls were endorsed by Col. Wm. Eaton on 6 Dec. 1754 Granville Co., NC (Source: "Colonial Granville County and Its People" by Worth S. Ray, Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1979, p.294. As shown in the North Carolina State Records, Vol. 22, Pp.370-380.). He was a land owner by 1755, as evidenced by the listing of "Thomas West and son, Richard," both taxable on the 1755 tax list of Granville Co., NC. [The land that was being taxed included (there could be other unknown lands) the 350 acres bought on 5 Mar 1754 from Lodowick Alford in Granville Co. formerly in Edgecombe Co., NC on the east side of Bear Swamp.]

From the Earl of Granville, by his agent Thomas Child, "Thomas West, planter of Granville Co." received a land grant of 386 acres, dated 29 Jul 1761. This grant was in Granville Co. on "Cyprus Swamp," adjoining Brinkley and Simmons (DB A, p. 316). Bute County was formed in 1764 from Granville Co. and included this land. "Thomas West of Orange Co." sold this land on 1 Dec 1766 to Samuel Eley of Bute Co., "386 acres in Bute Co. on the Cypress Swamp, a Lord Granville Grant of 29 Jul 1761" (DB B-1, p. 347). These deeds show that Thomas West moved from land that was formerly in Edgecombe Co., NC on Bear Swamp to land that was on Cypress Swamp (formerly in Granville, then Bute, and today in Warren Co., NC) and then into Orange Co. by 1766 (a distance of perhaps 70 miles from Cypress Swamp).  Later Thomas West, Sr. and family moved to the adjoining county of Chatham by 1774.  JGW

The following is a list of counties that were formed (organized) around the counties Thomas West, Sr. lived during that time:

Virginia Counties -
1720  Brunswick
1746  Lunenburg from Brunswick
1752  Halifax from Lunenburg
1764  Mecklenburg from Lunenburg
1766  Pittsylvania from Halifax
1776  Henry from Pittsylvania

North Carolina Counties -
1741  Edgecombe from Bertie + North Hampton from Bertie
1746  Granville from Edgecombe
1752  Orange from Bladen, Granville & Johnston
1758  Halifax from Edgecombe
1764  Bute from Granville
1770  Chatham from Orange + Guilford from Rowan & Orange
1779  Bute (discontinued) divided into Warren & Franklin

At one time I had strongly thought that Thomas West, Sr. was a part of the West family that lived in Edgecombe & Bertie Counties of NC back to 1724.  But Ben West and others have led me to believe that he comes from the area around Stafford & Louisa Counties of Virginia.  But we have not been able to prove the VA connection.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for listing the changing counties along the border of NC/VA. At one time I was stuck on Louisa County, VA, trying to get a geographic fix in relation to Granville County, North Carolina--why people would have moved so far in a short time-span, over difficult terrain. After all, Louisa County, Stafford County, and Orange County in VA are not anywhere close to Granville County, NC.

    Over the years I have relaxed my "coloring within the lines" approach. From data from the 1750s, we know that FG#5 Wests were in Stafford County, VA. And, we know FG#5 Wests were in Granville County, NC. Since Thomas West (b.1718) was in the NC militia during the French and Indian Wars (as you cited, 1754), he has an alibi for not being in Virginia!

    So my theory at this time is that we are talking about two different West families with similar names--related by DNA but in different geographic locations. Perhaps there is a common ancestor in the Colonies in the mid-1600s. John West of Stafford County, VA (b. say early 1700s) is close in age to Thomas West who lived in Granville County, NC.

    Do they have the same father? Hmmm, my genealogical brain says "no". Did they have the same grandfather? Maybe. Was the common ancestor in VA or NC? I would guess VA, but even more likely, England.