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I have a family mystery. (Unlike every other genealogist out there, right?) I’m looking for the record that proves the parentage of George W. West. Read on for more about my West Connection or click here to get straight to the Mystery of George W. West’s Parentage.

Who was George W. West?

GEORGE W. WEST was born about 1819 in Spartanburg County, South Carolina. George W. was a country fellow, a farmer, and I don’t think his age was that important to him. So much so that it varies quite a bit in censuses. I’ve decided to trust his listing in the 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia (index), because I feel like he probably reported this information himself.

George W West Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia

Forsyth County, Georgia listing

He married (1) JENNETT/JENNY COWAN, daughter of William Cowan (1755-Aft. 1850) and Elizabeth Unknown before 1840 in South Carolina, USA. Jenny was born about 1816 in County Antrim, Ireland. She died between 1880-1892 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA.  I’ve been unable to find any records or mentions of her death, possibly because the Forsyth County, Georgia Courthouse burned in 1973 and a lot of the county’s old newspapers went with it. (Anybody interest can find some copies of the Forsyth County Baptist Leader newspaper on the Forsyth County Historical Society. They even have a searchable electronic archive on their website.)

After Jenny died, George W. West married (2) NANCY BAGWELL on 28 Jan 1892 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA. She was born on 20 Aug 1828 in South Carolina. She died on 11 Jun 1901 in Forsyth County, Georgia.

Their children:

  1. LIGHTNER WEST was born in 1842 in Union, Union, South Carolina, USA. He died in 1863 in Tazewell, Claiborne County, Tennessee, USA (Confederate troops occupied Tazewell in 1862 as part of the push to take the Cumberland Gap. More info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tazewell,_Tennessee). He married Sarah E Moore, daughter of William Moore and Mary E Unknown on 10 Jan 1862. She was born on 29 Mar 1842 in Georgia, USA. She died on 04 Dec 1917 in Hall, Georgia, USA.
  2. SARAH JANE WEST was born in May 1843 in South Carolina, USA. She died in 1905 in Logan, Logan, Arkansas, USA. She married Andrew H Mcclure on 21 Mar 1861 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA. He was born in 1841 in South Carolina. He died on 13 Apr 1934 in Logan County, Arkansas, USA.
  3. PASCAL P WEST was born in Apr 1845 in Union, South Carolina. He died on 16 Oct 1929 in Yell, Arkansas, USA. He married Rebecca H Westray in 1865. She was born in 1842 in North Carolina. She died on 17 Oct 1921 in Belleville, Yell, Arkansas, USA.
  4. WILLIAM RUSSELL WEST was born in 1847 in South Carolina, USA. He died about May 1891 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA (From Baptist Leader Newspaper, Forsyth County, GA). He married MARY A HIGGINS or MARY A WALKER. She was born in Feb 1849 in Georgia. She died on 28 May 1935 in Mullins, Cherokee, Georgia, US.
  5. GEORGE W WEST was born in Jan 1848 in South Carolina. He married Margaret C Redman on 29 Jan 1874 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA. She was born about 1855 in Georgia. She died before 1900.
  6. EDITH WEST was born on 24 Jul 1850 in Union County, South Carolina, USA. She died on 16 Jul 1891 in Forsyth, Georgia, USA. She married Zachariah Taylor Harris about 1869.
  7. LEANDER WEST was born about 1854 in Georgia, USA. He died on 29 Oct 1891 in Forsyth, Georgia, USA. He married Clara Hill on 24 Aug 1873 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA. She was born about 1853 in Georgia.
  8. ELIZABETH WEST was born about 1855 in Georgia, USA.
  9. MONROE WEST was born on 21 Jul 1857 in Hightower, Forsyth, Georgia, USA. He died on 06 Jun 1891. He married Phoebe Glass on 15 Aug 1880 in Forsyth County, Georgia, USA.
  10. MARY ANN WEST was born on 21 Jul 1860 in Forsyth, Georgia, USA. She died on 11 Oct 1863 in Forsyth, Georgia, USA.

My ancestor, Lightner West, died in 1862 in the Civil War, leaving behind only one son, Lightner Leander West (1863-1927).

Lightner Leander West and Josephine McDaniel West

Josephine McDaniel West, Lightner Leander West and two of their children, abt. 1896

Lightner and Josephine McDaniel West’s children were:

