This tombstone was photographed at the Chester Village Cemetery at Chester, New Hampshire.
Wilkes West was the son of Thomas West and Mary Herrick, born in Beverly, Massachusetts. Wilkes West married first to Phebe Dearborn, who died in 1783. He married second Hannah Forsaith, daughter of Deacon Matthew Forsaith and Esther Graham. He had nine children by his first wife and four by the second!
Wilkes West settled in Chester in 1756 and was a carpenter and cabinet maker. He joined the New Hampshire company of Captain Stephen Dearborn under Colonel Thomas Stickney in General Stark's Brigade, which marched from Chester to join the Northern Continental Army in 1777. He participated in the Ticonderoga Expedition f 1775, which was a turning point when the American troops defeated the British and took the cannons to defend Boston.
Wilkes West's father, Thomas West (1707 - 1745), is one of my first cousins 9 generations removed. His grandfather, Thomas West (1641 - 1723) is my 9th great grandfather. Wilke's unusual first name comes from his great grandmother, Mary Wilkes(1651 - 1702), who married Isaac Woodbury.
I was born in Beverly (just like all these other West's) and we used to walk on West Beach, which was part of the land owned by the original West family in Beverly, deeded to John West in 1666. Author John Updike would also walk there, and we would run into Senator and Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge on the beach with his dogs. Henry Fitz Lane painted a landscape of West Beach that was sold at auction in 1997 for $3.85 million. It is fun to find a distant West cousin from Beverly buried near where I now live in New Hampshire!
Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo