Westovers in Simsbury

The Puritans of Connecticut

From the Netherlands the Westovers began a migration westward. However, they could not afford to all go at one time so it was decided that Jane Westover would be the first of the family to set foot in the New World. She was just 16 years old when she arrived. A short time later, at around the age of 11, her little brother Jonah Westover arrive in the New World (1639). He would live a long life, establishing the family homestead on what would come to be known as Westover Plain near Simsbury, Connecticut. Jonah, or Jonas, as some records call him, married Hannah Griswold, daughter of an influencial man and neighbor, Edward Griswold. Jonah Jr., as a first generation American, would likewise make an impact on the New World and on Westover family history.

Westover Puritans

Puritans in Exile

Gabriel Westover Jr. and his wife Joanne Gifford had at least seven children. They lived at what would be considered center stage for the clashes between the Crown and the Puritans over the role of the Church of England and, specifically, of King Charles II. This Westover family, as with many other staunch Puritan families, relocated for a period of time to the Netherlands to escape the King’s tyranny. It was while they were living in the Netherlands that Gabriel and Joanne made the fateful decision to send at least two of their children to the New World.

Gabriel Westover Sr.

Gabriel Westover married Elizabeth Dawleigh in St. Mary Magdalene Church in Taunton, Somerset, England in 1592. Records are unclear just how big of a family Gabriel and Elizabeth had or even what they did for a living, though it is fair to assume they were country farmers just like previous generations. Gabriel only lived into his 30s.

Westovers in Somerset England

John of Wedmore

John Westover III continued where his father left off, achieving the class of husbandman. This gave him a little greater prestige and a slightly higher class of living. John married Johanna Clapp and together they raised a large family, including another son named John, whose descendants would famously become the country doctors of Wedmore in Somerset County, England. These Westovers, who remained in England, would make a name for themselves for their medical service. Their journals, kept for over a century, would be studied by modern medical scholars and historians well into the 20th century (and can be seen in our document archive). While the search is still on for all the children of John and Johanna Westover we do know through tax records that John had three cows named Lily, Sparkle and Pickle.

Westovers in England

The Country Farmer of Wedmore

John Westover II was born around the year 1501 and was a country farmer. John and his wife Alicia had five children that we know about — 2 boys and 3 girls.