West families of bladen county, nc 1734-1850

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  Searches for the place of birth, parentage and siblings of James E. WEST1began in Bladen County, NC after having found reference to James E., William and Gibson WEST2 in the West Genealogy Notes of Letta Brock STONE3. Ms. STONE wrote in her Notes that Gibson, James and William WEST were born Bladen Co., NC and were the sons of James WEST of Bladen4. While additional research has proved James, Gibson and William WEST were not brothers and were not sons of James of Bladen, the extensive research by this writer of the few extant Bladen County records for the time period of interest, has resulted in an accumulation of information on most WEST folks of early5 Bladen. The purpose of this paper is to pass on to other WEST researchers that accumulated information as well as to briefly discuss6 the parentage of James E. WEST, Gibson and William WEST and the little known of their lives in North Carolina.


The search of Bladen County, NC records7 began with census records, which were obtained and studied; marriage records were searched; land records were obtained and studied; wills were searched and the only Bladen County WEST will found was that of William N. WEST8.


Anna Jane Thomas WEST, widow of William WEST9, not to be confused with William N. WEST, filed for pension based on the military service of William during the War of 181210. Among the military records of William WEST were found affidavits that described the relationships of James E. WEST to both Gibson and William WEST; the names of the wives of both Gibson and William WEST; the places of enlistment and discharge for both men in the War of 1812; the dates and places of both marriage and death for William WEST


One of the most surprising pieces of information found among the military records of William WEST was that James E. WEST was not a brother to Gibson and William WEST. He was their nephew, son of the elder brother of Gibson and William11. While the elder brother was not named in those military papers, the family composition was a most valuable piece of information as it provided a starting point for searching Bladen census as well as other Bladen records. The Bladen County search for two WEST men, William and Gibson, born respectively ca 1790 and 1792 as well as an un-named brother born prior to 1790, was begun. That search led to Duplin County, the probable birthplace of both Gibson and William, and the man believed to have been their elder brother, Samuel WEST. During the searches of both Bladen and Duplin Counties, NC, genealogical and historical records, a large amount of WEST family information was discovered. Some of that accumulated information will be described herein. Additional information on the WEST families of Duplin County, NC will be included in the proposed WEST book and will also appear on-line.


The earliest record found of a WEST living in Bladen County was that of Peter WEST who owned land about 173512 in Bladen County along the NE side of the NW River. At this time a family connection of this Peter to James WEST of Bladen and his descendants has not been proved, if, in fact, any connection exists. Peter’s land was patented 1735 and James WEST, the progenitor13, was born ca 1725. The first proved land14 owned by James, the progenitor, was located W side of South, or Black, River. The last record found of James, the progenitor, was 179815, when he deeded an Anson Co., NC land grant to Elmore CARTER. The ages of James’ children span the years ca 1748-ca 1780; therefore James may have been married more than once. No wife has been identified. His place of interment remains unknown.

James WEST of Bladen and his father, James WEST the progenitor, were on Bladen tax list of 176916. In order to have been on the tax list, James, Jr. was at least 21 years of age. Thos. BEDSOLE was also on the tax list as a member of the James WEST household. J.D. BEDSOLE17, lineal descendant of William and Rhoda West BEDSOLE, writes that Rhoda and William BEDSOLE had a son, Thomas, who would have been of taxable age in 1769. Writes J.D. BEDSOLE: “I can only add the following from what knowledge I have gained over the past 54 years of researching the BEDSOLES and in numerous trips to the elder BEDSOLES of Bladen County, NC, most of whom have been dead for 30-40 years. The elder BEDSOLES claim that William Henry BEDSOLE and his brother were both working in their field near Beaverdam when a 12 man Indian hunting party happened upon them and began attacking them. Although the BEDSOLE brothers fought to the end, they were both killed. That is a story that has been handed down from 1762 or so until 1962 or so. After her oldest son married, Rhoda would likely have moved in with them, and they would have taken care of her until she either died or remarried. The best guess we have is that William Henry BEDSOLE was born 1728-1733 and that Rhoda was born a couple of years after him. There were other William Henry BEDSOLE men in the area besides this one. I have no sources other than the old BEDSOLE folks who lived around Beaverdam, NC during the 1950’s.” This writer notes that in order to be listed as a taxable in 1769, Thomas BEDSOLE would have been born by 1748, the approximate birth year of James WEST, Jr18.


While there are many land records that strongly suggest a BEDSOLE/WEST connection, the following extract from a Bladen deed, perhaps best illustrates the connection: Bladen DB 11, p 370, 10 Oct. 1820-Thomas BEDSOLE, Jr. to Daniel MELVIN-$140 for 50 acres adj lands of Francis DAVIS and including the plantation on which I now live and 10 acres on N side of Archibald MCDANIEL's Pond adj lands patented by Archibald MCDANIEL, Sr. Wit: Robert MELVIN (underlined), Elizabeth MELVIN. Feb. term 1825. [This writer notes: Daniel MELVIN had married Sarah WEST who was a daughter of James WEST of Bladen.]


Found on the Bladen tax list of 177019 were James WEST, Senr., Constable, & Junr. & James MCCLAM. Only two of the men were listed as taxables. The relationship of James MCCLAM to the WEST men is unknown; however, since they lived in the same house or on the same property, a family connection is quite likely. The Bladen tax list of 177120 lists James WEST, 1 poll, and James WEST, Junior, 1 poll. This tax list tells us that the younger James had no children of taxable age. Only one James WEST was listed on the Bladen tax list of 177221. James, the progenitor, had moved to Duplin, so his son, James, was the only James whose residence was Bladen. Found on the bottom of page 90 in the Bladen tax list of 1772 are four names that are cited as “extra names”. Among those names is James WEST. There is found no further explanation of “extra names” on that tax list. James WEST, Senr was taxed 3 polls on the Bladen tax list of 177422. Those polls were James, Sr., and one other poll, plus1 poll for a male slave23. Obviously, James, Senr still owned property in Bladen. James WEST, Junr was taxed one white poll. In 177924, James WEST was taxed on 150 “Bladen lands” [presumably acres]; 5 horses; 16 cattle. His tax was 217 pds.-4. In 178925, James WEST was taxed 1 poll and owned 200 acres of land. Again, as of the year 1789, none of James’s sons were of taxable age. That is consistent with the census of 1790 as James WEST’s household was enumerated as having four males under 16 years of age.


While Simon WEST has not been found on any Bladen tax list, we know he was there in 1788 as he acted as chain carrier for two men: Joseph and Samson BRIDGES26

Who was Simon and how was he related to the progenitor, James WEST, of Bladen?


In 179027, there were two WEST families enumerated in Bladen: James WEST and Will WEST. James WEST’s household consisted of 1 male 16 and over including heads of household; 4 males under sixteen years of age; six females of all ages including heads of household. James’ next-door neighbors and close neighbors in 1790 were Will SUGGS, Aligood SUGGS, James CAS(H)WELL, Samson DAVIS and Michael THOMAS. Association of CASHWELL, SUGGS and THOMAS descendants with WEST descendants continued into GA as some of the records from this article will show.


Will WEST was enumerated in the 1790 Bladen census28 as head of household with three other free persons in that household. To date efforts to track this family have failed.


On the Bladen County census of 1800 in Captain BRYANT’s District, two WEST families were noted: a James WEST family29 was enumerated as follows: 1 male under 10; 2 males 10-16; 1 male 45 and over, that male age 45 and up was James, who was head of household; 2 females under 10; 2 females 10-16; 1 female 45 and up. It would then appear that of the four males under 16 enumerated in James’ 1790 household, the following William was one of those sons and three remained in James’ home.


Wm. WEST’s 1800 Bladen County household was composed of two males under 10; 1 male 26-under 45 and 1 female 16-26. As pointed out above, based on age groups in both the census of 1790 and this one of 1800, William was probably one of the males age 16 and under who was enumerated in the James WEST household of 1790.


In 181030 the James WEST family composition was 1 male under 10; 1 male 16-under 26; 1 male 45 and up; 1 female 10-under16; 1 female 16-under 26; 1 female 45 and up. Was the male aged under 10 a grandson? A heretofore unknown son of James? Was James E. WEST living with this James?


William WEST’s household of 181031 was listed as follows: 3 males under 10; 1 male 16-under 26; 1 male 26-under 45; 2 females under 10; 1 female 16-under 26. The male age 16 to under 26 could have been Gibson WEST who was born Duplin ca 1792.


Additionally, there was one other WEST family in Bladen County, 1810: Jas. WEST whose household of 1810 was composed of 1 male under 10; 2 males age 10-under 16; 1 male age 26-under 45; 2 females age 10-under 16; one female age 26-under 45. Both William and Jas. WEST were of ages to have been enumerated as having been under age 16 in the 1790 household of James WEST.


6 and 7 September 1810, James WEST deeded property to four WEST men32. Those men were William N. WEST; John WEST; Willis James WEST and James WEST, Jr. The number of acres sold to James, Jr. is not provided in the deed; 70 acres were sold to John; 65 acres were sold to Willis James; and 80 acres were sold to William WEST. James’ disposal of some of the property on which he was living at the time, further suggests the four men were his sons. No additional document has been found that clarifies the relationship of that James to the four men to whom he deeded his lands. It is likely the four men to whom land was deeded were the same four enumerated by age group in the 1790 household of James WEST as James was deeding parts of his home acreage to the four men.


James charged each of the four men $100 for his parcel of land which was a reasonable, possibly generous, cost for a tract of land ranging in size from 65 to 80 acres; however, the other WEST men of this family, whose wills have been found33, have written deeds of gift to the son and consistently used wording such as “for the natural affection I bear towards my loving son, etc.”, throughout the deed/deed of gift; nor did those WEST men charge their sons for the land. This James of Bladen did not use that wording and did charge a fee for the land deeded; however, due to the fact James was disposing of the land on which he then lived, the four men likely were his sons. It is also possible this James simply did not adhere to the same policies of writing deeds as others of his lineage. Witnesses to the four deeds described above were Pat WEST and J.G. MORRIS. Those men remain unidentified. Regrettably, there are no extant records that will enlighten for that time period of Bladen history34.


Another interesting observation about this James is that he did not write, or at least chose not to sign his name, always using a mark. James’ father, the progenitor, did write, or at least did consistently sign his name. Three of James’s brothers also consistently signed their names and one of those brothers35 had a library of books, and in his will Isham wrote that he wanted all his family to have opportunity to read those books.


From the date of those four deeds, the population census of 183036 on which James and his wife were in age category 70-80, is the only additional record found of that particular James WEST. James WEST and his son, William N. WEST, died probably between the taking of the census of 1830 and the census enumeration of 1840. No record has been found showing either a date of death or place of interment for either James or his unidentified wife37.


James, Jr. became James, Sr. [his father having relocated to Duplin] when the younger James emerged 1810 with his own family. As used in the time period of this study, mid to late 18th century and early to mid 19th centuries, Jr. and Sr. were a means of distinguishing between two men of the same name, not necessarily relatives, who lived in the same area and had identical names. A family relationship of father and son was not explicit as it is today when folks append either Jr. or Sr. to the names of their children38.


The Willis WEST who was sold land by James, was Willis James WEST39 and not the Revolutionary War Veteran of Sampson Co., NC, Willis WEST40 who was in fact, brother to this James of Bladen.


If this James of Bladen had other sons, they have not been located and identified; however, the relationships of James, Samuel and William WEST, Revolutionary War soldiers41, have not been established.


James had one proved daughter42, Sarah, who married Daniel MELVIN. Cousin Anne Mitchell OWEN43 born in the 200 year old home of her GrGrandparents, Isham and Catherine Melvin SMITH, gave this writer the history of the Sarah West/Daniel MELVIN family. Cousin Anne’s records are from personal knowledge rather than from courthouse records but consider Cousin Anne’s year of birth, her parentage, their residence; then Cousin Anne’s history takes on a major significance. As related to, and written to, this writer: “Sarah WEST was born 1772, probably Bladen, to James and unknown WEST. She died in Bladen 1844. Daniel244 MELVIN was born in Bladen County 1769, to Daniel and Jane Thomas MELVIN. Daniel2, Sarah’s spouse, died in Bladen, 1846. Daniel2 and Sarah West MELVIN ran away and got married. When they came home they lived in what used to be Reeves Store. Ten children were born to Daniel2 and Sarah West MELVIN. One of the children, Catherine, born Bladen 1802, died Bladen 1876, married Isham SMITH who was born 1795 and died Bladen 1835. The SELLERS are the ones that my grgrandpa Daniel2 MELVIN got land from and willed to two of his children. My Grandma Catherine Melvin wife of Isham SMITH got 769 acres. I was born in that house on Stage Road from Fayetteville-Wilmington45 the house was then 200 years old. Grandma Catherine’s brother, Arthur MELVIN, got 595 acres of the same man’s land, Duncan SELLERS. He gave his other children other land. When he married, Daniel2 MELVIN, he had little more than the clothes on his back—when he died he had 3,525 acres. Daniel1 MELVIN’s daughter Jane MELVIN’s husband Edward REEVES’ son David REEVES married Catherine SELLERS. Was she Duncan SELLERS’ daughter? I don’t know. I can show you where the SELLERS lived, they are all gone now---only the house where I lived is there now. I expect Grandma Sarah WEST, for me GrGrGrandma, went to Windsor Church, not far from where they lived, a Methodist Church. Sarah WEST and Daniel2 MELVIN’s headstones are in the J.S. MELVIN cemetery in Ammon. I been there. There at Cousin Edgar MELVIN’s was a large cemetery so in late years the graves with stones were moved out to John Stephen MELVIN cemetery. There were only six or so moved --others have no stones on them.”