  1. CARL ROAN WEST was born on 06 Sep 1886 in Cherokee, Georgia, United States. He died on 20 Jan 1955 in Cherokee, Georgia (Age: 68 Years). He married LILLIE MAE UNKNOWN. She was born on 01 Aug 1891 in Georgia. She died on 06 Mar 1978 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA (Age at Death: 86).
  2. GEORGE ERNEST WEST was born on 20 May 1896 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA. He died on 07 Nov 1950 in DeKalb, Georgia, USA (Age at Death: 54). He married IVY DUNAGAN.
  3. JOHN MARTIN WEST was born on 20 May 1891 in Cherokee, Georgia, United States. He died on 25 Mar 1928 (Age at Death: 35). He married (1) OLIVIA GALLOWAY before 1917 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA (Had a wife and child listed on his WWI registration card). She was born about 1895 in Georgia. He married (2) FLORENCE UNKNOWN before 1928.
  4. NETTIE A WEST was born in 1889 in Georgia. She died on 05 Oct 1946 in De Kalb, Georgia, USA. She married Thaddius Pickett Hester, son of Joseph Scott Hester and Eliza Jane Jefferson on 29 Dec 1907. He was born on 24 Apr 1886 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA. He died on 25 Dec 1969 in Canton, Cherokee, Georgia, USA (Age at Death: 83).
  5. WALTER LINTON WEST was born on 28 Feb 1883 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA. He died on 17 Apr 1928 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA (Age at Death: 45). He married Emma Elizabeth Hester, daughter of Joseph Scott Hester and Eliza Jane Jefferson on 15 Oct 1905 in Canton, Cherokee, Georgia, USA. She was born on 24 Jul 1884 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA. She died on 18 Jan 1950 in Canton, Cherokee, Georgia, USA (Age at Death: 65).
  6. AMATTIE ELLA WEST was born on 27 Oct 1884 in Cherokee, Georgia, USA. She died on 18 Jan 1950.
  7. ROBERT EMORY WEST was born on 12 Dec 1894 in Georgia, USA. He died on 27 Jan 1965 in Forsyth, Georgia (Age at Death: 72). He married MYRTIE E SMITH. She was born about 1898 in Georgia.

Walter Linton West’s (1883-1928) 10th child was Edward West (b. 1926) – my grandfather.

The Mystery of George W. West’s Parentage

I have yet to find any records linking George W. West to specific parents, but I think I’ve found a pretty good candidate for his mother and father:

George West and Edith Colista McHanie. (Mary West’s excellently presented page details the George West genealogy.)

Their children:

  1. KENDRICK WEST, b. South Carolina, USA.
  2. JOHN WEST, b. Abt. 1798, South Carolina.
  3. PRECIOUS PRICILLA WEST, b. 29 May 1803, South Carolina; d. 11 Jun 1891, Jewell, Pickens County, Georgia.
  4. PERRY WEST, b. 1805, South Carolina; d. 1891, Glenn Springs, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  5. BENJAMIN WEST, b. 1806, South Carolina; d. Aft. 1880, Bosque County, Texas.
  6. MARY ANN WEST, b. Abt. 1807, South Carolina; m. (1) GEORGE CAMPMIN; m. (2) MR GREENBERRY.
  7. JAMES WEST, b. 1811, South Carolina; d. Aft. 1880, Talking Rocks, Pickens County, Georgia.
  8. JANE WEST, b. 1812, South Carolina; d. (of) Gilmer County, Georgia.
  9. WILLIS WEST, b. 1815, South Carolina; d. Abilene, Texas.
  10. EBER WEST, b. 1817, South Carolina; d. 1863, Jasper (Talking Rock), Pickens County, Georgia.
  11. MERRICK H. WEST, REV., b. 10 Apr 1821, South Carolina; d. 31 Oct 1862, Knoxville, , Tennessee.

In most genealogies I’ve come across, my George W. West is not listed as a child in this family. Still, I think he is their child for these reasons:

  • The West DNA Project seems to link us to Joseph West, a common ancestor of both lines. (The George W. West b. 1819 family is group W169 and Family Group 13 on the page.)
  • George W. West’s self-reported birth year in the 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia would mean he fits in in birth order between Eber and Merrick West.
  • My George W. West was enumerated next door to Willis West in the 1840 Union County, SC census.
  • In information with George W. West’s Reconstruction Oath, he was listed as living in Georgia for 15 years but in his current county for only 14 years. Maybe when he first moved to Georgia he lived nearer to his parents and presumed brothers and sisters, who lived in Pickens County (formerly Gilmer County)? I know the county boundaries of Forsyth County, Georgia didn’t change during his lifetime in Georgia. 
From George W. West's listing in the Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867

From George W. West’s listing in the Reconstruction Oath Books, 1867

On the other hand, he may not be their child for these reasons:

  • Judging from children’s birth places, George West, his wife Edith Colista McHanie and many of their children all moved to Georgie around 1843. George W. West wouldn’t have moved to Georgia until about 1852-53. (He may have stayed in South Carolina because his elderly father-in-law, William Cowan, was shown as living with him and his wife in Union County, SC in 1850.)
  • I can’t find any place where my George W. West crossed paths – in records – with his potential parents and presumed brothers and sisters after they had all moved to Georgia. They went to different churches and probably would have gone to town at different places, too.
  • There are quite a few Wests in Spartanburg and Union Counties in South Carolina. My Geore W. West could be a cousin/nephew, or other relative of the George and Edith McHanie family.

I’m asking for your help! If you have any light to shed on the mysterious George W. West, and who his parents may potentially be, please Contact Me. If you’re also researching this line, I’ve kept a fairly good record of my where I’ve checked and where I haven’t, so perhaps we could compare notes and collaborate.

I have lots more information to share about this family, including some info about how many of George W. West’s children continued migrating westward. (I guess it’s in the name, huh?) I’ll write another blog post about that later. If you happen to be one of those western West cousins, please contact me, too!

Happy detecting!

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