Westovers of the 17th Century
Westovers of the 17th Century

The birth of Gabriel Westover II in 1593 brings us to the close of the 16th century and opens the book to a new 100 years.  And an eventful one at that.  We are still in the town of Taunton (which is more like a bustling city by this time). 

29 July 1618: Gabriel II marries Joanne Gifford (born 1598 to George and Joan Gifford).  Here is a notation of their marriage: gabrielandjoanna
They had six sons and two daughters noted.

9 May 1619: John born in Taunton

29 June-1 July 1619: Gabriel appears at the General Sessions Court regarding an apprentice, as noted in the Somerset Quarter Sessions. "6. Margaret Legge, having become an idiot, and having other infirmities, is discharged from her apprenticeship with Gabriel Westover and Joan, his wife, who are to pay thirty shillings to the overseers of the parish in Taunton where the said Margaret, as being her birthplace, is the be provided for."  At this time I haven't been able to discover for what Margaret Legge was apprenticing for. 

10 September 1620
: Joane born in Taunton

22 May 1622: Gabriel III born in Taunton

7 March 1624: Richard born in Taunton

1 March 1626: Jane born in Taunton

4 May 1628: Jonas born in Taunton

2 March 1634: Samuel born in Taunton

8 Jan 1637: Joshua born in Taunton

August 1670: Gabriel dies in Taunton.  There is no will or gravesite known at this time, though according to a couple of sources an inventory of his property MAY still be found at the Somerset Archdeconry of Taunton Inventories in England.

22 April 1692: Joanne dies in Taunton.  Again, no will or gravesite known at this writing. 

    Here's where things get a bit dicey.  Some records show thier son, Jonas, is the one who immigrated to the States.  However, the math doesn't work well due to documentation in Connecticut that we will see later.  I have found that Gabriel and Joanne's oldest son, John, also had a son named Jonas and this Jonas is far more likely to be the first American Westover.  So we are going to see John's family first:

About 1640: John marries Sarah DeBolt in Taunton

4 May 1641: Jonas (or Jonah) is born in Taunton

16 May 1649: John dies in Taunton.  No burial or will found at this time.  There are no records of Sarah's death, burial or will either; nor is there anything regarding other children they may have had.

    As we can see, Jonas' father died when he was only 8.  There aren't any records of his mother outside of family lore, so we have no idea if this left him orphaned or not.  Royal Ralph Hinman wrote in his book, A Catalogue of the Names of the Early Puritan Settlers of the Colony of Connecticut, that Jonas (or Jonah) was brought from Taunton at the age of 11 during time of Charles I's army gaining ground on Gen. Fairfax's Parliamentary army.  The Westovers were on the side of Parliament, and it was their intention to come over as a whole, but they couldn't get passage for everyone and sent Jonah alone.  They eventually remained in England as the war turned in favor of Parliament.  He is first reported in Windsor, Connecticut at the age of about 14.  We don't know what ship he came over on, or even the exact date when he did, only that he arrived through Massachusetts Bay and that he had an aunt, Jane Westover (married to William Williams 20 November 1647) who was living in Simsbury at the time of his arrival in Windsor.  Following is a listing of the whereabouts of Jonas according to many records:

1649: Jonas was reported in Windsor--- Particular Court of Connecticut, 7 June 1649: "Samuell Pond complaines against Jonas Westouer for misdeameanor.  Jonas Westouer acknowledgeth himselfe bound to this Commonwealth ina Recogniscace of 20l and John Bissell and Robert Haward in a Rocogniscance of 10l a peece, provided that the said Westouer appeares at the perticular Courte in September next and carry good behavious in the meane time."  Mr. Bissel and Mr. Haward became Jonas' bondsmen.  The infraction Mr. Pond was complaining about is unknown.

6 Sept 1649: Jonas returned to court: Vol.I pg195, Particular Court of Connecticut "This Courte frees Jonas Westover and his security from theire and either of theire Recogniscances, for Westovers appearance and good behavior."  

1654: Jonas is mentioned in family lore being with his aunt in Simsbury about this time.

20 May 1658: Jonas is back in a Windsor court, being made a Freeman (Vol.I, pg 315, Particular Court of Connecticut).  He is now a man unto himself, enjoying all the civil and political rights that he did not have as he was indentured to someone (who is currently unknown at this time, though the same John Bissel listed above was sitting in court when he was freed, so perhaps he was the one?)

1661: A lot in the Bowfield district of Windsor was granted to Jonas, though it was never used by him.

19 November 1663: Jonas marries Hannah Griswold (born 19 June 1642 Warrickshire, England to Edward and Margaret) in Hartford, Connecticut.  Their children are listed in the timeline.

