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Copy of Captain John West Profile November 6 2019

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Colonel John West was said to have fathered a son with the Pamunkey leader Cockacoeske about 1656, several years before West's marriage to Unity Croshaw. The child became known as Captain John West (of this profile).[citation needed]

A previous version of this profile claimed, without source, that John's father left Unity Croshaw for Cockacoeske.

William Deyo, official Pamunkey tribal historian, wrote:

"The more that I search, the more that I find items in support of Leonard's (West's) theory (that Joseph West was a son of Cockacoeske and half brother of Maj. John West). Note that Joseph West was at one time a resident of Stafford Co., VA, and was associated with Maj. John West, formerly "Capt. John West" who appeared in Stafford by 1678 and was, I am convinced by overwhelming evidence, the same Capt. John West who was the illegitimate son of Cockacoeske, Queen of Pamunkey, by John West, son of Gov. John West (brother of Thomas West, Lord De la Warr)."[1]

Cockacoeske, Queen of Pamunkey, has been claimed by some to be a niece of Pocahontas.[citation needed]

Her son John was described as "a stripling twenty years of age" when he accompanied his mother who spoke before a committee of burgesses and governor's Council members in Jamestown in the summer of 1677.[citation needed]

Some researchers confuse Maj. John West (1657-1717) with his half-brother John West III (1676?-1734), son of Col. John West II and Unity/Ursula Crowshaw -- perhaps because these two half-brothers also are sometimes called "the Younger" and "the Elder" by different researchers.


He signed the Virginia-Indian Treaty of 1677/1680, after his mother did, as "Cap't John West, sonne to the Queen of Pamunkey."[citation needed]

At the death of Cockacoeske in 1686, the English had hoped her half-English son John West would succeed her as king of the Pamunkey and thus help further their mutual goals, but the leadership, by traditional Pamunkey succession, passed to Cockacoeske's niece Queen Betty.[citation needed]

Thomas Mathew's account of the visit of Pamunkey Queen Cockacoeske to the council with "her Son to whom the English tongue was familiar, and who was reputed the Son of an English Colonel.":

"Pamunkey seems to have designated the triangular section of country formed by the two main branches of the York River, with West Point at the apex. The Pamunkey tribes, however, occupied parts of New Kent County also. The queen represented the chiefs of the Powhatan group of Indians, her husband Tottopottomoy (Tatapanoi) having been killed in 1656. She had a son, John West, from whom came the name of the locality West Point."[2]

Maj. John West who died in Stafford Co. in 1716 left land at Pamunkey and West Point in his will.[citation needed] The 500-acre tract he owned on the Pamunkey River was originally owned by his grandfather, Gov. John West,[citation needed] which appears to prove that he was the John West who was the son of the Pamunkey Queen.

James Bish wrote:

Major John West (1657-1716) rose to the rank of Major in the county militia for the defense of the frontier primarily against an Indian threat. Most likely was buried at the "West Grove" site south of Great Hunting Creek. Major John West had at least three sons, 1, John West Sr., who was the father of Burgess Hugh West, John West [died with no children], William West, and Thomas West; 2. Pearson West [died with no children] and 3. Burgess Col. John West., father of Roger West.[citation needed]


Highlights for Major John West include:

  • 1686-1715 He purchased and obtained Northern Neck land grants amounting to over 2000 acres in present day Fairfax County and Alexandria Virginia living at his plantation "West Grove" rising over Great Hunting Creek and the Potomac River. Not only did he build a substantial home, but he built boundary fences, a tobacco landing onto the Potomac River, which became a primary landing for the region, and also improved his plantation by planting fruit orchards.[citation needed]
  • 1689 - involved with Rev. John Waugh and Burr Harrison in incident known as John Waugh's Tumult.[citation needed]
  • 1692 - selected as a Stafford Justice and designated the Secretary for the Stafford County Court.[citation needed]
  • 1692 - paid by the Stafford County Court for entertaining the English and the Indians.[citation needed]
  • 1701 - Virginia's Governor Colonel Francis Nicholson appointed John West, along with George Mason, Robert Alexander, and John Washington among a few others as Commissioner for the Peace in Stafford County.[citation needed]
  • 1703 - John West and his son, John Jr. were among twenty-two Stafford County leaders that signed a Memorial to Her Majesty, Queen Anne, in regard to the death of King William.[citation needed]
  • 1703 - John West was selected as a field officer at the rank of Major for Stafford County serving with Colonel George Mason, and Lt. Colonel Rice Hooe.[citation needed]
  • 1715 - John West died and not only left land but also left a legacy of public service for his descendants. [citation needed]

