John West (governor)

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
John West
6º Crow Governor of Virginia
In office
Preceded by John Pott
Succeeded by Francis Wyatt
Personal details
Born December 14, 1590
Testwood, Hampshire, England
Died 1659
Spouse(s) Anne Percy
Profession governor
Religion Christian

John West (December 14, 1590 – ca. 1659) was acting colonial Governor of Virginia from 1635 to 1637, the third West brother to serve as governor.


He was the fifth son and twelfth child of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr, and was born at Testwood in Hampshire. He came to Virginia in 1618. He was a member of the House of Burgesses (1628–30). In 1630, the decision was made to plant a settlement on the York River, "...for the securing & taking in of a tract of Land called ye fforest bordering uppon the cheife residence of ye Pamunkey King the most dangerous head of the Indian enemy..." John West received one of the first grants issued for this purpose, 600 acres "on the east side of Felgates".[1] "Felgates" refers to Robert Felgate's 1632 grant of "350 acres lying at Kiskeyacke upon Pamunkey".[2] West sold the 600 acres, along with adjoining land, to Edward Digges in 1650;.[3] It became known as the "E.D." plantation, renamed by later owners as "Belfield".

West subsequently patented 3300 acres at the fork of York River, at the site which eventually developed into the present-day town of West Point.[4] After his death the land passed to his son John West and then to his grandson John West III and to his great-grandson Charles West. Charles West had no issue. His will (dated 28 September 1734) left the West Point estate to his mother, and after her death to his first cousin Thomas West (son of his father's brother Thomas) "and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten, for ever..." The entail was broken in November 1761, when a trust was established to enable 1000 acres of the land to be sold in order to purchase slaves.[5]

West patented a further 1550 acres in 1651,[6] and 1000 acres in Gloucester County in 1654.[7]

In 1635, after the "thrusting out" of Governor Sir John Harvey, John West was chosen as temporary replacement.,[8] and served until 1637 when Harvey was restored to his position. In 1640 West was ordered to England, along with three other "thrusters", to answer charges in the Star Chamber. All four were eventually cleared, and returned to Virginia.

Marriage and children

John West married Anne Percy, daughter of George Percy and Anne Floyd.[9]

The couple had one son, John, who married Unity Croshaw.


West's 3000-acre land grant on the York River became the location of the present town of West Point, Virginia.

He died by March 1659/1660, when the Virginia Assembly passed the following act in recognition of his family's services to the colonial enterprise:

WHEREAS the many important favours and services rendred to the countrey of Virginia by the noble family of the West, predecessors to Mr. John West, their now only survivor, claim at least that a gratefull remembrance of their former merrits be still continued to their survivor, It is ordered, That the levies of the said master West and his ffamily be remitted, and that he be exempted from payment thereof during life.[10]



  1. "Extracts from the Records of York County", The William and Mary Quarterly, Vol. 26, No. 1 (Jul., 1917), pp. 27-37.
  2. Virginia Land Office Patents No. 1, 1623-1643 (v.1 & 2), p. 105
  3. Land Office Patents No. 2, 1643-1651, p. 316
  4. Land Office Patents No. 3, 1652-1655, p. 290
  5. Hering's Statutes at Large, Vol. 7, Acts of Assembly Nov 1761
  6. Land Office Patents Bk 2, p.213
  7. Land Office Patents Bk 3, p.10
  8. Thornton, J Mills, "The Thrusting out of Governor Harvey: A Seventeenth-Century Rebellion", The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 76, No. 1 (Jan., 1968), pp. 11-26
  9. Brenan, Gerald (1902). A History of the House of Percy, from the Earliest Times Down to the Present. London: Freemantle. Vol. II pp. 208–9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>Note: This source documents marriage to Anne Floyd, but not date of marriage.
  10. Hening, Statutes at Large, vol. 1, p. 547

External links