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Friday, July 18, 2014

Gettysburg—A Sobering Experience


Battle of Gettysburg
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
In the fall of 2013 my sister Sandy, brother-in-law Pat, husband Doug, and I spent two days touring the museum and the battlefield at the Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  My husband and I first visited the museum and battlefield in 2008, but that visit was quite short and inadequate.  I, particularly, wanted to revisit the site since my 2nd great grandfather, Alexander Balus West, was wounded on July 3, 1863, during the battle of the third day. 

Eternal Light of Peace
We found our experience to be profoundly sad, sobering, and humbling.   Even though it has been almost a year since our visit, I want to share with my readers some information about the battle and some photographs regarding this experience.  I think that I, being perplexed and intimidated by the enormity and complexity of such a narrative, have postponed writing about the visit until now.
Our first day at Gettysburg was spent touring the museum with all of its photos, artifacts, exhibits, and video—so much to absorb and comprehend.  On the second day of our visit we toured the battlefield using a self-guided, auto tour.  The information that I am sharing in this blog is taken from our tour book, park museum brochures, and additional information from the Internet. In addition, I have included some of the beautiful photographs from Jen Goellnitz’s website, Draw the Sword, and have complied with her protocol for their use as described in her website.
THE ARMIES
 Virginia Memorial
Gen. Robert E. Lee
Representatives of Typical Soldiers
Gen. George G. Meade
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
The Union army was formerly known as the Army of the Potomac with George Gordon Meade as the Commanding General. It was later referred to as the United States Army (USA).  He had 95,000 troops and 356 cannons.  The Confederate army was first known as the Army of Northern Virginia and later called the Confederate States Army (CSA).  Robert Edward Lee was the Commanding General with 75,000 troops and 275 cannons.
THE BATTLE, DAY 1:  July 1, 1863
McPherson Farm
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
The Battle at Gettysburg, the largest battle of the Civil War, began when the first shot was fired by the Confederates at 7:30 a.m. on July 1 at McPherson Ridge near the McPherson barn with Union cavalry confronting Confederate infantry.  As more forces from both sides arrived, heavy fighting ensued along this ridge.  About 1 p.m., Confederate forces under Major General Robert E. Rhodes attacked threatening Union forces that were on McPherson Ridge and Oak Ridge.  Union forces were able to hold Oak Ridge until about 4:00 p.m. when they retreated through the town of Gettysburg to Cemetery Hill.  At the end of this first day of battle, the Confederate Army appeared to have the upper hand.  General Lee decided to continue the offensive the next day with his 70,000 men against General Meade’s 93,000 men. 
 
By evening the Union troops were entrenched on Culp’s Hill and Cemetery Hill on the south side of the town of Gettysburg. Union General George Greene, known as “Pop” Greene and the oldest general fighting at Gettysburg, ordered his men to build entrenchments on Culp’s Hill.  These entrenchments, made of earth, wood, and rock, contributed to the successful defense of the Union’s right flank on Culp’s Hill.  General George “Pop” Greene survived the war returning to work as an engineer and helped build the Central Park Reservoir in New York City.  A boulder from Culp’s Hill marks his grave in Rhode Island.
THE BATTLE, DAY 2:  July 2, 1863
Cemetery Ridge
Seminary Ridge (Wooded Area)
 
 
 
 
 
 
On the morning of July 2, battle lines were drawn about one mile apart on parallel ridges, Cemetery Ridge and Seminary Ridge.  Most of the Confederate troops were on Seminary Ridge with most of the Union troops on Cemetery Ridge. The Confederate troops were also stationed through the town of Gettysburg and north of Cemetery Hill and Culp’s Hill.  At that time, Union forces also occupied Culp’s Hill and south along Cemetery Ridge to the Round Tops. 
The Confederate soldiers were repulsed at Little Round Top by the Union forces.  Fighting continued throughout the day.  It was on Cemetery Hill that Colonel Isaac Avery of North Carolina, as he lay dying, penned a message to his father, “Major, Tell my father I died with my face to the enemy.”
Gen. James Longstreet
The Wheatfield
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org











About 4:30 in the afternoon, Confederate General James Longstreet, placing his First Corps of Confederate soldiers along Warfield Ridge, began his assault directing his forces against Union soldiers who were ensconced in areas known as Devils Den, the Wheatfield, and the Peach Orchard and against Meade’s undefended flank at the Round Tops.  By 6:30 p.m. Confederate forces occupied the Wheatfield with deaths in the Wheatfield numbering over 4,000 dead and wounded from both sides.  Battles raged at  the Peach Orchard and Plum Run.  Confederate forces secured the Peach Orchard as Union forces retreated to Cemetery Ridge.  Meade’s troops were alerted about the threat to Little Round Top and brought in reinforcements to shore up the forces there. 
 