While they were not mentioned by Cousin Anne Mitchell OWEN, according to the late Fred WEST46 Daniel and Sarah West MELVIN had other children. Regrettably, Fred WEST rarely cited his sources with the exception of land records; consequently, most of his sources remain unknown to this writer.


A second WEST female was probably a daughter of this James as she was born Bladen 1786 and died in Bladen after 1850. An ANDERS family history47provides record of David ANDERS marrying Patience WEST. This James of Bladen had a sister, Patience , wife of James PARKER, so it seems likely he might have chosen Patience as a name for a daughter.


The remaining four females on the census of 1790 remain unidentified. One of them was presumably James’ wife, but she, too, remains unidentified.


William WEST has not been located on the Bladen census of 182048; however, there is proof that William was in Bladen County April 1820 as he purchased 200 acres49 of land from John SMITH on that date. There has been found no extant Bladen tax record50 for the year 1820.


James WEST and his household as enumerated 1820 shows 1 male 45 and up; 1 female 16-26; 1 female 45 and up; with 1 person in agriculture. James and his wife had one child left at home in 1820. The identity of that female remains unknown.


A younger James WEST and household were enumerated on the Bladen census of 1820 as 2 males under 10; 1 male 16-26; 1 male 26-45; 3 females under 10; 1 female 10-16; 1 female 26-45. Who was the male age 16-26 in this household? Who was the female age 10-16? Is this James, Jr.? Is this the same James enumerated as Jas. WEST on the Bladen census of 1810? To answer these questions, further research is indicated.


Both Willis James and John WEST emerge on the Bladen census of 1820. John’s household composition was 2 males under 10; 1 male 26-45; 2 females 16-under 26. One of these females was likely John’s wife, but who was the other?


John’s brother, the Willis James51 WEST family, was composed of 2 males under 10; 1 male 26-45; 1 female under 10 and one female 26-45. This census information if accurate leads one to conclude Willis James was married between 1810 and the time of the census of 1820.


In the year 183052 two WEST men named Samuel lived in Bladen. Samuel, Jr. and Samuel, Sr. Samuel, Jr. and household were enumerated 1830 as 1 male under 5; 2 males 5-10; 1 male 20-30 who was Samuel, Jr., born 1800-1810 and was a son of William N. WEST; 1 female under 5; 1 female 5-10; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 30-40. If the female aged 30-4053 was Samuel’s wife, then the female aged 10-15 might have been her child from a previous marriage. The female aged 10-15 could also have been a visiting relative, but based on the ages of the other children, she was not likely to have been a child of Samuel and this wife.


Cumberland Co. land records54 show that Samuel, Jr. married Martha CULBRETH; however, no marriage record has been found. By the census of 1840 Samuel and Martha had moved to Cumberland County where they lived until their deaths. Samuel died 29 March 1880 and Martha died 11 March 188255. Of interest, also, is that these WEST folks lived in Quewhiffle Twp., S side of Plank Stage Road. That township is now part of Hoke County.


For what reason did Samuel and Martha remove themselves and family to Cumberland? Land? Were they related to the William WEST who patented 600 acres of land in Cumberland Co. 21 and 22 July, 1774?


While living in Bladen, Samuel WEST, Jr., had a land transaction that was witnessed by Fleet CULBRETH56. William WEST, father of this Samuel, also had CULBRETH men as witnesses to his land transactions57; however, prior to about 1830, William WEST’s witnesses were not CULBRETH men; rather, his witnesses included his WEST siblings/kin; MCBRIDE men; JONES folks; CAIN; SUGGS; SMITH men.


Some of the children58 of Samuel and Martha Culbreth WEST were:

Mary Jane who married 13 January 1851, Henry J. WEST. Was Henry J. a cousin? If so, whose son was he?