Probably buried at West Grove Plantation family cemetery. This property was just south of Great Hunting Creek at Alexandria and was in possession of Hugh West by the 1740s.

Three of his descendants served in the House of Burgesses in Williamsburg almost continuously between 1752 and 1776 from Fairfax County.[citation needed] This represents twenty-five years of political service during the most critical years leading up to the American Revolution. No Fairfax County family had more influence in terms of length of service during that Pre-Revolutionary era. During and after the Revolutionary War, three other descendants served as Delegates in the new capital of Richmond.


Maj. John West first married Susannah/Sarah Pearson by 1686.[citation needed]

Some erroneous family trees show his wife (and mother of John West the Elder) as Sarah/Susannah Harrison, sister of Thomas and Col. Burr Harrison. Some others say he married Elizabeth Rose and had 4 children who moved to Chowan Co., North Carolina. One John West will filed in Chowan County, North Carolina, in 1713 named his wife Elizabeth Rose, and Elizabeth Rose (not West) signed as executrix. Another record in Chowan County refers to him as Indian John West. This is repeated in the largely debunked Shawnee Heritage by Don Greene.

Whether the second and third marriages are correctly ascribed to the same man or whether Maj. John West has been confused with another John West, it is certain that Maj. John West did not die in 1713 but in 1717 and his last lawful marriage was to Mrs. Elizabeth Semmes Turley, widow of John Turley; she was his lawful widow and later became the wife of Charles Broadwater.


Maj. John West and Sarah Pearson had:

  1. John West (c1681/6-1717); married 1st unknown (some say Sybil); married 2nd (1702-04) Ann (Harris) Owsley, widow of Thomas Owsley. Some researchers call this John West (c1681/6) "John West the Elder." He had a son Hugh West who married Sybil Harrison and had Captain John West "Jr." born ca. 1727 making him 21 or 22 years of age when he surveyed the new town of Alexandria, VA in 1749.[citation needed]

Maj. John West and Mrs. Elizabeth Semmes Turley married c1710 (by 1715) and had only:

  1. John West "the Younger" b. c1710 who served almost 20 years in the House of Burgesses.[citation needed]
John West was previously linked as the father of Richard West, who was born in 1738. While it is not impossible for a seventeenth century man to live to his eighties and father a child, it is somewhat unlikely that John was the father of Richard; especially given the lack of sources regarding both men.


In his will, he bequeathed 500 acres "at Pamunky" to his son John West (IV) after Elizabeth Turley's death.[citation needed]

This is believed to be the original 500 acres of land for which his father Col. John West II's first cousin Col. "Toby West" (Totopotomoi) had a patent. (Toby West was the son of Gov. John West's brother Thomas West, lord Delaware, and "Rachel" Powhattan.) The Toby West tract was later taken up by Col. Joseph Crowshaw when the Indians were dispossessed, and as his daughter Unity/Ursula Crowshaw married Col. John West II, the latter passed it to his son by Cockacoeske who was Totopotomoi's widow also.

Will of Maj John West[citation needed]

In the name of God Amen. I, John West of Stafford County, sick and weak of body, but thanks be to God, of sound and perfect memory and understanding do make, will and consitute this my last will and testament. Imps's. I recommend my sould to God, hoping through his mercy, a full remission of my sisn, a joyful resurrection and etermal happiness thro' the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ my Saviour.

Item. My body I recommend to the earth from whence it proceeded, to be decently buried at the discretion of my Executor, hereafter named.

Item. I give, grant and bequeath to my Grandson, Hugh West, 300 acres of land, lying on the North Side of Aquatink Creek, to him and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten, the aofresaid 300 being that land that I purchased of William Green and in default of such heirs, I give, grant, and bequeath the said 300 acres unto my Grandson, John West, and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten.