Between 7:30 and 10:30 p.m., Confederate General Richard S. Ewell’s Second Corps attacked the Union troops at Culp’s Hill and East Cemetery Hill.   They were able to occupy the lower slopes of Culp’s Hill. 
Another interesting story is one about Wesley Culp who moved from his family farm at Gettysburg
Henry Culp Farm
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
 to Virginia.  However, when the war broke out he joined the Confederate Army in the Stonewall Brigade and returned to Gettysburg in July 1863.  He was killed on Culp’s Hill near his family’s farm.
The fighting at Devil’s Den, the Wheatfield, and the Peach Orchard was among the fiercest and bloodiest battles at Gettysburg.  During the humid, moonlight night after the the battle in the Wheatfield, it is said that the wounded who lay on the field were moaning, praying, and singing.  Confederate survivor, George Hillyer, wrote, “One of our soldiers began to sing.  Hundreds of wounded lay within easy hearing of the singer, whose fine voice echoed down the valley.”  Later, officer George Hillyer became a politician in Georgia and the mayor of Atlanta.
 
Devil's Den

The Peach Orchard
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org












At dusk, the Union forces repelled a Confederate assault that reached the top of East Cemetery Hill.
 THE BATTLE, DAY 3:  July 3, 1863
The Confederate soldiers controlled the lower portion of Culp’s Hill but were repelled at its summit on the evening of July 2.  However, between 4:30 and 11:30 a.m. on July 3, they again tried to gain control of the summit.  After seven hours of fighting, much of which was fierce hand-to-hand, the Union forces drove the Confederates back and held the position.
Daniel's Brigade
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
 
It was at Culp’s Hill on July 3 that my 2nd great grandfather, Alexander Balus West, was wounded.  He didn’t die at Gettysburg but was killed a year later at the Third Battle of Winchester.  During July and August of 1863, he was a patient in the Wayside Hospital (General Hospital No. 9) in Richmond, Virginia. He, also, may have spent part of those two months on sick leave recuperating at home from the injuries he received at Gettysburg. According to the information that I have obtained about him and the marker that is on the battlefield, he was in the Army of Northern Virginia, Ewell’s Corps, Rodes’ Division, Daniel’s Brigade, the 53rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment, and Company K.  Company K was from Wilkes, North Carolina.  A 3rd great uncle, Thomas C. Land, and the brother-in-law of Alexander Balus West, was a lieutenant in Company K.  Cousin Glenn Land says that the brigade of which the 53rd regiment was attached “actually fought on the opposite end of the line from where Pickett's Charge took place. They were some of the first Confederates that arrived on the field July 1st. They spent the entire first two days trying to secure the high ground known as Culp's Hill. By the 3rd day they were fought to a “frazzle.”
A couple of other events occurred on Day 3:  an artillery bombardment between 1 and 3 p.m. and a cavalry battle on East Cavalry Field between 1 and 4 p.m.
The Copse of Trees
Cemetery Ridge
However, the culminating battle occurred about 3 p.m. on July 3, 1863, when General Robert E. Lee ordered 13,000 Rebel soldiers to charge from their location on Seminary Ridge across a mile-wide open field and attack the Union center on Cemetery Ridge.  After a two-hour “cannonade,” 7,000 Union soldiers, who were situated near a clump of trees, known today as “the Copse of Trees,” repulsed a 12,000 to 13,000-man Confederate charge known as Pickett’s Charge.  Even though it has been given the name “Pickett’s Charge,” the divisions of Pickett, Pettigrew, and Trimble composed the group.  This event, called the High Water Mark, was the climactic moment of the battle.  It marked the beginning-of-the-end of the Battle of Gettysburg with General Lee and his army in retreat.  
Field of Pickett's Charge
Courtesy of Jen Goellnitz
http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
I assume that Confederate General James Longstreet was addressing General Robert E. Lee prior to the defeat of the Confederate troops at Cemetery Ridge on July 3 when General Longstreet made this statement, “General, I have been a soldier all my life…It is my opinion that no 15,000 men ever arrayed for battle can take that position.
North Carolina Memorial
Seminary Ridge
 
Robert E. Lee offered to resign his post as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia after Gettysburg, but Jefferson Davis refused to accept it.  George Meade was eventually relieved of his position by President Lincoln who appointed Ulysses Grant as commander.  However, Meade remained in the Union army.  The day after the surrender at Appomattox, Meade rode through the Confederate lines to meet Lee.  He saluted his former adversary, and Lee asked, “What are you doing with all that gray in your beard?”  Meade responded, “That you have a great deal to do with!"

