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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Resurgence of Edy

A while back, I thought I had put Edy to rest. However, she has reappeared, and I am happy about that!
As many of you recall from my blog of March 10, 2015, that I created a Facebook site named the Descendants of Alexander West, born c1730.  It is a closed group which is open only to those descending from Alexander or from his presumed father, John West.  Recently, I was pleased to add a member to the group who descends from my Alexander and his presumed daughter, Edith “Edy” West, who married Archibald Fowler.

I have previously written two posts about Edy: “In Pursuit of Edy,” posted February 28, 2012, and “Finding Edy,” posted January 12, 2013.  And now, here’s another one!
I am very thankful to my blog reader, Anne, who descends from Edy and Archibald through their daughter, Luna “Lucy” Fowler who married Tilmon Miller.  Anne provided some information from Mrs. Allie Everhart-Miller, who published Everhart-Miller and Allied Families, in 1931.  In her book Mrs. Allie Everhart-Miller indicated that Edy’s father was Alexander West, Jr.  She also stated that his father, Alexander West, Sr., was thought to have come from North Carolina.  She also stated that Alexander West, Jr. had five children—Edith, Phoebe, Polly, Isaac, and William.

However, when Mrs. Everhart-Miller published her book in 1931, she must not have been aware that quite a few Alexander Wests existed:

·        Alexander West, b c1730 and unknown spouse; the presumed son of John West and Mary Madden

·        Alexander West, 1751-1834, who married Hannah Langley; son of Alexander West born c1730

·        Alexander West, 1783-1864, who married Patience L. Allen; son of Alexander West and Hannah Langley

·        Alexander West, 1776-1860, who married Sarah Hawkins (1773-1839); son of Solomon West and Isabella Boyd. Solomon is the presumed son of John West and Mary Madden and the brother of Alexander West, born c1730.

·        Alexander Balus West, 1828-1864, who married Nancy Land; the great grandson of Alexander West, born c1730.

·        Alexander West, 1844-1919, who married Sarah Jane Brazeal; the grandson of Alexander West and Patience L. Allen.

·        Alexander T. West, 1892-1917, unknown spouse; the 3rd great grandson of Alexander West, born c1730.
Another aspect that must be considered is Edy’s birth year.  She was born about 1772 and married about 1790.  Her spouse, Archibald Fowler, was born about 1758.  Their first child was born in 1791.  Furthermore, she would have been too old to have been the daughter of the Alexanders born in 1776, 1783, 1828, 1844, and 1892.

Based on her birth year, she could have feasibly been the daughter of Alexander West, born in 1751, who was the son of Alexander West, born c1730.  However, this Alexander married Hannah Langley in 1777 and has a well-documented Revolutionary War pension file naming his children—Bethian Beulah West, Margaret West, Alexander West, Elizabeth West, Thomas Jefferson West, and Mary West.  These children were born between 1779 and 1791.  Edith “Edy” is not listed as one of his children in his pension documents.  In reality, she was most likely the sister of Alexander West, born in 1751.
Mrs. Everhart-Miller stated that Edy’ father, Alexander, had, in addition to Edith, children named Phoebe, Polly, Isaac, and William.  I cannot place these children with any of the Alexander Wests that I have previously listed.  Alexander West, born c1730, may have had a son named William who died in 1812, but this is definitely speculation.  The only Phoebe West, about whom I’m aware, was the daughter of Isaac West and Susanna Anderson. Their daughter, Phoebe, was born in 1770 and died in 1868.  She married Isaac Green in 1795.  Isaac West and Susanna Anderson also had a son named Isaac (1776-1864) who married Hanna Russell.  Isaac was a very common name among the early Wests and may have been a name that was passed down with respectful recognition of Isaac West, the presumed brother of Alexander and Solomon. 
I tend to think that Mrs. Everhart-Miller’s information about the children is incorrect and that she has not correctly identified the Alexander who was the father of Edith.  Again, we must remember that much more information is presently available to us than would have been available to her when she was conducting her research. According to, Mrs. Everhart-Miller conducted her research for her book between 1923 and 1931.
Therefore, I conclude with a greater degree of confidence that Edith “Edy” West was the daughter of Alexander West, born about 1730.  Perhaps, we have found our Edy!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Stony Fork Report

