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  • Peter West's Bible

    Anthony K. Van Riper

    Published Date : February 1985
    Peter6 West (1768-1829) was a sea captain who lived in the Town of Tisbury, Massachusetts; his lineage was George5, Peter4, Abner3, Thomas2, and Francis1 (Banks, Charles E., History of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Vol. III, p. 500-506).  Francis West was born in Salisbury, Wiltshire, about 1606 and had come to the Massachusetts Colony about 1640.  His son Thomas2 was born in Plymouth in 1646; by 1673 the elder West and his family had settled in Tisbury (Banks, Vol. II, p. 25-27).

    Peter West’s family Bible is in the collections of the Tisbury Museum in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts.  It is leather-bound, 9.25 by 12 inches, and is in poor condition, with the front cover detached and broken, some pages unbound and creased, and waterstained throughout.  It is a King James version, printed in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1791 by Isaiah Thomas, and sold “by him in Worcester, and by him and Company, at FAUST’S STATUE, No. 45, Newbury Street BOSTON.”

    Following page 1014 (the end of the Old Testament and the Apocrypha), there are four pages wherein the family records were to be kept.  The first two pages of the West Bible are partially filled - the first with births and the second with deaths.  The first page had been pre-printed so that the owner could fill in the proper blanks.  The holograph inscriptions are as follows, with preprinted words in italics:



    Peter West, born August 25, 1768, son of George and Mary West of Martha’s Vineyard was married to Sarah Daggett, born August 6, 1769, daughter of Isaac and Nabby Daggett of sd Vineyard on the 4 day of May, in the year 1788.  The time of the Births of their Children, and their Names are as follow, viz.

    Sarah West              born April 2 1791

    Charles West           Born March 1 1796

    Nath1 Tobey West   born May 19 1797

    Nabby West              born September 9            1798

    Mary Chase West    born July 4 1800

    Peter West, Jr.         born July 7 1803

    Peggey West           born March 5 1806

    [blank line]

    George West          born July 28 1808

    Jane West               born June 11 1812

    Overleaf is the following:


    Peggey West died October 14 aged 7 months & 9 days

    A son still born March 25 1807

    George West died August 2 aged 12 months, 4 days 1809

    Daughter still born December 24 1809

    Nathaniel T. West died March 13 1822

    Captain Peter West died May 13 1829 aged 60 years 8 months & 18 days

    Sarah Brush died May 19 1832 aged 42 years I month & 17 days

    Mary C. Carey deceased December 28 1843 aged 43 years 5 months and 24 days

    Elizabeth Carey, daughter of Captain David & Mary C. Carey deceased March 26 1842 aged 15 year 9 months

    Jane Harding died April 12 1852 aged 39 years 10 months 8 days

    These entries in the West bible confirm. and in one or two cases supplement, the printed vital records of the Town of Tisbury.  The death of Jane West Harding is a case in point, as it is not shown in Tisbury Vital Records.  The records, however, do list her marriage to Edward Harding on 5 May 1831, and further show that she had at least four children.  Twins, one male and one female, were born in 1843.  They were apparently never baptized, and it may be presumed they died in infancy.  A son, Edward L., was born in 1839, and a daughter, Deborah, in 1843.  It may be that the family moved “off-Island” prior to her death.

    Mary Chase West married sea captain David T. Carey (1798-1838) on 8 December 1822.  The Tisbury records show five children: David T. 1823, Elizabeth 1827, Mary A. 1830, Jane 1835, and David T. 1837. Only Elizabeth and Mary lived beyond infancy, and Elizabeth died at 15.

    Sarah West married Capt. Ebenezer Bradford Brush (1781-1822) of Boston on 8 May 1808.  He died in Matanzas, Cuba, probably while on a voyage.  Two sons are recorded: Thomas (1813- 1840), and Samuel N. (1821- ), who married Ann M. Dexter in 1847 (Tisbury Vital Records, 115 and 200).

    The deaths are entered in what appears to have been the same hand through the death of Sarah West Brush; following that entry the handwriting changes.  Neither does Sarah Daggett West’s death in 1838 appear, which strongly suggests that she herself had been the keeper of the family records.  The next entry comes five years after Sarah West’s death, and in another hand.

    Vital Records of Tisbury, Massachusetts, to the Year 1850. Boston, NEHGS, 1910.

    Banks, Charles F., History of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. 3 vols. Boston, 1911.

    by Anthony K. Van Riper, Vineyard Haven, Mass

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