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Washington & Northern Virginia Company -- Biographies of Ancestors of Members
John West

John West was born on 14 December 1590 in Hampshire, England, the fifth son of Sir Thomas West, second Baron De La Warr and Lady Anne Knollys, a cousin of Elizabeth I. A graduate of Magdalene College Oxford, he was one of four brothers who came to Virginia. These included Thomas West, Lord De la Warr, who was Virginia's first governor, and Francis West who was a later governor. John West arrived on the Bony Bess (sic) in 1618. After the massacre in March 1622 he commanded a company in attacks against the Indians.


He was elected to the House of Burgesses in the years 1628 to 1630, and then when lands became available upon the York River in 1630 he patented 600 acres at Chiskiack, east of Felgate's Creek, which land was later known as Bellfield, selling it after he left in 1650 to Edward Digges. He then moved to the area of the current city of West Point, Virginia, where in 1652 he patented 850 acres, subsequently in 1654 enlarging the patent to 3000 acres. Other patents included 1550 acres in 1651 along the south fork of the York River and 1000 acres on the northeast side of the Mattaponi River.

Very much a leader in the colony, he was a member of the council from 1631 to 1659, and a justice of York County in 1634. After the famous incident in which Governor Harvey was "thrust out" and sent back to England, John West being the senior member of the council was selected by the others and served as acting governor from May 1635 to January 1637. In 1637 together with four others he was ordered back to London to answer to the King for these activities but was cleared and in 1642 with Governor Berkeley's arrival was appointed at the king's direction to be Virginia's Muster‑Master.


He married Ann (surname unknown) and they had one child, a son named John bom in 1632. In 1659 John West died at West Point, and the following year the House of Burgesses passed a resolution in honor of John West and the noble West family, ordering that the heir, young John West, be exempt from paying all levies during his lifetime.

      1. "Adventurers of Purse and Person", 3rd Edition, revised and edited by Virginia M Meyer and John Frederick Dorman; Order of the First Families of Virginia, 1987
      2. "The Noble Lineage of the Delaware‑West Family of Virginia", by Ann Woodard Fox; SeeBode Printing Service, Memphis, Tennessee, 1958
      3. "Colonial Virginia", by Richard L. Morton; University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 1960, pp 123‑125, 139

Nov 05