For a birthday present, I opted for a trip to Wilkes County, North Carolina. We started out at 7:30 the morning of June 10 for the 2 ½ hour drive to Wilkesboro, North Carolina.  My focus for this research trip was on the Tripletts and Fergusons.  I was, also, happy to find some West information along the way. After spending about 4 hours searching through deeds and wills in the Wilkes County Court House, we made our way to Stony Fork.
Mt. Zion Adventist
Church Cemetery
Needless to say, the beauty and serenity of the area remains the same. Our first stop was at the cemetery often called the Triplett Cemetery but was apparently known as the Mt. Zion Adventist Church Cemetery where Franklin West and his wife Cynthia Holder are buried.  Franklin was the brother of my 2nd great grandfather, Alexander Balus West.  I hoped to find the graves of my 3rd great grandparents, John Balus West and Mary Ann Swanson in this cemetery.  Since his son and daughter-in-law, Franklin and Cynthia Holder West, are buried there, it seemed logical that I would.   However, I could not find a marker with their names among the many small, unmarked fieldstones.  I still believe that John Balus and Mary Ann are buried near Franklin and Cynthia beneath one of those unmarked fieldstones.  Thus far, the location of their burial is unknown.
While we were meandering among the tombstones and fieldstones, a lovely, sweet lady, Marie, came from her home, which is behind the cemetery, and talked with us.  I gained significant information from Marie. 
Marie and her husband, who died in the 1970s, purchased the property and built their home on it at some earlier time.  Since the cemetery is on the front part of her property, she later purchased it from a man named Jordan who told her the land where they both lived had been Carlton property.
Possibly the Old Carlton Home
The Carltons were my ancestors.  Charlotte “Lottie” Carlton (b 1814) and Braxton Barlow (1812-1880) were my 3rd great grandparents. Charlotte’s parents, Thomas Carlton (1756-1844) and Catherine Livingston (1778-1837), were my 4th great grandparents.   At this point in time, I don’t know which Carlton family would have been the last owner of the property and the family from whom the man named Jordan purchased it.  However, this information confirms the fact that the Carltons lived “down the road” east of the Land and West families.
Marie said that the church, the Mt. Zion Adventist Church, had burned years ago, and the congregation moved “down the road.”  The building had stood in front of where her home is located.  When my cousin, Joanne, and I were there a few years ago, we speculated that it may have been in the clearing to the left of Marie’s house.  Marie indicated that baptisms occurred, as Joanne and I surmised, in the creek which is on the property.   Marie said that Mt. Zion Baptist Church on Mt. Zion Road, currently maintains the cemetery.
According to Marie, at one time a now-deceased resident of the community knew who was buried beneath every tombstone, including those unmarked fieldstones.  Unfortunately, he never made a record of these graves before he died.  How sad.
Marie told the story of the death of a Charlie Albert West who is buried in the cemetery.  This event happened in 1920 before she moved to the property.  Charlie, who was about 15 at the time, was going hunting with one of the Carlton sons.  As Charlie was coming across the field on the Carlton property to meet him, the Carlton boy mistook him for an animal and accidently shot and killed Charlie.  The tombstone indicates that Charlie was the son of M. L. West and V. A. West.
We greatly enjoyed meeting and talking with Marie.  She said that many people come from “all over” to visit the well-kept cemetery.  I asked if I could take her picture, but she declined indicating that she was not presentable.  She had a bucket of pea shells that she was taking across the road to give to the cattle, who, she said, really enjoyed them.
Mt. Zion Baptist Church
and Cemetery
After our pleasant visit with Marie, we drove west “on down the road” to the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery where we spent some time revisiting those graves.  Not many of my ancestors or relatives are buried there. 
While at this cemetery, we had the opportunity to talk with Chris who was spraying weeds in the church parking lot.  Chris recalled that the George Wellborn family had lived in the house that we believe to be the old West home.  He said that the house burned sometime in the 1960s.  Again, his memories reinforce the idea that the location of this home across from the old Mt. Zion Post Office was where my great grandparents, Thomas Harvey West and America Ann McNeil, lived for many years prior to their removal to Banner Elk about 1902 or 1903.  Also, I think that the home may have been that of Alexander Balus West and Nancy Land, my 2nd great grandparents.  Alexander Balus West was killed in the Third Battle of Winchester of the Civil War, in 1864.  Nancy Land West lived with Thomas Harvey and America McNeil West and moved with them to Banner Elk were she died in 1903.
When we came to the Thomas Land Family plot, which is on the property owned by the Mingo Tribal
Thomas Land Family Plot
Preservation Trust, we found the cemetery to be in no better condition and possibly worse condition than it had been in 2011.  The weeds are so high and thick that it would be impossible for anyone to enter it and find tombstones.  The split-rail fence continues to deteriorate and fall.  Likewise, the Tuscarora Ranch does not appear to be operational.  I was amused that the few cattle that were in the barn came out to inspect “their intruders” and lined up in a row in their corral staring at us as we got into our car to leave.  Even though the grounds and fields were well-maintained, the ranch appears to be mostly abandoned and in disrepair with much of the fencing deteriorating and in need of paint. 
View of Tuscarora Ranch
I continue to have concerns about the future of this small plot of graves.  I certainly hope that it will not be bull-dozed and obliterated.  In order to try to guarantee its preservation, in September 2012, I registered it with the North Carolina Cemetery Survey Project which is part of the North Carolina Division of Archives and History.  In March 2012, I received acknowledgement from an archivist at the North Carolina State Archives indicating that my information about the Thomas Land Family Cemetery has become part of the permanent records of the North Carolina Cemetery Survey Project.  In addition, George and Joyce McNeil recorded this grave in 1989 when the heirs of G. W. Wellborn owned the land.  The McNeils, who rendered an outstanding service with their cemetery transcriptions, later published them. Copies are located in the Wilkes Community College Library and in other genealogical libraries.
Even though it was the day before my actual birthday, I did something that I love to do—visit courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries!  What a great day!
(You may double click on the photos to enlarge them. Also, a preview pane of all of them will appear at the bottom of the screen. You may select from the preview pane the one/s you wish to enlarge.)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Facebook Group: Descendants of Alexander West, b c1730