Drucilla who married 7 August 1856, L.L. WORRELLS;

Archibald who married 3 April 1862, Margaret A. TYSON;

Daniel who married 6 June 1862, Lucy A. CLARK;

John L. who married 24 December 1862, Mary A. GIBSON;

Nancy, a teacher, for whom we found no marriage record.


All of these marriage records are among the marriage records of Cumberland County, NC. From the Cumberland census of 1860, we learn that John was a sawyer, Sarah was a seamstress, and Nancy was a teacher. Additionally, we learn that Samuel was age 52 making his date of birth around 1802 and that Martha was 61 making her date of birth around 1799. These are the ages of Samuel and Martha according to the census date which was 1 June 1860. Five months were allowed to complete the enumeration, but the recorded age was supposed to have been the age of the individual as of 1 June.


Samuel, Sr. and household were enumerated 1830 as having one male 20-30; 1 male 40-50; 1 female 15-20 and 1 female 50-60. Samuel, Sr. was a brother of Gibson and William WEST who had migrated to Burke Co., GA in time to be enumerated on the census of 1820. James E. WEST, enumerated 1830 in the household of his parents as a male age 20-30, was born Duplin Co. NC ca 1804, died probably Colquitt Co., GA after 1880. For further information on Samuel WEST, Sr. please refer to footnote 7.


A land patent revealed Samuel, Sr. owned one tract of land on Lyon Swamp. Samuel entered his request for those fifty acres in 1820; the patent was granted 182159. Samuel’s land adjoined both Wm.YEARBY and Huddlin HUFFAM according to the surveyor’s plat, but no deed to Samuel’s land has been found, nor has any record of Samuel’s land having been sold60. A John HUFHAM was prominent in Duplin County affairs during the years Samuel lived there. One wonders whether there was a family connection between Huddlin HUFFAM of Bladen and John HUFHAM of Duplin.


The 1830 household of James WEST, Sr. was composed of himself, 1 male 70-80; 1 female 20-30; 1 female 70-80, probably James’ wife. Both the female age 20-30 and the female age 70-80 remain unidentified. After this census, no further record of this James WEST has been found.


John WEST, Jr. emerges for the first time on the Bladen census of 1830. John, Jr. in that year lived next door to William N. WEST, his father. In the household of John, Jr. were 1 male under 5; 1 male 5-10; 1 male 30-40, doubtless John, himself; 2 females under 5; 1 female 30-40. Could John have been the male age 16-26 living in the household of the younger James WEST of 1820? According to this census of 1830 John was born 1790-1800 and the male in young James’s 1820 household was 16-26. John, Jr. born Bladen Co., 19 August 1798, died Bladen Co. 20 September 186561. He married 16 February 1821 Mary MCBRIDE/MCBRYDE. Mary was born Bladen Co.17 April 1792 and died 26 October 1862. Some of their children were:

-Nicholson born 9 February 1822, married 27 March 1852, Molsey HARVEY. Molsey was born probably Bladen Co.;

-Hannah Jane WEST born Bladen 17 October 1823 died Bladen 7 November 1846. If Hannah Jane ever married there has been no record found of that marriage.

-Margaret Catherine WEST was born Bladen 9 May 1826, married 22 November 1854 Daniel S. TATUM.

-James Washington WEST was born Bladen 20 February 1830, married 21 January 1858 T.A. PETERSON and he died Bladen 9 June 1892.

-Mary E. WEST born Bladen 20 July 1835 married William H. LUCK 8 May 1856 and she died March of 1859.

-Sarah Anne WEST born Bladen 2 December 1832 married 30 August 1854 Duncan Campbell SHAW. Sarah Anne died 28 November 1902.


Willis James WEST, James WEST, Jr. and John WEST, Sr. lived within a few houses of each other according to the census-taker’s path of 1830. All three men were in the same age group: 40-50, so all were born 1780-1790. Willis James’ household composition was 1 male 5-10; 1 male 40-50 {Willis James WEST}; 2 females under 5; 1 female 5-10; 1 female 30-40. We know, then, that Willis James married somewhere between 1820 and 1825, if the two children enumerated were children of John and this wife.


James, Jr. had in his 1830 household 1 male 15-20; 1 male 40-50, likely James, Jr.; 1 female under 5; 1 female 5-10; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 40-50. Who were some of the children of James, Jr.?