17 October 1664: Jonas signs a church petition in Windsor asking for church privleges and baptism for their children:  (sic) "That whereas, we whose names are subscribed being Professors of the Protestant Christian Religion, Members of the Chuch of England and subjects to our Sovereign Lord Charles the Second, by God's Grace King of England etc., and under these sacred ties mentioned and maintained in our covenant sealed with our baptism, having seriously pondered on our past and present want of those ordinances which to us and our children as members of Christ's visible church ought to be administered.  Which we apprehend to be to the dishonor of God and the obstruction of our own and our children's good (contrary to the pious will of our Lord the King, and his main purpose in settling these plantation, as be the Charter and His Majesty's letter to the Bay June 26, 1662, and thereways is most evidently manifested) to our great grief, the sense of our duty towards God, the relation we stand in to our mother the Church, our grateful acceptation of His Majesty's Royal favor, the edification of our own and our children's souls, and many other good Christian and profitable ends (as also at a late session of this honored assembly having secured a favorable encouragement from the Worshipful Deputy Governor) hereunto moving us, we are bold by his own address to declare our aggreviance and petition for a redress of the same.  Our aggreviance is, that we and ours are not under the due care of an Orthodox ministry, that will in a due manner administer to us those ordinances that we stand capable of, as the baptising of our children, our being admitted (as we according to Christ's order may be found meet) to the Lord's Table, and a careful watch over us in our way and suitable dealing with us as we do well or ill, with all whatsoever benefits and advantages belong to us as members of Christ's Visible Church, which ought to be dispensed by the officers of the same, of which being destitute we humbly request, that the Honored Court would take into serious consideration our present state in this respect, that we are thus as sheep scattered having no shepherd and compare it with what we conceive you cannot but know, both God and our King would have it different from what it now is, and take some speedy and effectual course for redress therein, and put us in a full and free capability of enjoying those aforementioned advantages which to us as Christ's Visible Church do of right belong, by establishing some wholesome law in this Corporation, by notice whereof, we may both claim and receive of such officers, who are or shall be by law set over us in the Church or Churches where we have our abode or residence these forementioned privileges and advantages.  Futhermore we humbly request that for the future, no law in this Corporation may be of any force to make us pay or contribute to the maintenance of any minister or officer of the Church that will neglect or refuse to baptise our children and to take care of us, as of such members of the Church as are under his or their charge or care.  That in hopes that your careful and speedy consideration and issue hereof, will be answerable to the weight of the matter, and our necessities and that matters of less ? may be omitted till this be issues.  We wait for a good answer, and for this Honorable Court we shall ever pray, etc.  Signed, William Pitkin (Hartford); Michael Humphrey (Windsor); John Stedman (Hartford); James End (Windsor); Robert Reeve; John Moses (Windsor); Jonas Westover (Windsor).  October 17, 1664"

20 Sept 1664: A one Jonas Westover, son of Jonas was baptized in Windsor.

1664: Moved to Killingworth, Connecticut where Hannah's family helped establish a colony.  Jonas chose a home lot next to his brother-in-law Samuel Buel and father-in-law Edward Griswold somewhere off of current day E. Main in Clinton, CT.

1665: Jonah became a member of the First Church of Killingworth.

19 Feb 1666: Margaret born in Killingworth

8 April 1668: Hannah born in Killingworth

1669: Listed as a freeman of Killingworth

3 May 1670: Elizabeth born in Killingworth

22 March 1672: Jane born in Killingworth

About 1674: Mary born in Killingworth

1675: The Westover family moves to Simsbury, Connecticut.  They had purchased land from Capt. Benjamin Newberry, and the area has come to be known as "Westover Plain" (located near current-day Hoskins Rd and Hopmeadow St).

1676: Sarah born in Simsbury.

1678: Jonathan born in Simsbury.

1680: Joanna born in Simsbury.

1694: Jonas noted as having taxes laid against him.

1696: Jonas noted as having minister's rates laid against him, he being among the top 4 largest taxpayers.

May 1697: Vol.III pg 214, Particular Court of Connecticut "Elizabeth Terry widdow petitioned this Court that they would ease her of the great burden of fence tha tis laid upon her husbands lands at Symsbury; also Jonas Westover, Thomas Barber senior, John Slater senior, Peter Buel, Robert Hoskin, John Hill, petitioned this Court for abatement of common fence laid upon then by a committee appointed by the General Court in the said town of Symsbury.  This Court having considered the pleas of the said petitioners, doe not see cause to release any of the inhabitants of Symsbury from the former settlement of their common fence by the said committee.  This Court also imposed a fine of fortie shillings upon John Vmphrie of the said town of Symsbury for breaking down some part of the common fence, halfe thereof to be to the said Mrs Elizabeth Terry and the other halfe to the fence-viewers of said town."

: Jonas noted as again having minister's rates laid against him.

