Robert J. West1,2

ID# 3434, (bt 1780 - 1790 - 1851)
FatherGeorge West3 (1758 - 28 Jun 1810)
MotherElizabeth [surname unknown]3 (1766 - 30 Apr 1817)

Key Events:

Birth: between 1780 and 17904,5,6,7
Marriage: Nancy Dortch (about 1795 - after 1862)8,9
Death: Nov 185110

Copyright Notice

Narrative:

     Robert J. West was born between 1780 and 1790.4,5,6,7
     In the late 1790's Robert rode on horseback from his native North Carolina to claim a land grant of several hundred acres in the Yellow Creek valley in the area now part of Dickson and Houston counties in Tennessee. In 1812 he built a large brick mansion on a site overlooking the valley, which he called "West Point."11
     Robert married Nancy Dortch, daughter of Capt. Isaac Dortch and Martha Norfleet.8,9
     He appeared on the 1820 Federal Census of Dickson Co., Tennessee, with a household consisting of two males under age 10, one aged 10 to 16, and two aged 26 to 45 (himself and another), five females under age 10 (daughters Mary, Arabella and Ann and two others), one aged 10 to 16, and one aged 16 to 26 (wife Nancy), as well as fifteen male and twelve female slaves.12
     Robert appeared on the 1830 Federal Census of Dickson Co., Tennessee, with a household consisting of one male under age 5, two aged 5 to 10, one aged 20 to 30, and one aged 40 to 50 (himself), one female under age 5 (daughter Elizabeth), two aged 10 to 15 (Arabella and Ann), and one aged 15 to 20 (Mary), and one aged 30 to 40 (wife Nancy), as well as twenty male and fourteen female slaves.13
     He appeared on the 1840 Federal Census of Dickson Co., Tennessee, with a household consisting of one male aged 10 to 15 (probably son Robert though he was only 9), two aged 15 to 20, one aged 30 to 40, and one aged 50 to 60 (himself), one female aged 5 to 10 (probably daughter Louisa or Sally), two aged 10 to 15 (Elizabeth and Martha), and one aged 40 to 50 (wife Nancy), as well as fifteen male and twelve female slaves.14
     His property in the Yellow Creek valley was fertile and rich in iron ore, and he built what was described in contemporary newspapers as a "farming and mining empire." At the height of his prosperity he owned over 15,000 acres and mineral rights on thousands of adjacent acres.11 The 1820 census shows eight members of the household engaged in agriculture, and none in commerce or manufacturing, while the 1840 census shows 10 engaged in agriculture, and none in mining, commerce, or manufacturing.12,14
     Robert engaged in a partnership with his son-in-law, Quintus C. Atkinson, for "some years" before the partnership was dissolved on 1 Jul 1848. They jointly owned the Sailors Rest Furnace on Yellow Creek in Montgomery Co. and Dickson Forge, formerly Jackson Forge, on Yellow Creek in Dickson Co. Those ventures included about 15,000 acres in some 32 parcels in Montgomery, Dickson, and Stewart Counties, mainly for use as ore beds. There were also 43 slaves, a store, wagons and teams, carts and oxen, cattle and hogs, and a leather-tanning yard. The partnership also owned three lots in Memphis and an agency there for the sale of iron castings and merchandise. That venture included two more slaves. Under the agreement to dissolve the partnership, West kept all the furnace and forge business, including all the land, slaves, livestock, goods on hand, and debts owed the firm. Atkinson kept the Memphis property and business, including stock on hand, the two Negroes, Hastings and Simeon, and debts owed to that business.15
     Robert died in Nov 1851.10

Children:
     Children with Nancy Dortch:

  • Mary West16 (1813 - 1840)
  • Arabella C. West17,16 (abt 4 Jun 1815 - 25 Nov 1837)
  • Ann D. West16 (1818 - 15 Feb 1840)
  • Elizabeth C. West16 (15 Feb 1826 - 16 Jun 1847)
  • Martha J. West16 (10 Oct 1830 - 20 Oct 1857)
  • Robert J. West Jr.16 (1831 - 29 Nov 1853)
  • Isaac D. West16 (abt 1832 - )

Citations

  1. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 629, shows name as Robert J. West.
  2. [S645] Titus, Picturesque Clarksville, pg 300, shows name as Robert West.
  3. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 630.
  4. [S1290] Robert West household, 1820 U.S. Census, Dickson Co., Tennessee, shows the only two adult males in the household as age 26 to 45.
  5. [S1291] Robert West household, 1830 U.S. Census, Dickson Co., Tennessee, shows two adult males, one aged 20 to 30, and one aged 40 to 50. The older would appear to be Robert, based on the 1820 census.
  6. [S1292] Robert West household, 1840 U.S. Census, Dickson Co., Tennessee, shows two adult males, one aged 30 to 40, and one aged 50 to 60. The older would appear to be Robert, based on the 1820 census.
  7. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 630, shows born ca 1778.
  8. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 631.
  9. [S645] Titus, Picturesque Clarksville, pg 300.
  10. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 639.
  11. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 629.
  12. [S1290] Robert West household, 1820 U.S. Census, Dickson Co., Tennessee.
  13. [S1291] Robert West household, 1830 U.S. Census, Dickson Co., Tennessee.
  14. [S1292] Robert West household, 1840 U.S. Census, Dickson Co., Tennessee.
  15. [S1227] Deed Books, Shelby Co., Tennessee, , bk 3, pp 597-604, repeated at bk 42, pp 258-66, Q. C. Atkinson and Robert West (14 Aug 1849), recounts the partnership and assigns the various properties to the two parties; also bk S pg 59, William Lawrance to Q. C. Atkinson and Robert West (29 May 1845), records the sale of one of the Memphis lots to the partnership.
  16. [S3375] Nesbitt, The Primal Families of the Yellow Creek Valley, pg 634.
  17. [S2028] "Married," National Banner and Nashville Whig, 23 Dec 1835, reporting marriage of Quintus C. Atkinson and Miss Arabella C. West, shows her as the daughter of Col. Robert West of Dickson Co.