Item. I give and bequeath to my afs'd grandson Hugh West 3000 lb. Tob'o when at the age of twenty one.

Item. I give and bequeath to my grandson John West, 313 acres of land lying on the north side of great Hunting Creek, being the land I bought of John Simson, to him and his heirs of his body lawfully begotten and in default of such heirs lawfully begotten, my will is that the aforesaid 300 bequeathed unto my Grandson, Hugh West, and the 313 acres of land to John West, be given granted and bequathed unto my loving son, John West, him his heirs and assigns forever.

Item. I give bequeath and bequeath unto my aforesaid Grandson, John West 3000 lbs Tobacco when at the age of 21.

Item. I give and bequeath unto my daughter-in-law, Ann Turley, 300 acres of land being the plantation where Edward Carter lived, to her and the heirs of her body lawfuly begotten and in default of such heirs, to my sons, John West, him his heirs or assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to the afores'd Ann Turley, 3000 lbs at the day of her marriage or at the age of sixteen.

Item. I give grant and bequeath to Benjamin Blake, fifty acres of land, being the plantation where John Summers, now lives, to him and his heirs lawfully begotten, and in default of such heirs to his brother, John Blake, to him and his heirs lawfully begotten.

Item. I give grant and bequeath to Jno. Blake 50 acres of the aforesaid tract, to him and heirs of his body lawfully begotten and in default of such lawful heirs my will is that the afs'd 100 be granted given and bequeathed to Burr Harrison, son of Capt. Thomas Harrison, to him his heirs or assigns forever.

Item. I give grant and bequeath to my loving son, John West, three Negroes called Dennis, Glascow and Silan and all my plate.

Item. I give grant and bequeath to my loving son, John West, all my lands and real estate on Hunting Creek branches, about 2000 acres, him his heirs or assigns forever. Likewise 500 acres at Pumunky, likewise all my lands above the Falls of Potomac and 100 acres below the aforesaid Falls and my plantation after my wife's natural deceased and all my other real estate, on the south side of Hunting Creek, not otherwise given or bequeathed to him the afores'd son, John West, his heirs or assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to Will Harrison, Jun'r, a young horse about three years old, bought of John Gowen, after my deceased immediately.

Item. I give and bequeath after my deceased to Thos West, two cows and calves.

Item. I give and bequeath to Burr Harrison, the son of Capt. Thomas Harrison, the gun that I commonly use.

Item. I give and bequeath the gun I had of John Gowen to James Turley.

Item. I give John Turley my Long gun.

Item. I give grant and bequeath to my godson, John Symmonds, the son of Thomas Symmonds, 100 acres of land, his father now lives on and the heirs of his body lawfully begotten and in default of such lawful heirs, my will is that the aforesa'd 100 acres be given, granted and bequeathed to my son, John West, him, his heirs or assigns forever.

Item. I give and bequeath to Seith Harrison, the wife of Capt. Thomas Harrison, after my deceased, 500 lbs. tob'o, to buy her a mourning ring.

Item. I give and bequeath to Seith Anderson, the daughter of Jacob Henderson, two cows and calves, at my deceased.

Item, my will and pleasure is that my negro Bastin be set free at my decease and that he have one flock bed and furniture and one iron pot and land to work on in the fork of great Hunting Creek branches during his natural life.

Item. I give and bequeath at my deceased to Seith Lucas, 1000 lbs. tob'o.

Item. I give and bequeath to William Custer, Davis Innes and Francis Ballenger, the one half of the debts due to me per accounts.

Item. I forgive Robert Blake, all the debts he owes me per accounts or otherwise and I give to the aforesaid Robert Blake, one suit of Druggit apparell, two shirts, two pr. of stockings, one hat and as much new jersey as will make him a suit with trimmings to it.

Item. I give grant and bequeath to my loving wife, Elizabeth West, her heirs or assigns, one negro girl called Combar.

Item. I give and bequeath to my loving wife, Elizabeth West, the plantation I now live on during her natural life and after he decase, to my loving son, John West, him, his heirs or assigns as aforesaid.