Hello Blog Readers,

I have created a Facebook group, Descendants of Alexander West, b c 1730, for those of us who descend from him to engage in dialogue about our common ancestor, Alexander West.  If you descend from Alexander West, we would like to have you join our group.  Also, if you descend from John West (c1691-c1780) and Mary Madden (c1704-aft 1748), who MAY have been the parents of our Alexander, or if you descend from John West and his second wife, Eleanor Massey (1738-1831), we welcome your participation.  Solomon West (1726-1830) who married Isabella Boyd (1735-1785) and Isaac West (1745-1814) who married Susanna Anderson (1747-1810) MAY have been sons of John West and Mary Madden and brothers of our Alexander.
By working together, perhaps, we can solve some of the mysteries surrounding our early ancestors and establish cyber relationships with new cousins.
If you wish to join the Facebook group, please go to the site and request an invitation.  If the site will allow you to do so, please identify your earliest known common male West ancestor when you request membership in the group.
I look forward to seeing many of you on the West Descendants Facebook page! 
Facebook Link to West Descendants of Alexander West, b c1730:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A.B. West’s Last Day, the Third Battle of Winchester

Entrance to the Battlefield
Little did Alex West know when the bugle sounded the wake-up call on September 19, 1864, that this would be his last day on Earth. The day was likely a warm summer day in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia near the city of Winchester.  Company K of Bryan Grimes’ Brigade of Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes’ Division was camped somewhere in the outskirts of the city of Winchester.