A sentence found in a Bladen deed dated 4 October 182762, from John WEST, Jr. to Daniel MELVIN, includes a statement that another John WEST had once lived in Bladen, but was dead by the time of the land transaction, 4 October 1827. Found among the legal descriptions of the lands being sold by John, Jr. to Daniel MELVIN is this partial sentence, to quote: “–then to a water oak, John West, deceased, corner----“


A John WEST in Bladen 177063 witnessed a deed from Joshua JORDAN of Duplin County to James WEST, Jr. Who was that John WEST? Obviously, he knew James WEST, Jr. and was at least old enough to witness a deed64, so he was born at the latest by 1756. At present, these are the only records to tell us of the presence in Bladen of an unknown John WEST. Hopefully, further information on that John will be available when the update to this article is written. Was he a son of James, the progenitor? Was he a brother to James, the progenitor?


Clearly John William WEST65 born Bladen ca 1788, died TN after 1866, who was quite probably a son of James of Bladen, was not the John WEST who was deceased by 1827. John, born probably Bladen ca 1788, had an 1830 household composed of 1 male under 5; 2 males 5-10; 2 males 10-15; 1 male 40-50; 2 females under 5; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 30-40. Some time between the taking of the 1830 census, which as previously written was 1 June, and the taking of the 1840 census of Fayette Co., TN, John and his family left Bladen to make their home in TN. It would be interesting to identify their traveling companions.


John William WEST was born Bladen Co., NC ca 1788 and died TN after 1866. John married Elizabeth FRAZIER in NC 1815. Elizabeth was born NC 1796 and she, too, died TN after 1866.

-Noel E. WEST eldest known son of John William and Elizabeth Frazier WEST, was born Bladen Co. 12 December 1815, married Mary Jane HERRINGTON in Fayette Co., TN 20 February 1839, and died Gibson Co., TN 11 November 1884.

-Owen WEST born 1819 Bladen County, married Jane (Jennie) MCCLURE who was born KY 1821. Owen died 1893 Conway Co., AR and Jane died 1899 Conway Co., AR. --Ollin WEST born NC 1820 married 1 November 1841, Madison Co., TN, Martha Ann JOHNSON who was born January 1825.

-Daniel WEST born NC 1822 married 15 June 1844, Gibson Co., TN, Martha A. LEA who was born NC 25 September 1820. Daniel died TN 5 March 1912 and Martha died TN 3 August 1905.

-Thomas J. WEST born NC 1827 married 19 March 1846, Gibson Co., TN, Eliza J. LEA who was born NC 1825. George W. LEA was a bondsman for the marriage.

-Sarah Jane WEST born NC 1828 married 12 September 1844, Gibson Co., TN, Jesse PRICE who was born TN 1825.

-Elizabeth WEST born NC 1828, married 6 March 1845, Gibson Co., TN, William D. HENDERSON born 19 May 1823.

-Phillip Herrington WEST born NC 1832 married 1) 3 January 1849 [date of bond] Debora BUTLER born 19 May 1823; married 2) before 1859, Martha Ann MOORE.

-Martha Ellen WEST born TN 1836, married 18 January 1854, Gibson Co., TN, James A. PRICE born TN 1835. Bondsman for the marriage was John W. WEST, twin brother to Martha Ellen WEST.

-John William WEST, Jr. born TN 1836 married 20 December 1855 Gibson Co., TN, Nancy KELLY who was born TN 1835.

-Jennette WEST born TN 1837 married 6 November 1855 Gibson Co., TN, Joshua BAKER.

-George Harrison WEST born 3 January 1841 in Gibson Co., TN, married 27 August 1859 Gibson Co., TN, Martha Ann GARDNER who was born TN 29 December 1843. George Harrison died 8 August 1914, Gibson Co., TN. Martha Ann died TN 28 May 1931.


On the 1860 Gibson Co., TN census, p199, John age 71, born NC was head of household consisting of himself and Elizabeth, 64, born NC. The Gibson Co., TN census of 1870 shows John WEST, 83, living with James PRICE, 38, born TN and Martha E. PRICE, 34, born TN. Martha E. was a daughter of John and Elizabeth Frazier WEST.


The census of 1830, begun 1 June, enumerates William N. WEST and family. Since we have found to date no date of death for this William N. we can know he was alive on 1 June of 1830. William and his household enumeration on the Bladen census of 1830 consisted of 1 male 5-10; 1 male 10-15; William, himself, 1 male 50-60; 1 female 5-10; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 15-20; 1 female 50-60 presumably William’s wife. According to this census William was born between 1770 and 1780.