Item. My will and pleasure is that after my just debts and legacies are paid, that my persoanl estate not given, except Pegg hereafter mentioned, be equally divided between my loving wife, Eliza and my loving son, John.

Item. I give grant and bequeath mulatto Pegg, during the time of her servitude to my wife, Eliza West, her heirs or assigns, whom I appoint constitute and ordain, whole and sole ex'x of this my last will and testament, revoking renouncing disproving and disannuling all other Testament or Testaments heretofore made if any such can be found, and I ordain my loving friend, Capt. Thomas Harrison and Wm. Simon, to be assistants unto my wife, Elizabeth West, and that my wife bring up and educate my son, John West, in the reformed religion according to the Doctrine of the Church of England and in case of failure, that my good friend the Reverend John Frazer, take special care of his sound education at the charge of the estate herein mentioned. This is my last will and testament. I publish, sign and seal this 16th day of Nov. Anno Dom. 1716.

John West

Signed, sealed and delivered in presence of us

James Turley, Lewis Saunders, David Annise, Mary Mitchison, Eliz. Woodward

At a Court held for Stafford County the 13 day of Febr in the year of our Lord 1716. The last will and testament of John West, Gent. dec'd, was presented in Court by Eliza West, widow, his ex'tx, who made oath thereto and being proved by the oaths of Lewis Sanderson, James Turley and Elizabeth Woodward, witnesses thereto is admitted to record and upon the motion of the said Elizabeth West and her performing what is usual in such cases, certificate is granted her for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.

Test. F. Fitzhugh, Clk Court

Research Notes

The following information was on a previous version of this profile. It needs reviewing and sourcing and moving to the correct profiles.

"John West III (1676-1734), son of Col. John West II, was a justice and sheriff of King and Queen County and a House of Burgesses representative for King William County.

"John West III lived at 'West Point', the seat established in Virginia by his grandfather, Governor John West. In 1692, he was appointed justice in King and Queen County and also as a sheriff of the county. He represented the newly formed County of King William in the House of Burgesses from 1702 to 1706 and was also a justice of the peace.

"On October 15, 1698, in Elizabeth City County, he married Judith Armistead, the daughter of Captain Anthony Armistead. They had the following children: (1) Major Charles West, who inherited the 'West Point' estate of some 4,000 acres (16 km2). Charles died unmarried and without issue. His will dated 1734 bequeathed 'West Point' to his first cousin Thomas West, the son of his uncle, Captain Thomas West. He served in the 3rd Virginia Regiment with the rank of major from February 1, 1777 to July 6, 1778. (2) Luranna West, married William Pace." Some family trees show as many as six more children.

Alternate Dates from Merges

Born 1657 in Pamunkey or, York, Virginia, United States
Died 1717 in Virginia, United States
Born 1650 in West Point, Gloucester, Virginia, USA
Died 1713 in West Point, King William, Virginia, USA
Born 1659 in King William, Colony of Virginia
Died 16 July 1713 in West Point, King William, Virginia
Died 1698 in West Point, Gloucester, Virginia, United States. Age: 47-48.


  1. William Deyo, Dec. 6, 1998. MORE DETAIL ABOUT THIS SOURCE SOUGHT.
  2. Charles M. Andrews, "Narratives of the Insurrections, 1575-90", Publisher? Date? page 25-26

See also:

  • Thomas Spalding, "The West Family of Stafford County, Virginia," in Owsley Family Historical Society Newsletter, March 1996
  • James Bish, "Hugh West and the West Family's Momentous Role in Founding and Developing Alexandria and Fairfax and Loudoun Counties, Virginia," in The Alexandria Chronicle, Spring 2010, pp. 1-26.
  • Find A Grave: Memorial #136257324 (This memorial is unsourced and conflates the son of Cockockoske with Major John West of Stafford County.)

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Do we need to save it? No one seems to have objected to the new bio, and if someone was really determined they could find it in the change log.
posted by Kathie (Parks) Forbes
HI Kathie, is this a temporary or permanent page?
posted by Jillaine Smith