The Third Batty of Winchester is known as the Battle of Opequon.  Opequon is an unincorporated community along Opequon Creek in Frederick County, Virginia.  It is located on Cedar Creek Grade (VA 622) at Miller Road (VA 620) and is also known as Kernstown, Virginia.

The battle, which was fought on September 19, 1864, was the bloodiest battle ever fought in the Shenandoah Valley.  Union Gen. Sheridan lost 12 percent of his army with about 5,000 of his 39,000 soldiers killed, wounded, and missing.  Confederate Gen. Early suffered approximately 3,600 casualties casualties which represented 25 percent of his army.

Company K of the 53rd North Carolina Regiment, known as “the Wilkes boys,” was part of Lee’s Army of Virginia, which was part of Lt. Gen. Jubal A. Early’s Army of the Valley.  Early’s Army of the Valley consisted of many seasoned veterans from Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, and Virginia.  Company K of the 53rd North Carolina Infantry Regiment (the Wilkes Boys) was also part part of Maj. Gen. Robert E. Rodes’ Division and part of Brigadier Gen. Bryan Grimes’ Brigade (formerly the deceased Brigadier Gen. Junius Daniel’s Brigade). 

Confederate officer, Lt. Gen. Early, had an estimated 12,000 soldiers.  His counterpart, Union officer, Maj. Gen. Phillip Sheridan, had about 40,000.  Both armies had sufficient ammunition, but the Union forces had more cannons, more horses, and more artillerymen.

Red Bud Run
On that fateful morning of September 19, reveille sounded in the Confederate Army camp at 1 a.m.  By 4:30 a.m., Sheridan’s forces were advancing.  At daybreak the first shot was fired when General Ramseur’s North Carolinians fired on Captain Hull’s New York Cavalry.

Heavy fighting took place that day in areas known as the West Woods, the First Woods, the Second Woods, the Middle Field, and Red Bud Run.  A Union soldier commented that the battle at Middle Field “was perfectly terrible but the forces in our front gave way.”  The battle ended at sundown when the divisions of Ramseur, Rodes, and Gordon fell back to positions near Winchester.  Maj. Gen. Rodes was killed that day.  By nightfall the Union Army had taken the city of Winchester.  

Many who died on this historic this day were buried where they fell in battle.  Such was likely the fate of my second great grandfather, Alexander Balus West.

In October 2104, my sister, brother-in-law, husband, and I spent a day on the battleground of the Third Battle of Winchester.  Unlike Gettysburg, the battlefield is not resplendent with monuments and statues.  It is peaceful, serene, and non-commercial in nature.  It has a rustic, natural beauty with an appropriate number of signs to mark locations.  Many of the paths are unpaved, and cars not are allowed on the battlefield.

Vicinity of the West Woods
Like our visit to Gettysburg, this visit was also moving.  I’ve always wanted to see where my 2nd great grandfather died.  As I walked over the hallowed grounds, I tried to imagine where he might have fallen, mortally wounded.  I know that he was part of Rodes’ Division, Grimes’ Brigade, the 2nd Battalion, and the 53rd Regiment (North Carolina Infantry).   Maps of the Battle of Winchester that may be found on the Internet indicate that Grimes’ Brigade in Rodes’ Division was on the southern flank near what is now US Interstate 81.  Most of the heavy fighting occurred that day in the Middle Field, the Second Woods, West Woods, and Red Bud Run.  His brigade was apparently located in that southern part of the battlefield labeled West Woods.  In retreat they moved westward toward Winchester.  I can only assume that he was killed on that southern-most part of the battlefield and possibly during the retreat to Winchester.  In fact the location of his death and burial may presently be located under what is now Interstate 81.  
Much of the battlefield at Winchester has been significantly degraded or destroyed by expanding urban development in and around Winchester.  I found it quite sad that the likely area in which my second great grandfather died and was buried may now be covered by that urban sprawl and the interstate highway.  
Preservation Marker
Residential and business development and highway construction continue to pose threats to the preservation of the original battlefield.  The Civil War Trust has preserved 222 acres of the 567-acre battlefield.  In 2009, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation along with the Civil War Trust and the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, and the Shenandoah Valley Civil War Foundation purchased 209 acres of additional land.  The Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation worked toward the restoration of the battlefield for the 150th Anniversary of the battle in September 2014.
Since I was able to be there and walk the battlefield, I left the battlefield with some degree of satisfaction. However, I am still left with a desire to know where he was buried, but I am certain that desire will remain unfulfilled.   
SEPTEMBER 19, 1864
                                      Red:                      Confederate Lines
                                      Brown:                 Confederate Retreat Lines
                                      Blue:                     Union Lines

