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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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West, Robert

by Neil C. Pennywitt, 1996

1677–27 Mar. 1743

Robert West, member of the colonial Assembly and the Council, active in Indian affairs, and a militia officer, was born in Chowan County, the son of Robert and Martha West. After his father died in 1689, his mother reared Robert and his three brothers, Thomas, John, and Richard. Robert became involved in land speculation in the early eighteenth century and on 8 May 1713 was appointed a land appraiser for Chowan County, his first public office. Two years later he served as church warden of St. Paul's Parish, Edenton, and was elected a member of the Provincial Assembly, a post he filled until 1728. In 1716 he was granted 500 acres of land near Sandy Point on the northern side of Albemarle Sound. He was a justice of the peace for Chowan County from 1716 to 1727. West became active in Indian affairs, serving first as a commissioner to settle the boundaries of Tuscarora lands in 1722 and then as a commissioner to Indians in 1725. He was appointed the Indian commissioner for the province on 22 Jan. 1731 and held the position for five years. In 1717 West was commissioned a major in the militia and thereafter appears in public records as Major Robert West (as opposed to his son, Colonel Robert West, who made a name for himself in Bertie County beginning in the mid-1730s). Appointed to the Council in April 1724, West served until 1730. He was buried in the county of his birth.


Robert J. Cain, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Minutes, 1724–1730 (1981), Records of the Executive Council, 1664–1734 (1984), 1735–1754 (1988).

John L. Cheney, Jr., ed., North Carolina Government, 1585–1979 (1981).

William S. Price, ed., North Carolina Higher-Court Minutes, 1709–1723 (1974).

William L. Saunders, ed., Colonial Records of North Carolina, vol. 1 (1886).


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