20 September 1702: Jonas writes his will.  The text follows (sic):
    I, Jonah Westover, Sen. being very sicke, do make this my last will and testament.  I give to my wife 10 pounds out of my personal estate; also the house and household goods that are necessary for her use during life; also 1/3 part of my land to her orer during life; also all my land that I stand possessed of, I give to my two sons Jonah and Jonathan, to be equally divided between them; also my housing, after their mothers decease.  I do will unto my daughters that each of their portions (with what they have received) shall be 15 pounds.  What has been paid to my daughters already: to Margaret, 5 pounds; to Hannah, 3 pounds; to Jane, 2-12-06; to Mary 9:00-06.  I appoint my son Jonah and my son-in-law Samuel Case to be my executors.  And as for my son Jonathan and my daughter Johanna, they shall be paid their portions as they come to lawful age.
    Dudley Woodbridge.
    Nathaniel Holcomb, Sen

    Jonah Westover

15 Jan, 1709: Jonas dies in Simsbury.  The specific location of his burial is unknown, though likely in the Simsbury Center Cemetery, as that was the town burial ground at the time.

3 May 1714: Hannah dies in Simsbury.  Again, specific location of burial unknown.  Her will dated 1 Aug 1713 is probated 6 May 1714 be Richard Case and Jonathan Westover.
"In the name of God, amen.  I Hannah Westover of Symsbury, the County of Hartford and Colony of Conecticut, relict to Jonah Westover of Town, County and Colony aforesd. decd., being weak and sick in body, yet of sound mind and judgement and of perfect memory, do dispose of what I have: First of all and principally, I give and bequeath my soul to God that gave it, and my body to Christian burial.  And touching my worldy goods, I give in manner following: First I give and bequeath to my six daughters 40 shillings to each daughter, and the remainder, if any be, to be equally divided to my daugher Hannah Averd and my daughters Mary Case, Jane Byington and Johanna.  2. To Jonah, my stack of rye.  3. I give also to my daughter Johannah my biggest pig, and the smaller pig I give to my son Jonathan.  August the first, 1713.  This being my will and testament, I set to my hand this first day of August, 1713.  Witness: John Slater and Samuel Addams.  Signed Hannah Westover."  Property value assessed at 17.12.03. (Source: A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records: Harford district, 1700-1792, pages 326-327)

    Jonas II's life was not quite as adventurous as his father's, but just as well documented.  He remained in Simsbury, helping to maintain a township that was under strain from the Native raids on a semi-regular basis.  As far as what he did for a living, it is just as uncertain as his father, but we know that he was just as well off.  Our first date we're going to see is of 28 week-old Jonas visiting the physician:

1665: "Jonas Westover 28 weeks, son of Jonas of Windsor and grandchild of Edward Griswold, was treated" by Dr. John Winthrop, as noted in his medical journal.

1697: As one of the donors to the ordination expenses for the First Church of Christ of Simsbury, he gave 84lbs. of beef and 3lbs of butter.

1697-1710: Listed as a member of the First Church of Christ of Simsbury

1 September 1701: marries Abigail Case (born 4 May 1682, Simsbury to John Case and Sarah Spencer) in a double wedding with her brother, Richard Case.  Their children are listed in the timeline.

1702: Abigail born in Simsbury.

1703: Nathaniel born in Simsbury

1705: Sarah born in Simsbury (dies before 1724, as she was not in the will)

1708: Jonah born in Simsbury

November 1711: John born in Simsbury

1714: Hannah Griswold-Westover dies, and Jonas inherited the land outlined in his father's will. 

3 June 1714: Jonas dies.  Burial location is also unknown, though as with his father's burial, he and his wife are likely in the Simsbury Center Cemetery (at the time of this writing, I have yet to find an adequate compilation of interments there).  He did have a will probated.

28 June 1714: Jonas' will probated by John Case, Samuel Case and Jonathan Westover.  Court records show on 2 Aug 1714 it granted "letter of Adms. unto Abigail Westover of Simsbury, widow of sd. decd".  Records then show in 2 Feb 1724 that
"Mrs. Abigail Westover, Adms., exhibits an account of her Adms., which this Court accepts.  Order to dist. the estate: To Abigail Westover, widow, 10-11-00.  To Nathaniel Westover, eldest son, 87-16-10.  To Jonah, John and Abigail Westover, to each, 43-18-05.  And appoint Thomas Holcomb, Joseph Case and Nathaniel Holcomb, distributors.  This Court appoint Abigail Westover of Simsbury to be guardian unto her sons: Jonah, about 16 years of age (he desiring the same), and John, about 13 years."  Property value assessed at 253.19.01.  (Source: A Digest of the Early Connecticut Probate Records: Hartford district 1700-1792, page 327)

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