                                                      Clip on the maps to enlarge them.

SEPTEMBER 19, 1864

Grimes Brigade as part of Rodes’ Division retreated to the west and then southwest toward what is now US Interstate 81 and Winchester.  The brigade may have been in any of the areas marked with the red lines.


·        Battle of Third Winchester Summary & Facts (See featured articles.):

·        Civil War Trust, Saving America’s Civil War Battlefields, “The Battle of Third Winchester,”

·        Grimes Biography from the Dictionary of North Carolina:

·        Maps of Third Winchester, Virginia (1864), CWPT Third Winchester Battlefield Tour Map,

·        Third Battle of Winchester – Wikipedia:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Isaac West, A Reply to Kellea

This post is in response to the comment on February 18, 2015, that Kellea made on my post, “Small Pieces of the Puzzle Contribute to the Whole—Alexander West (c1730),” dated May 1, 2014.

Kellea indicated that she believes that the daughter of Isaac West, Phereby West, who married James Reece, was her ancestor.  According to Kellea’s comment, Phereby West and James Reece were married in Lincoln County, North Carolina, for which a record may be found in  James died in 1837 in Todd County, Kentucky, and named Phereby in his will.  According to the 1860 Mortality Schedule, Phereby died in Humphreys County, Tennessee.

Since I wanted to share some of my research with Kellea regarding the Isaac West who may have been my 6th great uncle, I indicated that I would provide my comments in a new blog post.  Therefore, I am providing my response in this post.

Even though, I have never encountered him in my research, I have no doubt that Kellea is correct regarding her Isaac West and his daughter, Phereby.   However, as I have conducted research on the West family and the possibility that Isaac (1745-1814) and my Alexander West were brothers, I’ve found numerous Isaac Wests.  I do not believe that Kellea’s Isaac West is the same one who may have been the brother of my Alexander West.  

The Isaac West whom I believe to be my 6th great uncle (1745-1814) was married to Susanna Anderson.  He did have a daughter named Phoebe West (1770 SC-1868 Greenville, SC) who married Isaac Green (1762 Tryon, NC-1831 Greenville, SC).  I have researched in the Old Tryon Genealogical Society Library in Forest City, Rutherford County, North Carolina, attempting to find evidence of the John West who may have been the brother of my Alexander and also the brother of Isaac.

In the Old Tryon County Genealogical Society Library, in April 2014, I found an Isaac West who was in court records and land transaction records in Tryon County, North Carolina, in 1771, 1778, and 1779.   Tryon was divided into Lincoln and Rutherford Counties in 1779. An Isaac West is found in Lincoln (which may have been the same area in Tryon prior to the division of the county) in 1789, 1790, 1792, 1795, and 1797.  I was never able to determine who this or these Isaac Wests were.  They could have been the same man or different men by the name of Isaac West.  Since Killea’s ancestors, Phereby West and James Reece, were married in Lincoln County, North Carolina, one of these Isaac Wests could have been the father of Phereby.

