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Westover History Timeline
A brief video tour of Westover Family History
There is scant proof that the start of the Westover family came from German royalty. While that research is ongoing we pick up the story from where we can definitely document it:
It begins with the country farmers of the Westover family in Southwest England around the year 1500.
From them would come generations of the Westover Family who would prosper in the UK, in Australia and in the New World – America.
We encourage you to click through this brief timeline synopsis of the Westovers through the centuries and to explore in greater depth the information we have been able to compile and share here from all sides of the family.
John Westover III would raise a large family of distinction. His namesake, another John Westover, would become a country doctor whose works in community medical service would be studied by British historians centuries later. The Westover doctors of Wedmore would treat patients in Southwest England for well over a century. Their story is available for download in our Documents archive.
Another son of John Westover III, whose name was Gabriel, would go another direction.
Powered by faithful convictions this Bible-reading branch of the family would endure life of the frontlines of the clashes between the Crown and the Puritans of Southwest England. Gabriel would pass at a fairly young age in his 30s but his son, also named Gabriel, would continue as an active participant in Puritan causes. Like many, the Westovers of Taunton, England were exiled for a time in the Netherlands.
It was from there that Gabriel made the decision to send two of their children to the New World. One, their son Jonah, was only 11 years of age. He would become the patriarch of the Westover clan in America.
Gabriel Westover Jr. intended for his entire family to eventually move to the New World. But when the reign of King Charles II ended the Westover family returned home, leaving Jonah and his older sister Jane to blaze a new trail for the family in North America.
Jonah would come of age, become a freeman in 1659 and build his plantation as an original settler of Simsbury, Connecticut. Against all odds Jonah raised a good-sized family and lived to the unheard of age of 80 years. It was his son, Jonah Jr, who was the first born of the Westover family in North America.
Jonah Westover, Jr. was a long-time bachelor, due to his service in the local militia. In time he married Abigail Case, daughter of another prominent Simsbury settler, and raised his own family.
In 1714 tragedy struck the family. Jonah was gone by this point but it was in this year that his wife, Hannah passed away.
Then, within weeks, his son Jonah Jr and daughter-in-law Abigail died as well, effectively leaving their children as orphans. Uncle Jonathan Westover, who followed his older brother in delaying marriage and serving in the militia, stepped in to lead the family. He took them west to the far flung frontier of Western Massachusetts.
It would not be the last time that Westover brothers would serve each other.
The grandchildren of Jonah Westover became the stalwart citizens of Sheffield, Massachusetts. The three youngest sons of Jonah Jr — Jonah III, Nathaniel and John — would flourish in this new frontier.
They settled into roles of road building, tavern keeping and church service while raising very large families that were central to the operation of successful farms. These large families would have children who mostly came of age at the time of the American Revolution.
Due to their devotion to the Church of England these Westovers were loyalists. But being born in the colonies meant they fought alongside other patriots. This complicated arrangement coupled the with dangers of the time scattered the Westover children to new frontiers.
Some fled north in to Canada. Others branched out to others areas in New England. While others pushed west as part of a mighty family work they may were only beginning to understand.
It was a pioneering effort of faith — one that would forever change the course of Westover family history. It largely came about because of the strong women of the family:
The youngest son of John and Rachel Westover of Sheffield, Massachusetts was named Amos. Together with his wife, Ruth, and his children, these Westovers tried first living in Canada, then Vermont, before finally pushing to the newest frontier in Ohio.
It wasn’t easy. In fact, they got such a late start that Amos and Ruth did not live long enough to see their homestead succeed. It was their son, Alexander, who would marry Electa and begin a new generation of Westover family in what was then considered the West.
It never got easier. Alexander died young and his children scattered. It seemed for a time to be a dead-end for the Westover family.
A new faith changed all of that under the direction of Electa Westover.
Electa’s trials of faith extended to her oldest son Edwin, who lost his first wife shortly after their first child was born.
As the Westovers embraced a bold new American religion that cast the family into roles of westward pioneers in the mid-19th century the family would expand by marrying into families from other nations. These blended and sometimes plural marriage arrangements made for inspiring stories of resilience and endurance in the wilderness of the West.
Though far from perfect these Westover families sunk deep roots on the American frontier that thrive even today:
Edwin would become the father of 19 and the head of a prolific branch of the Westover family.
The Westover family grew not only by having children but by also embracing a sacred practice of plural marriage. Scorned upon by society and cast out to the far reaches of the Western frontiers the family practicing plural marriage often found themselves alone or in exile.
There are many stories from these years. Edwin Westover entered into plural marriage in 1856 and for many years managed two families at opposite ends of the territory.
His plural wife, Ann Findley Westover, born in Scotland, pushed a handcart across the plains with her parents, married Edwin the following winter and raised five children largely without him.
Her story is one of endurance and legendary family service:
Ann Findley Westover’s children would have to find their way in post-Civil War times. For most, that meant homesteading a hostile frontier.
Her oldest son, William, became the man of the family around the age of 8 when Ann took her children to live near her aging parents after her brother unexpectedly passed away. William would never know a lazy day the rest of his life as the burden of farming and providing would be his from that point forward.
After waiting through seven years of courtship William was finally able to marry his sweetheard, Ruth, and they left Mendon Utah for Rexburg, Idaho.
William would tragically die young due to stomach cancer in the year 1903. But after years of trial and toil he had finally secured what he hoped would be an anchor for his family moving forward: the Westover Family Ranch. The ranch remains a base for the Westover family even today:
Those left to tend the ranch after William’s passing went on to experience the 20th century in all it’s wonder. They became builders and teachers, farmers and rocket scientists. They would continue to raise Westover families all over the American West.