Capt. John West

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Interim Gov of Virginia John West

Also Known As: "Captain"
Birthplace: Wherwell, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Death: March 1659 (64-72)
West Point Plantation, King William County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America
Place of Burial: King William, Virginia Colony
Immediate Family:

Son of Thomas West, 2nd Baron de la Warr and Anne Knollys, Baroness De La Warr
Husband of Anne West
Father of Col. John West, II
Brother of Elizabeth Pelham, “The elder”; Robert West, MP; Margaret Johnson; Thomas West, 3rd Baron de la Warre; Walsingham West and 12 others

Occupation: Governor & Captain General of Virginia (1635-1637), Member of the Virginia House of Burgesses (1628-30); Acting governor of colonial Virginia (1635-37)., Interim Gov of Virgina
Managed by: David Clifton Majors
Last Updated:

About Capt. John West

The colonial Governor of Virginia from 1635 to 1637, the third West brother to serve in that position.

He was the fourth son and twelfth child of Thomas West, 2nd Baron De La Warr, of Wherwell Abbey in Hampshire, and his wife, Lady Anne Knollys. - mentions marriage only to Anne Percy.

The Honorable John West (1590-1659), twelfth child of Sir Thomas West, Second Lord De La Warr, matriculated at Magdalen College 17 February 1608/9 and received the degree of Bachelor of Arts on 1 December 1613. He came to Virginia in 1618 and immediately associated himself with the military life of the colony. After the massacre of 1622 he commanded a company of men against the Indians. He was a member of the House of Burgesses in 1629-1630 and in 1634 a Justice of the Peace in York County. He was a member of the Governor'’s Council in Virginia from 1631 until the time of his death. Great unrest arose in Virginia in the spring of 1635, and the Council advised that Governor Sir John Harvey return to England, whereupon Colonel John West was elected Governor and Captain General of Virginia. He served until 18 January 1636/7, shortly after which he was appointed to the office of Muster Master General of Virginia by King Charles I of England.

In 1631 when the Council resolved to plant a settlement on the York River, Colonel John West was one of the first settlers to patent lands on King’s Creek, and shortly established himself at his plantation there (later known as “Bell-field”) where in 1632 was born his only child, John West Junior, being the first child of English parents born on the York River. Governor West sold this plantation in 1650 to Edward Digges, Esquire (Governor of Virginia 1655-1656), and moved to his plantation known to this day as West Point in the fork of the York River where he died in 1659.

Colonel John West died at his West Point plantation, 1659, and in March 1660, the House of Burgesses passed a Resolution of Good Will in recognition of "the many important favors and services rendered to the country of Virginia by the noble family of West, predecessors of Mr. John West, their now only survivor ..... It is ordered that the levies of the said Master West and his family be remitted, and that he be exempt from payment thereof during life".

(There must be some missing text; this seems to refer to Anne Percy, wife of John West?....)......"Governor John ..... many of her descendants that she was the only child of George Percy (1580-1632) (youngest son of Sir Henry de Percy, Eighth Earl of Northumberland) and his wife Ann Floyd, daughter of Nathaniel Floyd of Jamestown. George Percy came to Virginia in 1607 and returned to England in 1612, leaving his wife in Virginia.

Governor John West and Ann, his wife, had an only child, John West, Junior, mentioned in act of March 160?, as the only survivor (in Virginia) of the noble family of West; of him more subsequently."

More children are shown above...needs further research, though perhaps some were the children of John and his 2nd wife?...

Washington and Northern Virginia Company - Jamestowne Society - -

  • Served as Crown Governor of Virginia from 1635-1637.

Governor from 1635-1636

John West 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.

This James West is the Captain John West decease 1659 and so this particular slot on the tree should be deleted.

Mentioned in Chapter 4 of the National Park Service study on Wicocomico State Park/Capt John Smith of Purton State Park, archeaology report by Moretti  &  Langholts Archeology, Inc.  their study, online book via National Park Service free online book at []

    Date: 1613: Bachelor of Arts from Magdalen College, Oxford, 1 December 1613 [17] 
   Date: 1618 
   Event: Arrived in Virginia via. the "Bonny Bess". 
   Date: 1629 
   Event: Member, Va. House of Burgesses. 
   Date: 1630 
   Event: until his death in 1659, Member of Colonial Council. 
   Date: 1635 
   Event: to 1637, Gov. of Va. when Gov. Harvey expelled. 
   Date: 1637 
   Event: Commissioned by Charles II as Colony's Muster General. 
   Date: 1641 
   Event: Appt'd Marshall-General of Va. 
       Date: 1650 
   Event: Sold "Bellfield" and Moved to West Point. 
   Event: 12th child of Thomas West & Anne Knollys. 
   Event: Buried in chapel cemetery where 1st Baptist Church (West Point) I 
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Capt. John West's Timeline

December 14, 1590
Wherwell, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Age 16
Age 20
Virginia, Virginia Colony, VA
Age 33
June 6, 1632
Chicksack Bellfield Plantation, York River, New Kent County, Virginia, British Colonial America
Age 44
Virginia, USA
March 1659
Age 68
West Point Plantation, King William County, Virginia Colony, Colonial America
Age 68
Jamestown Church Cemetery, King William, Virginia Colony