North Carolina Soldiers
Seminary Ridge


 
Sources               
·      “Battle of Gettysburg,” http://www.historynet.com/battle-of-gettysburg
·        Boritt, Gabor, Stephen Lang, and Jake Boritt.  The Gettysburg Story, Battlefield Auto Tour. Right to Rise, Boritt Films, LLC, 2010.
·       “Gettysburg and Touring the Battlefield,” National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Gettysburg National Military Park, Pennsylvania, 2013.
·       Goellnitz, Jen.  http://www.drawthesword.goellnitz.org
 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

John West, Jr. – Was He My 6th Great Uncle?

During the last week of April of this year, my fourth cousin, Joanne, and I spent two days researching at the Old Tryon County Genealogical Society Library in Forest City, Rutherford County, North Carolina, and at the Broad River Genealogical Society Library in Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina.  What were we looking for? 

If you recall in an earlier post, “A Genealogist’s Progress,” on February 10, 2014, I described meeting a male West, whom I’ll call D. West, who descends from John West, Jr. (1732 Tryon, NC-1776) and his son Thomas West (1760 Lincoln, NC-1831 Rutherford, NC) who married Elizabeth Preston.  I met D. West at the Tipton Family Association Meeting in Burnsville, North Carolina, in October 2013.  In December 2013, D. West tested with FTDNA’s Family Finder test and found that he is a genetic match with my sister and me.  The only connection that we appear to have is through the West lineage.
My hunch was that D. West’s 5th great grandfather, John West, Jr. (b 1732), was the brother of my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West (b about 1730).  Land records from Orange County, North Carolina, reveal that a John West, Sr., a John West, Jr., and an Alexander West were involved together in land transactions in that area during the 1750s.  John West, Sr. deeded land to Alexander West and John West, Jr.  In addition, John West, Sr. sold land to Peter Anderson and his wife, Catherine.  Peter and Catherine’s daughter, Susanna Anderson, married Isaac West who may have also been a son of John West, Sr. and a brother of Alexander West and John West, Jr.
Therefore, I couldn’t wait for the long winter months of January, February, and March to end so that my husband and I could make a trip to the area which had previously been Tryon County.  This area just happened to be in Forest City, Rutherford County, North Carolina, where my cousin, Joanne, lives.  Many thanks to her husband, Bobby, for giving my husband, Doug, a grand tour of the area which included the site of the Battle of King’s Mountain.
What a great time Joanne and I had those two days searching for long-lost grandfathers!  However, I’m still not sure that we found the John West that we hoped to find.  Again, so many West men were named John!  But, how many different John Wests could have been in the areas of Orange, Tryon, and Lincoln counties in the 1720s to 1780s?  I think we may be on to something once we organize all of our data so that we can see patterns and draw conclusions.
In addition, D. West plans to take the Y-DNA test.  His results may place him in the West Family DNA Project and perhaps indicate a particular West Family Group to which he may belong.  This would be valuable information to help us with our search for our Alexander West and his parents.
Until some new information changes my opinions and “hunches,” I will continue down this research road expecting to find that my Alexander West (5th great grandfather) was the son of John West (senior) and his first wife, Mary Madden.

