Tuesday, February 28, 2012
In Pursuit of Edy
Oh, Edy, are you REALLY my 4th great aunt – the daughter of Alexander West I?
For the past few days, I have been chasing someone named Edith Fowler who may have been one of the daughters of Alexander West I, and a sister of my 4th great grandfather, John West. This Internet chase has led me down many roads of message boards and family trees that are published, not in Ancestry.com, but on the Internet. Even though I have been aware for quite some time that Edy Fowler may have been one of Alexander’s daughters, I didn’t place much credence in the possibility. However, recently, I have found information that appears to be credible. Also, with so many references now appearing on line about Edith “Edy” West Fowler, one begins to place some reliability in them.
Please remember that the story that unfolds is speculation in that I have not documented the data. Supposedly, Edith West, born about 1761, was the daughter of my Alexander West I. Even though many on-line family researchers indicated that her mother was Sarah Hawkins, the data do not support those notions. My Alexander West I was born between 1720 and 1730 and likely died after 1790 but before 1800. Sarah Hawkins, who was, indeed, married to an Alexander West, was born in 1773 and died in 1839. She was married to another Alexander West. Remember, I have indicated that many Alexander Wests lived during these time frames. Sarah Hawkins married Alexander West (1776-1860) who was the son of Solomon West (1726-1830) and Isabella Boyd. At this point in my research, I have no clue as to who the wife of my Alexander West may have been.
I believe that my Alexander West was a brother of Solomon West. Solomon West has been linked in family lore to my Alexander, and he named one of his sons, Alexander (the one who married Sarah Hawkins). Naming patterns indicate that families had a tendency to name their offspring after their fathers, grandparents, brothers, and sisters. Who knows? Perhaps, one day I will discover that a connection with the Solomon West family does exist!
Let’s continue with the story. Edith West married Archibald “Archie” Fowler about 1799. Confusion exists concerning the names of their children. Supposedly, they had eleven children which included three sets of twins: Jesse “Jessify” Fowler, Mary Fowler, John Wesley Fowler, Leah Fowler, Rachael (aka Jessify) Fowler, Lavina “Vina” Fowler, Louisa Fowler, Lucy (Luna?) Fowler, West I. Fowler, Lovey Fowler, and Alexander W. Fowler. Louise and Lucy (Luna?) were twins who married twin brothers, Edmund and Tilman S. Miller. Mary and John Wesley were twins, and Leah and Rachael were twins. Rachael may have had the nickname “Jessify” as opposed to another daughter being named Jesse “Jessify.” Lovey may have been Lucy’s daughter, Lovey Ann Miller, rather than Lucy’s sister. As I have mentioned, a great amount of confusion abounds regarding the names and spouses of these offsprings.
Interestingly, Edy and Archie named a son West and one Alexander! Another son was given the middle name of Westley. Did Edy give two of her sons her maiden name (West) and one the name of her father (Alexander)? Also, their daughter Rachael, who married John J. Pike, named one of her sons Balus. Is it possible that she named him for her first cousin, John Balus West, or did she name him for John Baylis Earle,[i] who was a prominent figure at that time in Greenville, South Carolina?
Also, West I. Fowler, who married Margaret Hall, named one of his sons Alexander, continuing the pattern of naming children after relatives.
Archibald “Archie” Fowler died in Greenville District, South Carolina, in 1839. Edith “Edy” West Fowler passed away on July 19, 1855 in Benton County, Alabama. Presumably, she was living with her daughter Rachael Fowler Pike in Benton County at the time of her death.
Much of the information that I have provided has been documented by census, land, court, and probate records and church minutes which were researched and reported by others. When information from different sources conflicted, I have selected the information that appeared the most often or appeared to be the most likely. Therefore, I solicit any information and corrections that others may have concerning this family.
However, I do want to emphasize that no documentation supports Sarah Hawkins as being the wife of Alexander West I. In fact, the opposite is true. She was born in 1773, which was a number of years after the births of three of Alexander’s children: 22 years after the birth of Alexander West II in 1751, 13 years after the birth of John West in 1760, and 14 years after the birth of Edith “Edy” West in 1761. Therefore, she could not have been the mother of these children.
By following this Fowler family, I am searching for clues which may help me identify my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West I and his spouse.
[i] For additional information about a trend that was in vogue in the Greenville area at that time of naming infants after John Baylis Earle, please see blog posting, “The West Patriarchs: 3rd in a Series, John Balus West,” September 1, 2011.