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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back to the Drawing Board—John West and Mary Madden Revisited

Sometimes one needs to go back and retrace his steps and revisit an earlier analysis, observation, or decision.  That’s what I am doing.  I am going back to the possibility that John West and Mary Madden were the parents of my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West I.
For quite some time, the preponderance of my data or, as some prefer to define it, the circumstantial evidence indicates that they were likely his parents.  First, let’s review my data relating to John West, the hypothetical father, and Alexander West, his hypothetical son.
·        John West was born about 1707.  Some writers suggest that he was born in Virginia. 
·        Alexander West (born between 1720 and 1730, died after 1790) was my 5th great grandfather.  For purposes of differentiating him from the myriad other Alexander Wests, I have labeled him Alexander West I. 
·        According to my data and based on land and tax records and the birth years of the sons of Alexander West I, he was probably born between 1720 and 1730.  His sons were Alexander West II (born 1751, Orange County, NC) and John West (born about 1760, Orange County, NC).
·        In 1752 (entry of land) and 1754 (survey of land), William Mills had 216 acres of land surveyed on Stoney Creek, waters of Haw River [Orange County, NC] in November 1754.  This land was noted as joining that of John West.  Alexander West and William Mills, Jr. were the chain carriers for the survey.
·        Between 1752 and 1768, a John West, Sr. sold 100 acres of land in Orange County, NC, to Alexander West [Alexander West I]. [This entry in which “senior” is mentioned indicates that another John West existed.]
·        In 1755, Alexander West was listed in the North Carolina Census, 1790-1890, as living in Orange County, NC.
·        In 1775, Allexander West and Allexander West 2 were listed in the Surry County and Wilkes County, NC, Taxables, Vol. 1, 1771-1777.  His son Alexander West II would have been about 24 years old and would have been included in the tax records.  Alexander West II married Hannah Langley in 1777 in Orange County, NC.
·        Between 1778 and 1781 Alexander West was living in Wilkes County on or near the Yadkin River near William Triplett’s 160 acres.  It is impossible to determine if this Alexander was Alexander West I or Alexander West II.
·        In 1778 in a land entry book, James Tugman’s name was marked out and Alexander West’s name was written in place of it.  This entry was for 50 acres on the south side of Glady Branch in Wilkes County, NC.  Again, it is impossible to determine if this Alexander was Alexander West I or Alexander West II.
·        In 1779, a land entry for Alexander West for 100 acres on the north side of a branch that ran through John “Farbusons” [Ferguson] plantation had the names of Alex West, Wm. Brown and Daniel Johnson marked out.  John “Farguson” [Ferguson] was written in.   This record cites evidence of Alexander West’s presence in Wilkes County in 1779.  It is impossible to determine if this Alexander was Alexander West I or Alexander West II.
·        In 1784, Wilkes County, NC, land records indicated that Daniel Sutherlin received a 50 acres grant on “Glady Fork…Alexander West corner.” It is impossible to determine if this Alexander was Alexander West I or Alexander West II.
·        In 1787 Alexander West received 50 acres on both sides of Glady Fork. Isaac West and Bray Crisp were the chain carriers. It is impossible to determine if this Alexander was Alexander West I or Alexander West II.
·        North Carolina Tax Lists indicate that in 1782 Alexander West owned 30 acres in Wilkes County, and in 1805 Alexander West owned 200 acres in Burke County [present Caldwell].  It is impossible to determine which of these Alexanders was Alexander West I or Alexander West II.
·       The 1790 Census, Burke [present Caldwell], North Carolina, listed Alex West Senior in a household with 1 FWM under 16, 2 FWM over 16, 6 FWF for a total of 9 household members.  [This household was likely that of Alexander West II.  By this time, Alexander West II had a young son named Alexander West whom, for the sake of clarity, I have named Alexander West III.  Alexander West III married Patience L. Allen in 1804.  Let’s go a bit further with this line – Alexander West III and Patience L. Allen had a grandson named Alexander West (son of Ananias West and Abigail Lawes Crouch) who was born in 1844 and married Sarah Jane Brazeal.]
·       As previously noted, naming patterns often provide clues to familial relationships.  My 4th great grandfather, John West, may have received his name from his grandfather John West, Sr. or from his uncle John West, Jr.  The name John was also given to John’s son, John Balus West, my 3rd great grandfather.  Of course, the name Alexander was also given to my 2nd great grandfather, Alexander Balus West.
·        In addition, an Alexander West is given as the father of Edith “Edy” West who married Archibald Fowler.  Edy was born about 1772.  I find it quite interesting that some of her sons were named West I. Fowler, John Wesley Fowler, and Alexander W. Fowler.  Of her grandchildren, the following names are evident: Alexander Fowler, John W. Pike, and Balus M. Pike.  Balus was the name given to my 3rd gr grandfather, John Balus West, who would have been a 1st cousin 1R of Balus M. Pike.  I do not have proof that Edith “Edy” West was the daughter of my Alexander West.