Eleanor, Oh, Eleanor Harbin Triplett


                Oh, Eleanor, what a strong woman you must have been and what courage you must have had.  You were born about 1730 in Virginia, and married William Triplett sometime before 1758 when your first child was born. You and your husband William Triplett had about 11 children, Micajah, Nimrod, Mason, William, Thomas, Francis, John, Priscilla, Verlinda (my 4th great grandmother), Nancy, and Jesse.  
                An on-line publication, “My Triplett Family,” indicates that Eleanor maintained the home front while her husband and sons were serving in the North Carolina militia during the Revolutionary War.  She continued their tradition on the farm of raising cattle, which became an important commodity when food became scarce during the war.  Her determination, fortitude, and courage were demonstrated when she contributed cattle to feed the troops in spite of any British retribution which may have befallen her.  In fact, according to the on-line article, she was compensated 982.10 pounds for providing beef to the soldiers.
                Family lore implies that Eleanor’s husband, William Triplett, and their two eldest sons, Micajah and Nimrod, died of the measles in 1782 in an army camp at Hanging Rock.  Did he die as family lore describes?  Pension papers filed by his son, William, indicate that the senior William may have died prior to 1780.  Data verified by the NSDAR also lead one to question whether he actually served in the militia.  Nevertheless, Eleanor is recognized for her patriotic service of providing supplies for the Revolutionary War.
                Both Eleanor Harbin Triplett and her husband, William Triplett, are identified by the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution as NSDAR Patriots.  Eleanor is identified as a patriot because of her patriotic service of furnishing supplies (food) for the cause.  William is recognized for his civil service of serving as a juror and road surveyor.  According to the NSDAR, William died about 1782 in Wilkes County, North Carolina.
Census records indicate that Eleanor apparently never remarried but remained the head of the household rearing her children on the family farm at Beaver Creek, Wilkes County, North Carolina.  She died sometime after 1830 in Wilkes County, North Carolina.
Eleanor, Oh, Eleanor Harbin Triplett, one of few females recognized as a Revolutionary War patriot, how proud your descendants are of you with such strength, fortitude, courage, and resolve!
Sources:
·        Abbott, Hortense Ethel. Tripping Down the Triplett Path: Descendants of the Triplett Families, 1982.
·        Genealogical Research System, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, http://services.dar.org/public/dar_research/search/?tab_id=0
·       “My Triplett Family,” http://home.earthlink.net/~bdvw/debsfamilyhistory/id1.html

               

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Small Pieces of the Puzzle Contribute to the Whole—Alexander West (c1730)


Some information that I recently found in a document sent to me by my 5th cousin, Howard Douglas “Doug” Land, Jr., was of great interest to me.  The article, entitled “A History of Alexander County, North Carolina,” was written by William E. White.  It was copied from a scrapbook owned by Mrs. Bynum D. Deal of Davidson, North Carolina.  Mr. White published the document in the Taylorsville Times in 1926.  As I read the document, my interest was immediately stirred by my paternal West family surnames of West and Carlton and by my maternal Hughes family surnames of Hughes and Honeycutt.

As I read further, I discovered notations about Alexander West, who, I assume, was my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West (born about 1730), and his son, Alexander West (born in 1751).  Before I address the information found in the article, I would like to revisit the historical and political events that were occurring during those turbulent years of the 1760s and 1770s.

Western North Carolina was experiencing corruption, tyrannical power, and excessive taxation at the hand of the Colonial government, namely that of provincial governor, William Tryon.  The events leading up to the rebellion began as early as 1765. Those living in the back country of Western North Carolina were “freeholders peacefully living in a frontier paradise.”  In 1766 due to the political unrest developing in the back county, the Sandy Creek Association, the first Regulator group, was organized. Political instability in the backcountry came to a head when Governor Tryon decided to build “his palace” in New Bern, for which large sums of money were appropriated by the colonial government.  To the Regulators, this proposed building represented the corruption of government that they believed existed.  Likewise, the Regulators were suspicious that the government was conspiring to take away their liberties, threaten their property, and restrict their rights as Englishmen.  As a result, additional Regulator organizations were established in Western North Carolina.  In 1768, Governor Tryon ordered them to disband, and militia units from coastal counties were sent to Orange County.

On May 16, 1771, the Regulators respectfully petitioned Governor Tryon to hear their grievances.  Tryon rejected their request, ordered them to lay down their arms, and gave them only one hour to meet his demands.  The Regulators were enraged, dared the governor to “fire and be damned,” and the battle of Alamance on Great Alamance Creek near Hillsborough, then known as the “capitol of the backwoods,” began.  The numbers of militia who were killed and wounded are debatable.  However, the Regulators sustained heavy causalities including several others who were hanged.  In 1775 with the Revolution underway, Governor Martin, with the King’s permission, granted full pardons to all of the Regulators with the exception of Herman Husband, the organizer of the first group.  This was done with hopes of enlisting support for the British cause.  The pardon, however, did not rally great support for the British cause.

