Who Were the Immigrant Ancestors? # 5 George Westfall and ???

I’m on a mission to identify the immigrant ancestors in my family and my husband’s family.

These are the questions I’m asking:
* Who were our ancestors who first immigrated to the United States?
* How many of them have I already identified?
* Did the family follow a pattern of family reunification (what is being described negatively as chain migration) with one person or family arriving, getting settled, and sponsoring a family member or family unit?
* Can I determine (or make a good guess) about why they left their native country?
* How might our ancestors have fared if a merit-based policy had been in place at the time?

It was easy – so easy! – to identify the immigrant ancestors in my Grandmother Eveline’s line. Her parents! Joseph Coates. Mary Ann Harris. Mary Ann’s parents William Harris and Celia Jenkins. Easy peasy.

Turning to the line of Eveline’s husband, my grandfather Thomas Hoskins – I can only identify one: George Westfall (or Westall), my 4th great-grandfather.

“History of Perry County, Ohio” written in 1838, includes a biographical sketch of John W. Westfall, grandson of George.
” … George Westall, was born in London, England, and after a 42 days voyage, full of peril, landed in Rockingham county, Virginia, in time to serve in the Continental army as a drummer.”

Sometimes you have to take these county history bios with a grain of salt, but I tend to believe the naming of a grandparent as an immigrant. I looked some yesterday for a record of George serving as a drummer in the Continental army, but haven’t come up with anything to verify that yet.

It was finding transcribed letters online between George’s daughter, Hester Jane Westfall (my 3rd great-grandmother) and her sons that gave me the genealogy bug years ago. Thank you, Hester Jane and whoever kept those letters for posterity!

The rest of the immigrant ancestors in my grandfather Hoskins line are a mystery to me.

3rd great-grandfather John Franklin Bryan (married to George Westfall’s daughter) was born in 1794 in VA.

I have a 4th great-grandfather Jones Stokes born about 1775 in VA.

And I have a 3rd great-grandmother Mary Keeling born about 1794 in VA.

It’s the end of the line for now identifying the immigrant ancestors in my mother’s family line.

So a review of my mom’s family for immigrant ancestors yielded two “recent” coal mining immigrant families from England, some folks born here before 1800, one “confirmed” immigrant who may have arrived young enough to be a drummer boy for the Continental Army, and a bunch of unknowns.

Many of these families arrived before there was a formal immigration/documentation requirement.

I have one old photo from this side of the family: Jones Stokes’ granddaughter, Sarah Stokes. She was my 2nd great-grandmother.

The search continues …

Who were the Immigrants?
Who were the Immigrants? #1 Joseph Coates
Who were the Immigrants? #2 Mary Ann Harris, #3 William Harris, #4 Celia Jenkins

Treasure Chest Thursday – Bryan Family Bible

It took me a while to realize I had the Bible in my possession.

I had borrowed lots of pictures and papers that belonged to my Coates/Hoskins grandparents from my mom’s house. I was new to genealogy, and wanted to dig in and see what we had. I sorted though letters, pictures and other papers, putting them in page protectors and attempting to put them in some kind of order. I set books, Bibles and other odd-size items aside, put them in a box and ….. forgot about them.

I had seen the George Washington Bryan Bible referenced several times by other Bryan researchers and sometimes my grandfather, Thomas Hoskins, was named as the person who was in possession of the Bible and who had provided the information. I wondered what had happened to the Bible.

Time passed – probably a couple of years – and then one day I pulled out some of Grandma’s things again and found a big old Bible. It was in terrible condition – no front cover, stained, torn, falling apart. I was sure I had already looked through this Bible seeking clues. But this day I decided I had better look again.

Not a very pretty treasure, but there was gold inside.

There it was – the George Washington Bryan Bible – right in my grubby little hands.

George Washington Bryan was my 2nd great grandfather. I have never seen a picture of him, but it is my belief that the loveliest handwriting in the Bible belongs to him.

George Washington Bryan was born April 1, 1819 in Christian (now Todd) County, Kentucky, the 3rd of 12 children born to John Franklin Bryan and Hester Jane Westfall. He married Sarah “Sally” Stokes on June 9, 1842. The youngest of their 11 children, Sarah Elizabeth Bryan, was my great grandmother. My mother was about nine years old when Sarah Elizabeth died, and she doesn’t really remember her.

The front cover and the pages that follow are missing. The first page I have is page 7. Thankfully, the New Testament has it’s own “cover” page which dates the publication of the Bible to 1854 by the American Bible Society.

I don’t know how my ancestors came to be in possession of this Bible. They probably arrived in Ray County, Missouri in the spring of 1854. Right now, I’ll just assume that they received it after their arrival in Ray County as that seems most likely. The American Bible Society was expanding its reach in the rural areas of Missouri at the time. Something else to look into…

There are still the remains of the back cover and spine. It appears to be embossed leather.

What lurks inside the pages of the Bible? I tried to document it all and will share in the next few days.

Related posts:
A Letter from George Washington Bryan
In Praise of Women’s Bodies
Bryan Family Bible – The Best Laid Plans