Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Apparently, many unrelated West families are found in North Carolina. However, many present-day individuals, who are paternally or maternally related to this line of Wests, remain in the Wilkes County and surrounding areas of North Carolina.
The story of this West family begins with the earliest ancestor known at this time, Alexander West I. He and his unknown spouse likely had the following sons: Alexander West II (1751 Orange County, NC-1834 Burke/Caldwell County, NC) and John West (about 1760 Orange County, NC-about 1800 South Carolina), possibly an Isaac West (born c1745-1770), and possibly a William West. In addition to these, other children may have been born to Alexander and his wife. Alexander West I appeared in the vicinity as early as 1752 in land records of Orange County where his sons were born, in 1778 in land records of Surry County (present Wilkes) on Glady Branch, and in 1787 in land records of Wilkes County on Glady Fork. By 1790 according to the census, he was apparently living with his son, Alexander West II, in Burke County (now Caldwell). References indicate that his father may have been a John West. Naming patterns practiced during these early years indicate the existence of ancestors with the names of John and Alexander in this West family.
Alexander West II married Hannah Langley and had six children: Bethias Beulah, Margaret, Alexander III, Elizabeth, Thomas Jefferson, and Mary. Having served in the Revolutionary War and being approved for a war pension, Alexander West II and his wife and children are well documented in the research. However, his parents are not referenced in these documents. Many researchers often confuse these three Alexander Wests.
John West married Margaret “Peggy” Witherspoon and had three children: John Balus, Melinda, and another daughter (name unknown). Other than the date of his marriage to Peggy, very little is known about John West. After their marriage, they apparently moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina, to South Carolina where he died sometime after the three children were born. Census records indicate that Peggy returned to Wilkes County with the three young children.
John Balus West married Mary Ann “Polly” Swanson. They had nine children: Franklin W., Margaret “Peggy,” Alexander Balus, John Witherspoon, William Thomas Jefferson, Melinda “Linda,” Elizabeth, Mary Ann, and Lucy. John Balus and Mary Ann lived their lives on their farm in the Stony Forks-Mt. Zion community of Wilkes County.
Alexander Balus West married Nancy Land. Their only child was a son, Thomas Harvey West. Alexander Balus was killed in action fighting with the Confederate Army at Winchester, Virginia, in 1864. Nancy Land West continued to live in the Stony Forks-Mt. Zion community near her family, the William Thomas Land family, until she moved with her son and his family to Banner Elk, North Carolina about 1902.
Thomas Harvey West married America Ann McNeil. They had thirteen children: Nannie Lou, A. Judson, Martha Alice, Milton McNeil, Rosa Belle, William Charles [Sr.], Sallie Jane, Robert Leonard [Sr.], Ethel Elizabeth, Willard A., Flora Annie, Guy Harvey, and Viola N. Two of the children (A. Judson and Willard A.) died at young ages and were buried in the Stony Forks-Mt. Zion community of Wilkes County. The Thomas Harvey West's family, along with his mother, Nancy, moved to Banner Elk, North Carolina, about 1902.
William Charles West [Sr.] married Ada Beatrice McQueen and settled in Johnson City, Tennessee. They had three children: William Charles [Jr.], Alzenia Helen, and Christine “Jack.”
William Charles West [Jr.] married Ruth Stella Hughes and had two daughters. They lived in Kingsport, Tennessee, most of their lives.
The children of the descendants of these families are numerous and are spread all across the United States with, at least one, living in another country.
Presently, my greatest challenge is to discover more about Alexander West I, who was the progenitor of this immense family, and his son John West. Without further information, I cannot proceed any farther back in time with this genealogy. I solicit the support of other members of this family who may have specific knowledge about these two men and their spouses. Most of the information that I have obtained about Alexander West, I and his son, John West, is from oral family history which has been recorded and published by two individuals, John Foster West in 1976 and Irene Hendrix Basey in 1982. Surely, someone, somewhere, has information about these two men.