William N. WEST deeded land 19 February 1830, the same day he wrote his will, to three men, identified in those deeds as his “loving sons” leaving no doubt as to the relationships. William WEST to John WEST66; William to Samuel67 and William to Cummings68.


In the Bladen County Heritage Book, p515, it is written that 14 July 1838, William JOHNSON married Elizabeth Ann WEST, daughter of William and Hannah Fowler WEST. Furthermore, on that page the birth and death dates of Elizabeth Ann West JOHNSON are given as 7 July 1822 and 23 December 1891, respectively.


To be noted is William’s use of the letter N. as his middle initial. William N. WEST sometimes used a W as his mark resulting in the mistaken conclusion that he was in fact William W. WEST. Adding to the confusion was the fact William did not always use the W as his mark. He simply made the typical of the times, X, for his mark. It was only after viewing a copy of William’s original will that the middle initial could clearly be read as N. It is supposed William signed his will with his middle initial to distinguish between himself and William Cummings WEST, his proved son, but that is supposition! Interesting to note here that William WEST, son of Samuel, Sr., used a W as his mark on his deeds/land transactions in GA.


The will of William N. WEST69 was written 19 February 1830. Towards the end of the will is found: “Signed sealed published and declared by the said William WEST as his last will and testament”. That one word declared is strongly indicative of a Quaker background; although the date itself is not of a Quaker type. Witnesses to William’s will were Archd CULBRETH; Neill X [his mark] CULBRETH and William WILKESON. Amos CAIN and William WILKESON were named as executors. Above and below the name Wm. N. WEST are two groups of letters impossible to read. Above the N. and between the N. and WEST is a group of illegible letters. Below the N. and between the N. and WEST is the word, his. This suggests the possibility William N. was going to make his mark W. and did not do so. How wonderful that he did not further confuse descendants/researchers by so doing!


In the confusing wording of the will, William named grandchildren Annah, Hannah Jane and grandson, James, to share one equal part of his, William’s, estate. Using the original will found at the NC Archives70, the wording of the will suggests that there was a son of William who had died, leaving the three grandchildren to inherit from William. If that interpretation of William’s will is accurate, there has been no record found to identify the deceased son. There are no extant Bladen County estates papers for the period of interest71. There are no land divisions for the time period of interest72 and there are no guardianship papers for that time period of Bladen County history73. The James WEST referred to in the will of William N. has not been positively identified. If a son of William had died and a James was his son, neither that son of William nor grandson of William has been identified. If Beamon F. WEST were a son of William N. why did not William N. deed land to him as he did to three men he named as sons? At that time in NC a male could be deeded land when he was underage, he just could not sell land in his own name until he reached age 2174.


Samuel WEST, Jr. 1830 had a family composed of 1 male under 5; 2 males 5-10; 1 male 20-30, Samuel; 1 female under 5; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 30-40. The female age 10-15 might have been a relative or friend visiting when the census taker arrived; she might have been a child of Martha Culbreth WEST by a previous marriage---notice the age group of Martha. For now, the female 10-15 year old remain unidentified but it is not likely she is Samuel’s child as it appears from the ages of the other children that Samuel and Martha were married 1830 or later.


By the time of the Bladen census of 1840, only one of James WEST’s probable sons remained in Bladen. Willis James WEST and his family remained for the Bladen census enumeration of that year. Willis James’s household composition was 1 male 15-20; 1 male 40-50 who was Willis James; 1 female under 5; 1 female 5-10; 1 female 10-15; 1 female 15-20 and 1 female 30-40. The only child of Willis James and his wife that has been identified is James WEST who must have been the male age 15-20 in this household. In 1840 two people in this household were involved in agriculture and 1 person was involved in commerce. There has been found one deed75 that identifies a James WEST as a child of WJ and Elender WEST. On 19 February 1847, George W. MELVIN, Sheriff, sold for one hundred dollars a lifetime estate in one hundred acres of land on a prong of Cypress Creek. After the deaths of both WJ and Elender WEST, the land was to go to their son, Jas. WEST.


John William WEST had moved with his family to TN sometime after the census of 1830 where he died after 186676.


William N. WEST died after the Bladen census of 1830 and before the census of 1840.