The Isaac West who married Susanna Anderson was born in Orange County and had lived there and in Wilkes County, North Carolina.  He moved from North Carolina to South Carolina prior to the birth of their first child who was born in 1768.  The following children were born in South Carolina: Catherine, b 1768; Nancy, b c1769; Phoebe, 1770-1868; Susan, 1773-1841; Solomon, d 1864; Isaac, 1776-1864; John, 1776-a1827; Abner, c 1780-p1833; Robert Anderson, 1790-1856; Elizabeth, c1794-a1840; Sarah; and Mary.

A South Carolina deed of sale documents that an Isaac West purchased land on Richmond Creek in Newberry District, South Carolina, in 1778. In 1804 an Isaac West sold land in Newberry District, South Carolina, to his son-in-law, Isaac Green, who was the husband of his daughter, Phoebe West. The sale/deed was witnessed by Isaac’s son, John West, and Samuel Walker, who was John’s father-in-law.  John West was married to Sarah Walker.  After the sale of his property, Isaac and Susanna Anderson West moved to Dickson and Williamson Counties in Tennessee.   His wife Susanna died in 1810 in Dickson County, Tennessee.  After her death, he married a person known only by the name of Mary and had one child, George Washington West.  Isaac died in 1814 in either Dickson County, Tennessee, or in Shawneetown, Gallatin County, Illinois, where he was visiting. 
Green Plot and Tombstone
Isaac Green and Wife, Phoebe West
White Oak Baptist Church
Greenville, SC
Courtesy Find a Grave
Isaac and Susanna Anderson West’s daughter, Phoebe West and her husband Isaac Green are buried in the White Oak Baptist Church Cemetery in Greenville, South Carolina.

In an 1859 issue of De Bow’s Review, an article was published about Isaac West and his daughter, Phoebe.  The article describes Isaac as being an active participator in the Revolutionary War and living about one mile from King’s Mountain where that famous battle took place.  The article also describes Phoebe witnessing a tory strike her father on the head with a sword in their home.  I have not seen this article which circulates in family trees on the Internet and cannot substantiate it.  (De Bow’s Review, Volume XXVII, 1859, pp. 692-693)


It All Hinges on John West and Mary Madden!

Yes, it all hinges on John West and Mary Madden being the most recent common ancestor of Kevin and me.  In order to protect his privacy, Kevin’s last name will not be used.

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while know that I am searching for the parents of my 5th great grandfather, Alexander West, who was born about 1730.  The preponderance of circumstantial evidence indicates that Alexander’s parents were John West and Mary Madden with his brothers being Solomon West, who married Isabella Boyd, and Isaac West, who married Susanna Anderson.

Recently, Kevin found this blog and contacted me regarding his ancestors, Isaac West and Susanna Anderson.  Of course I was most excited to communicate with Kevin, who graciously sent me information regarding his direct line from Isaac West and Susanna Anderson.  In addition, he provided additional information regarding the letter by E. C. Page that I published in my post of Dec. 3, 2014.

Kevin indicated that he, too, believes, but cannot prove, that John West and Mary Madden were the parents of his Isaac West who married Susanna Anderson.  It’s great to find someone else who shares my opinions, albeit, questionable!

Regarding my post of December 2, 2014, “A Transcription of ‘A History of the West Family as far Back to 1665,’” Kevin stated that some of the information in the letter is erroneous since some of the dates do not make sense.

Kevin provided me with a copy and transcription of the cover letter that accompanied that 1905 history of the West family.  The cover letter was addressed to Mrs. Sattie Smith and signed “Your Aunt E. C. Page.”   She wrote it on April 28, 1905, from Attala County, Mississippi.  Sattie was the nickname for Sarah Ann West who was the wife of Thomas White Smith.  Obviously, E. C. Page was her aunt.  However, Kevin does not know who E. C. Page may have been.  Sarah Ann “Sattie” was the great granddaughter of Isaac West and Susanna Anderson.

If, indeed, John West and Mary Madden are the common ancestors that Kevin and I share, we are 6th cousins once removed.  Thanks, Kevin, for contacting me and sharing information with me.  I hope that by working together we may find documentation to prove that John West and Mary Madden were the parents of Alexander, Isaac, and Solomon, and possibly a John.