Settlers and Patriots

Rural Sheffield, Massachusetts as it appears today.

Rural Sheffield, Massachusetts as it appears today.

America was the frontier and it indeed did prove a land of opportunity for the Westover family. For the next 100 years the Westovers would become fixtures in New England and would enjoy prosperity.

Jonas married in 1663 to Hannah Griswald, daughter of a prominent family in Windsor, Connecticut. Shortly after their first born, Jonah, was born, the Westovers moved to and help establish the new settlement of Killingworth, a community still embedded with the Westover name on schools, roads and landmarks. Probate records reveal that Jonas, when he died, had become of a man of substantial means.

Jonas’ children and grandchildren would marry others of pilgrim and puritan stock of the area, giving the family several historic lines dating back to the Mayflower and beyond. Jonas Jr., the eldest born son of Jonas and Hannah, married late in life but figured prominently in the family’s future. Both he and is wife, Abigail, died suddenly in 1714 — leaving their children orphaned. It was then left to another son of Jonas Sr. to keep the family together — the unmarried-at-the-time brother named Jonathan Westover.

Jonathan moved the family to a new homestead in southern Massachusetts called Sheffield and continued to grow the Westover name by caring for his nieces and nephews and eventually marrying and raising a family of his own.

It was John Westover, son of Jonas Jr and nephew to Jonathan, and his brothers Jonah and Nathaniel, who would raise a prodigious generation of children who would face the American Revolution.

But like their grandfathers, the children of John and Rachel Westover found themselves embroiled in the politics of the time.

As the American Revolution approached the Westovers, living in the very hotbed of the revolution, would have to decide who to give their loyalties to and that would affect their future.

Several of the children of John and Rachel served on the side of the colonies but it was a house divided among the Westover boys, each given very Biblical names.

This led to a split and a scattering in the family after the Revolution, with those loyal to the crown leaving for land grants in Canada by the King and those newly minted Americans heading south into New York, Pennsylvania and beyond.

Torn between the two was Amos, the youngest of the seven sons of John and Rachel, who was only in his early 20s at the time of the Revolution.

For a time he too ventured into Canada to see what the king could offer but opted to return, heading with his bride and children eventually to frontier Ohio, where the stage was set for future generations of Westovers to continue to push West.

John Westover (1711-1784)
Amos Westover (1752-1822)

Written by: Jeff Westover

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