James WEST, Jr. and his family have not yet been located after the census of 1830; however, there was a James WEST in Columbus Co. that may prove to have been James, Jr. Further research is necessary before positive identification can be made. That James WEST died in Columbus Co. 1857. John L. FAULK was administrator of his estate.


Willis James WEST, Samuel WEST, Sr. and William C. WEST, son of William N., were the only WEST families enumerated Bladen 1840. Samuel WEST [previously was known as Sr. Since Samuel, Jr. is now in Cumberland, Samuel WEST, Sr. is now Samuel WEST] and his wife remained in Bladen during 1840. Samuel’s age was 50-60 and his wife’s age was 60-70. No further information on this Samuel WEST, father of James E. WEST and brother to Gibson and William WEST, has been found.


Found among the Bladen County land records 1734-1850 is a deed in which Gibson WEST with Musgrove JONES witnessed a Bladen County deed 23 May 181577. The deed recorded sale of land from Wm. HENDON to William JOHNSTON. Josiah HENDON married a daughter of Musgrove JONES78. Musgrove JONES lived five or six properties from William N. WEST79 in 1830 and about ten properties from James WEST, Sr. In addition to Gibson’s military records, this deed is the only record found showing Gibson WEST was ever in Bladen County, NC. The record of marriage between Anna Jane THOMAS and William WEST, Gibson’s brother, is one of two known records that show William WEST80 was ever in Bladen County, NC.


Current hypothesis, then, is that after his discharge from the SeaFencibles, Gibson WEST lived in Bladen with either William N. WEST or James WEST, Sr. and their families. Musgrove JONES was a close neighbor of William, so it seems probable Gibson WEST could have accompanied Musgrove to Elizabethtown to witness a land transaction for one of Musgrove’s sons-in-law. When William WEST of Duplin was discharged from the militia after serving 89 days during the War of 1812, he owned 136 acres81 of land in Duplin, probably inherited when his mother, Delilah WEST, died. He then followed his brother, Gibson, to Bladen, lived with William N. WEST, met and married Anna Jane THOMAS. In her affidavit82 for Anna Jane Thomas WEST’s pension application, Susannah (Unknown) WEST, widow of Gibson, testified she had always lived in the same vicinage [neighborhood] as Anna Jane Thomas WEST, but to date we do not have the maiden name of Susannah WEST.


In summary, other than the progenitor, the precise relationship of the Bladen WEST families to the Duplin WEST families of this study remains unproved. There is enough evidence to strongly suggest a connection, but not enough evidence to prove that connection. There are many questions that remain unanswered and due to the dearth of Bladen records, might never be answered. As stated earlier, it is hoped publication of this article will persuade folks who have WEST family records to come forward, correct any errors, make additions and fill in the gaps.


The following persons have contributed their time, resources and family knowledge of Bladen County towards making this Bladen study of WEST and allied families as complete as possible. While many folks have generously responded to on-line queries re the WEST and allied families of Bladen, Dee THOMPSON and Jason BORDEAUX have gone above and beyond the ordinary in their personal efforts to provide information for this Bladen study. Dee very kindly did every lookup requested from her magnificent personal library83. In addition she provided maps and copies of pages from a variety of sources.


Jason BORDEAUX has been my Bladen mentor from the very beginnings of the Bladen research. He has gone to Elizabethtown and photocopied for me all the WEST deeds found in the courthouse. Information on WEST allied families was obtained in large measure from Jason, including the CAIN, McBRIDE/McBRYDE, SMITH and SOULS/SOLES/SOWLES families. Please see Jason’s on-line genealogy of Peter MCBRIDE to be found: NCBladen-L@rootsweb.com


Credit must be given, too, to four more folks who have contributed greatly to the information obtained for writing of this study. Ms. Billie EVANS responded to my many written requests for information from the Bladen County public library and the Bladen County Historical Society. In addition, from time to time when Ms. EVANS would come across WEST information, at her personal expense, she photocopied and mailed that information to me. Milton R. SMITH, via his publication Back to Bladen84 provided a great deal of useful information for this study. Alan JOHANNES has done many lookups from his library. Fred M. HINTZE, Jr. has provided lookups, maps and other valuable assistance for the WEST study of NC records.


Please note: this article is excerpted from a larger copyrighted work to be published next year tentatively entitled West Families of Southeastern NC, 1734-1850. This Bladen County, NC portion of the proposed book is donated to Jason BORDEAUX for publication on the Bladen rootsweb pages. No commercial use of this material is granted.


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