·       One of my on-line connections, Tom, who descends from Bray Crisp, believes that Bray Crisp married one of the daughters of Alexander West I. His information cites Bray Crisp’s wife as “Miss” West.  You may recall from information provided above that Bray Crisp and Isaac West were chain carriers for the survey of land purchased in 1787 on Glady Fork, Wilkes County, NC, by Alexander West.  Sometime later, Bray Crisp is found in South Carolina.
Several years ago, while researching at the North Carolina State Library and Archives, I found Blodwen West Boyle’s unpublished manuscript, Isaac West’s Family of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Dickson County, Tennessee, 1745-1814, printed in 1974.  I was quite fascinated by her work, believing that it was the answer to my dilemma.  Even though it did not prove that my Alexander West was a son of John West and Mary Madden, the document gave credence to my belief that he was their son and the brother of Isaac West.
In her document, Mrs. Boyle described Isaac West, whom she believed to be her ancestor and the son of John West and Mary Madden.  According to Mrs. Boyle’s documents, Isaac West was born about 1745 and married Susanna Anderson in 1769 in Orange County, North Carolina.  My 4th great grandfather John West (born about 1760) and his brother Alexander West (born about 1751) were born in Orange County, North Carolina.  Isaac West and Susanna Anderson had a daughter, Phoebe West, who married Isaac Green.
Another interesting fact that I discovered in Mrs. Boyle’s document is that one of Isaac Green and Susanna Anderson’s grandsons was named Madden West, presumably after his great grandmother, Mary Madden.      
I recently learned of a Family Tree DNA, Family Finder, match that my sister, Sandy, and I have with Debbra whose 6th great grandmother was Phoebe West, wife of Isaac Green!  However, since my sister and I match this individual also through the Triplett lineage, it is difficult to know if our Family Finder match is through both lines or just through the Triplett line.
Another recent occurrence was the discovery of a published family history linking my Alexander West to John West and Mary Madden.  One of my blog readers, Ginger, sharing her West information with me, told me about the published genealogy, Relatives of the Browns of Mill Springs, Kentucky, Including the Fisher, Gaar, Gholson, Hutchison, Weaver and West Families, by James E. Brown and Margaret Brown Altendahl, published in 1992.  The compilers of this family history stated that John West (born about 1707) and Mary Madden were the parents of Solomon (born about 1726) who married Isabella Boyd, Mary Boyd(?), and Martha Norton; John West (born about 1728); Alexander West (born about 1728); an unidentified female (born about 1734) who married John Collins; an unidentified female (born about 1738) who married an unidentified Cole; Mary West (born about 1742) who married Hezekiah Collins; Isaac West (born about 1745), who married Susanna Anderson, daughter of Peter and Catherine Lynam Anderson; and Eleanor “Nellie” West (born about 1748) who married Alexander Barnhill.  Additionally, these compilers indicated that William and Thomas may have been two other sons.  Again, this published family history supports my theory that my Alexander West was the son of John West and Mary Madden.
However, the most revealing and confirming revelation came on October 29, 2013, in a response to an email that I sent a couple of weeks ago to one of my sister’s DNA matches, Tom.  Tom’s sister, Jane, shared the following West information that she had received from a recently deceased cousin. 
·        John West (born 1691 in Prince William County, Virginia, died in 1780 in Richmond County, Georgia) and Mary Madden were married in 1724 in Orange County, North Carolina, and had four children:  Solomon, b 1725; Alexander, b 1730; Isaac, b 1745; and Eleanor, b 1747.
·        After Mary’s death John West married Eleanor Massey in 1752 in Orange County, North Carolina, with whom he had the following children:  Daniel, Jacob, John Massey, Lucy, and James.  James had sons named Ephriam and Francis.
·       Jane and Tom descend from James’ son, Ephriam West.  Whereas, my sister and I descend from Alexander’s son, John.  Alexander and James, having different mothers, were half-brothers.
I knew that many of the Wests, including my 4th great grandparents, John West and Margaret “Peggy” Witherspoon, the Isaac West family, and, possibly, for a short time, the family of Alexander West II, moved to South Carolina.  Jane indicated that most of the West ancestors descending from Eleanor Massey West moved to Georgia.  Only from the family history published by Brown and Altendahl did I first learn that Alexander West I may have migrated to Georgia, also.
Of the two of us, my sister, Sandy, is a DNA match with Tom; I am not a genetic match with him.  A significant fact about this genetic match between Sandy and Tom is the West connection Sandy shares with Tom is the only connection that we can confirm with the paper trail, indicating that the genetic connection with John West is likely a valid one.
In addition, Jane indicated that the source of her information, a recently deceased cousin, was sound.  Apparently, her cousin met a physician with whom he was a DNA match.  The physician-cousin, who descended from James’ son Francis, hired a “top gun” genealogist to determine the parentage of Francis West.  The information that Jane shared with me was obtained by that genealogist.
As I try to piece all of this information together, I believe, based on my research, that, in addition, to the four children listed by Jane, John West and Mary Madden had four other children: John West, Jr., born about 1728 in Orange County, North Carolina; Mary West, born in 1742 in Orange County, North Carolina, who married Hezekiah Collins; and another daughter who married a Cole.
Many thanks to Ginger, Debbra, Jane, and Tom for sharing their valuable and significant information.
Whew!  At long last, the pieces of the puzzle are beginning to come together!