The Regulator movement was centered in the counties of Anson, Dobbs, Halifax, Rowan, and Orange. Western North Carolinians wanted a new political system.  Even though it was squelched, the Regulator movement was a rehearsal for revolution and was clearly a forecast of the revolutionary events to come. 

My fifth great grandfather, Reverend George McNeil (1720-1805), was affiliated with the Sandy Creek Baptist Association.  In my blog post of August 30, 2012, I stated the following about Reverend George McNeil:

He was affiliated with the famous Sandy Creek Baptist Association which Shubal Stearns started with six local Baptist churches.  This organization was likely the same as the Sandy Creek Association, a precursor of the Regulator Movement that protested government oppression and abuse of funds.   After the battle between the Regulators and the English militia in 1771 in the outskirts of Hillsborough at Alamance Creek, Governor William Tryon assumed that the Baptists were Regulators and concentrated over 3,000 soldiers in their areas to harass and terrorize them.   In the letter of May 28, 1898, G. W. McNeil, Sr. states that “he [George McNiel] joined the Regulators and after the battle of Alamance and fled for safety into Virginia where he lived for a time in Grayson County.”

And now to my West ancestors…

As I have lamented so many times, I have reached a “brick wall” in my search for my fifth great grandfather, Alexander West, who was born about 1730.  Research indicates that he was associated with individuals who lived in Orange, Surry, and Wilkes Counties.   In Orange County I have found him connected with John West, Sr. and with John West, Jr., in 1752-1768 and in 1754 with William Mills and William Mills, Jr.  He is found in an early North Carolina census in 1755 in Orange County.   In Surry-Wilkes County in 1771-1777, he was mentioned with his son, Alexander West.   In 1778 in Wilkes County he or his son, Alexander West (1751-1834) was noted in association with William Triplett on the Yadkin River and James Tugman on Glady Branch, with John Ferguson, William Brown, and Daniel Johnson in 1779, with Isaac West and Bray Crisp on Glady Fork in 1782, and with Daniel Sutherlin on Glady Fork in 1784.

In the article, “A History of Alexander County, North Carolina,” the following statement was made about Alexander West who, I presume, was the Alexander West born about 1730:

“Also there is documentary evidence that Alexander West assisted in building houses in Hillsboro after it was laid off on the lands of the great surveyor, William Churton.”

In another section of the document, Alexander West,  who, again, I presume to be the Alexander West who was born about 1730, is described as “a refugee,” implying that he was one of the many who left the Hillsborough area of Orange County sometime prior to 1771 due to the tyranny of Governor Tryon.  This section is quoted below as follows:

Alexander West was another refugee; a large muscular man, of prodigious strength and physical powers and at the same time a man of excellent judg­ment and undoubted integrity. Nelson A. Powell, the historian of Caldwell County, leaves the record that Alexander West assisted in building the first houses in the town of Hillsboro. He first settled on lands between Barrett's Mountain and Lower Little River, but after the Revolutionary War, sold out there, and moved to lands on Upper Little River, in what is now Caldwell County. His descendants still live in Caldwell. It is told of him that he would not use dogs in the capture of game, but depended upon his complete knowledge of the habits of the wild animals and was entirely successful.”

A third reference to Alexander West concerned the establishment of an iron works by Andrew Baird sometime after 1788.  Baird was given a grant for 18,000 acres in Whittenburt Township of Alexander County.  Some tracks of land belonging to other individuals within those 18,000 acres were excepted from the grant.  However, a prior land grant to Alex West, which lay within Baird’s grant, was not “excepted.”  The reference to this Alexander West may have been the son of Alexander West born about 1732.

Other West relatives…

In addition to the Alexander Wests, two distant cousins were mentioned in the article.  Brothers, J. [James] Harvey West and Hiram West, who were my 2nd cousins 4 times removed, served at the Bethlehem Church in 1871.  Hiram West was the pastor from 1872 to August 1878.  H. [Hiram] West was listed as the pastor at Dover Baptist Church in what was then Burke County on April 9, 1864. J. H. [James Harvey] West served at Center Church from December 3, 1865 to the “5th Saturday” in January 1876.

Another relative…

Henry Carlton “of the Yadkin settlers from Virginia entered and located at the Hickory Knob in the pioneer days.  The Knob in its primeval condition was an ideal mountain home, but Henry drifted back to his old settlement and finally emigrated to the west.”  I assume that this Henry Carlton was the son of Thomas Carlton and Mary Land, my 4th great grandparents.

