Wilber West (1827-c1900) and Wife, Comfort Caroline Wells (1830-c1890)

From the Memoirs of Lenawee County, Michigan: from the earliest historical times down to the present, including a genealogical and biographical record of representative families in Lenawee County by Richard Illenden Bonner (born 1838), I found the following on pages 274-275 of my West family ancestor, Wilber West, son of Benjamin and Polly (Disbrow) West, and his wife, Comfort Caroline Wells.

Wilber West, retired, was born in Norwich, Ontario, Canada, on Feb. 23, 1827, the son of Benjamin and Polly (Disbrow) West.

The father [Benjamin West] was born in Dutchess county, New York, Nov. 14, 1782, and the mother [Polly Disbrow] on Sept. 27, 1789, in Connecticut. The home of the mother’s parents was near the scene of one of the battles of the Revolutionary war, a cannon ball passing through the house. The father of Mr. West came to Adrian in 1844, and subsequently purchased 160 acres in Raisin township, eighty acres of which the son, Wilber, now owns. The mother died on Jan. 31, 1849, and the father’s demise occurred on Oct. 6, 1859.

Wilbert West received his education in the public schools of Canada and Michigan, and has followed the occupations of farming and mechanic all his life. For six years he was employed by one of the large railway corporations, and four years of the time he had charge of various construction jobs. The Alexandria depot, thirty by eighty feet, the bridge over the White river north of Anderson, some 1,200 feet in length, the turntable and the four-stall roundhouse and the freight house and depot at Anderson are monuments to his ability. During his last two years he was superintendent of bridges and depots.

His wife’s brother, Allen G. Wells, was division superintendent of the road, and it was under him that Mr. West labored. While away on this work, the family continued to reside on the old homestead, and when he resigned his position with the corporation he returned to the farm and managed it until his retirement a few years ago, to enjoy the fruits of a well spent life.

In his political relations he has always been a staunch Republican, and has held various official positions. Before he was twenty-one years of age he was a school director, and has also been justice of the peace, highway commissioner and drainage commissioner. He is a free thinker in religious matters, believing that the standard of right living is not determined by the blind following of creed or sect.

Mr. West and his wife at one time were members of the local lodge of the State Grange at Wellsville, and he also belongs to the Masonic order.

On July 3, 1847, Mr. West was united in marriage to Miss Comfort Caroline Wells, born in New York state on June 4, 1830. Her parents came to Raisin township in 1839, and purchased 240 acres of land, where they lived for a number of years, and the mother of Mrs. West died there. Mr. Wells later removed to Blissfield, where he died.

To Mr. and Mrs. West came the following children to bless the union: Deborah May, born Oct. 3, 1848; James Alphonso, born Aug. 20, 1850, died in infancy; James Alphonso, born Dec. 19. 1852; John Alonzo, born July 24, 1860, died in infancy; Ida A., born May 23, 1862; Adella, born April 29, 1868; and John Alonzo, born Feb. 6, 1871.

John Alonzo, the youngest, is the only one of the children that now lives in Raisin township. In 1895 he accepted a position as brakeman on the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern railway but two years later he returned to the home farm. Subsequently he became a conductor on the Hocking Valley railroad, and held the position for a period of three years, resigning to return to the farm and take charge of its management. In politics, he is a Republican and has served the district as school moderator. In 1897 he married Miss Ella Morey, a daughter of Maximilian and Anna Morey, of Blissfield township, natives of France. John A. West is a member of the Knights of the Maccabees and of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen.

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Lorelle VanFossen hosts Family History Blog covering her ancestors and related family members. She is one of the top bloggers in the world, and host of the Lorelle on WordPress, providing WordPress and blogging tips for bloggers of all levels. A popular keynote speaker and trainer, she is also editor, producer, contributor, and official disruptive thinker for Bitwire Media which includes WordCast, Making My Life Network, Stories of Our Journeys, Life on the Road, WordCast Conversations, and the very popular WordCast Podcast.
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