Even though these are “tidbits” of information, those small pieces add to the completion of the larger puzzle.  Thanks, Doug, for sharing this article and for all of the materials that you so graciously share.

Sources:
  • McNeil, George W., Sr. Personal Letter Describing His Grandfather, Reverend George McNiel, for a Memorial Booklet, May 28, 1898.
  • Mobley, Joe A., ed. The Way We Lived in North Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina Press, 2003.
  • Ready, Milton. The Tar Hill State, A History of North Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina, 2005.
  • White, William E., “A History of Alexander County, North Carolina,” Taylorsville Times, 1926.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A Genealogist’s Progress

Suddenly, it appears that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.  How long it will take me to reach the end of that tunnel, I do not know.  After all, genealogy is a journey back in time that requires time and patience.

Several recent events or discoveries have been encouraging.  First, as I have mentioned in other posts, my sister and I have matched many "cousins" genetically through Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder test, an autosomal test, which matches one with “cousins” from both sides of his/her family.  However, the authenticity of our matches as related to this post will depend on the identity of our 6th Great Grandfather West, something that still remains unproven.  It hinges on John West and Mary Madden being our 6th great grandparents. But, there’s hope!

In July, 2012, I matched genetically with a male “cousin” who may, also, descend from John West and Mary Madden.  Again, if the paper trail proves the “cousinship,” he and I are 7th cousins. 

In August, 2013, my sister and I matched significantly with a female “cousin” who descends from Phoebe West.  Phoebe West, the daughter of Isaac West and Susanna Anderson, may have been the granddaughter of John West and Mary Madden. My one concern about this match is that we also match this female cousin as 7th cousin 2R through the Triplett line.  If the paper trail works out with the John West/Mary Madden lineage, my sister and I are 7th cousins 2R with this cousin, also.  Could the significant match be attributed to the fact that we may match the cousin much closer with the Tripletts than we have discovered, or is it because we match her through two lineages, the Wests and Tripletts?

In October, 2013, my sister genetically matched a male “cousin” who descends from John West and his second wife, Eleanor Massey.  Again, if, indeed, John West is our 6th great grandfather, my sister and her male cousin are 6th cousins 1R.  This connection is based on better research and documentation.  Furthermore, no other lineages appear to be possibilities for their match.

The most significant match, however, occurred on January 27, 2014.  It is one that my sister and I have with a male “cousin” with the West surname.  Since I descend from the Tipton family, Doug and I attended the Tipton Family Association of America meeting in Burnsville, North Carolina, in October, 2013.  Unexpectedly, I met Mr. West who was attending the Tipton meeting with his wife, a Tipton descendant.  At the time we could not determine if we were related and decided to exchange information.  When I saw his West direct line, I immediately felt that his 5th great grandfather, John West, born in Tryon, North Carolina, in 1732, could be the brother of my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West, born about 1730. 

The best is yet to come!  Mr. West took FTDNA’s Family Finder test in December.  His results were reported on January 27, 2014.  And YES! He is a genetic match with my sister and me!  I couldn’t be happier.  Of course, we still don’t know the father of his John West.  He does not know the spouse of his John West.  On-line researchers believe that his John West served in the Revolutionary War and was likely killed in the battle at Moore’s Creek near Wilmington, NC, in February, 1776.  Mr. West descends through John West’s son, Thomas West and Thomas’ spouse, Elizabeth Preston.

Again, if we can prove that the parents of his John West and my Alexander West were John West and Mary Madden, Mr. West would be a 6th cousin 1R to my sister and me.  The genetic match between him and us is quite significant because no surnames other than West are evident in our lineages.  Also, the three of us match significantly on the 14th chromosome which indicates that we share a common ancestor.  My sister and I do not have any other matches “in-common” with Mr. West who match on the 14th chromosome in the same segment that we match with him.  I find the data extremely significant.  On the down-side, Mr. West is not an “in-common” match with my sister’s male “cousin” West match or with my female “cousin” and male “cousin” matches.  It would have been nice if the six of us matched on that 14th chromosome.

In addition, I’m excited that Mr. West plans to take one of the Y-DNA tests when they go on sale.  A Y-DNA test may connect him to other males who descend from the same male ancestor and place him in a West Family Group.

You know where I’m headed when the weather warms up – Rutherford County, NC, the county that was created from the western portion of Tryon in 1779 – to research John West, born in 1732, in Tryon County, North Carolina!