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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
West

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1536-1538 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

The present is the third generation of this branch of the West family in the United States. None of the name, honorably as it has been borne, will be more gratefully remembered or tenderly cherished than Hon. George West, of Ballston Spa, New York.

George West was born in Brandon, England, February 17, 1823. He received a good common school education, and early in life began work in a paper mill, where he thoroughly mastered the various processes of making paper. He married, in England, in February, 1840, and having then reached his twenty-sixth year he came to the United States. For one year he was employed in New Jersey, then removed to Massachusetts, where he obtained a position in a large paper mill. He soon became manager of the mill, and in a very few years was admitted a partner. In 1861 he removed to Ballston Spa, New York, where he was superintendent of one of the large mills at Rock City Falls. It was now the period of the civil war, and the scarcity of cotton was being severely felt, particularly by the mills producing cotton bags; many mills closed, and the demand for flour sacks became very great. At this juncture Mr. West saw his great opportunity. Leasing an idle mill he announced that he would make bags of paper. All doubted that he could make them strong enough to carry in safety fifty pounds of flour. He very soon demonstrated that he could, and began the manufacture of manila paper bags, and employed Martin V. B. White, an ingenious mechanic, to make the first lot by hand. The bags were all that Mr. West claimed for them, and orders began to pour in. He erected a bag mill adjoining his paper mill at Rock City Falls, and with a slow hand process laid the foundation of his large business and fortune. After he had been operating by the hand process for several months, a man of ordinary appearance called at his office one day and told him he could construct a machine that would do the same work far more rapidly. Mr. West at once entered into a contract with his visitor to build such a machine in his mill. The man made his promises good, and within a few weeks the machine was in successful operation. The mechanical principle of his first bag-making machine is the same upon which the wonderful machines of to-day are built. Mr. West was the pioneer paper-bag manufacturer, a business which has grown to be one of the world's greatest industries. In 1862 he purchased the Empire Mill at Rock City Falls, and in 1866 built the Excelsior Mill, at the same point, and from time to time, as business increased, built or purchased additional mills along the stream. The death of John Howey, in 1875, compelled the sale of his four cotton factories, his mansion in Ballston Spa, and a large number of tenement houses. Mr. West became the purchaser of the entire estate. He converted one of the factories into a paper mill and one into a bag mill. When the Milton avenue factory was burned he replaced it with the large Union Mill. In 1880 he purchased the paper mill at Hadley on the Hudson, and erected another large mill. He was now the largest manufacturer of his specialties in the entire world. He owned and operated nine paper mills, a pulp mill and two mills making nothing but manila paper and paper bags. He admitted his son, George, and his son-in-law, Douglass W. Mabee, to the business, which in 1899 was sold in its entirety to the Union Bag and Paper Company, and Mr. West retired from active business after a career of unprecedented success. He died at his home on Milton avenue, September 20, 1901, in his seventy-ninth year.

He gave a great deal of time to the public service. In 1871 he was elected to the state assembly, and re-elected 1872-73-74-75; in 1881 was elected to congress and served two terms; was again elected in 1887. He spent eleven years in office and declined all further honors. He was an ardent Republican, and always retained an active interest in political affairs. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, his liberality enabling that society to erect, in 1892, their present fine church in Ballston Spa. He contributed one-half the cost, besides giving the pipe organ and other fixtures. He contributed a princely sum toward the erection of a fine museum building at Round Lake, New York, and provided an endowment fund for its permanent support. His liberality toward every worthy cause was very great, and he left behind a most gracious memory. He was large in physique as well as mentally. He accomplished much and left the world better for his having lived in it.

He married Louisa Rose, born in England; six children, three of whom lived to adult life, George, Walter S., and Florence L., who married D. W. Mabee, and has seven children: Louise, George, Walter, Florence, Alfred, David, Margaret.

(II) George (2), son of George (1) and Louisa (Rose) West, was born February 17, 1845, in Devonshire, England, died January 25, 1906. He was engaged with his father in the manufacture of paper all his life, and in later years was his partner. He was an eminently capable business man, and of fine mind and character. He married, June 13, 1870, Emily Hewitt, born May 3, 1848, daughter of Orrin and Cynthia (Hewitt) Hathorn, of Greenfield, Saratoga county, New York (see Hathorn VIII). Children: Fred Hathorn, Walter Scott, and George (3) West.

(The Hathorn Line)

This name is spelled either Hathorne, Hathorn or Hawthorne, by members of the same family, descendants of William and John Hathorn, of early colonial record. There have been many distinguished men who have borne the name, and the curse pronounced by the husband of a woman who was being tried for witchcraft before Judge John Hathorn in Salem, seems to have spent its force long ago. There are ugly records of these trials, but it is probably to this one that the traditional curse is traceable, the husband having exclaimed that God would avenge his wife's sufferings. William, the father of John Hathorn (also a magistrate), spent the force of his wrath against the Quakers, and was notorious for his remorselessness towards some of their women, "Annie Coleman and her four friends." Albeit, before being appointed a magistrate he had opposed the persecution of Quakers. Yet he is to be credited with the execution of John Flint for killing an Indian, and to the protest against English interference with the internal affairs of New England, which sounded a note of independence even at that early day.

(I) William and Sara Hathorn, of Bimfield, Berkshire, England, had eight children, three of whom, William, Eliza and John, emigrated to America. William, the eldest son, came over with Governor Winthrop's company in the "Arbella," and settled in Salem, Massachusetts, June 12, 1630. Eliza married ———— Davenport. John came over in 1635 and settled in Salem. William became a man of great importance in the colony. He was deputy to general court; major of the first regularly organized company, or train band, in Salem, and fought in the Indian campaigns; was also a magistrate and sullied his fair fame by cruelly persecuting the Quakers, although, from the Puritan standpoint, they were doing God and the church a service. He died in 1681, in his seventy-fourth year; will proved June 28, 1681. Children:

  1. A daughter, who married ————
  2. Helwise;
  3. Sarah, married, April 13, 1663, Joseph Coker;
  4. Eleazer, married Abigail, daughter of Captain George Curwen;
  5. Nathaniel, born August 11, 1639;
  6. John, see forward;
  7. Anna, married Joseph Porter;
  8. Captain William, married Sarah ————;
  9. Elizabeth, married Israel Porter.

(II) John, son of William and Anne (Davenport) Hathorn, was born August 4, 1641, died May 10, 1717. He was deputy, colonel, magistrate, judge, and a cruel and remorseless leader in the witchcraft persecution. Much as we may feel like condemning these men for their cruel and often inhuman treatment of those brought under their authority, all admit that they founded a state and reared a posterity that make glorious the pages of American history. John Hathorn was the ancestor of the gentle and gifted Nathaniel Hawthorne, of the sixth generation, who in later years wrote of his two earlier ancestors: "The present writer, as their representative, hereby takes shame upon myself for their sakes, and pray that any curse incurred by them, as I have heard, and as the dreary and unprosperous condition of the race for many a long year back would argue to exist, may be now and henceforth removed." Captain Daniel Hathorne, of the revolutionary army, and many, many others of note, also descend from John. He married, January 22, 1674, Ruth, daughter of Lieutenant George Gardner. Children:

  1. John (2), born January 10, 1675;
  2. Nathaniel, November 25, 1678; removed to Gosport, England;
  3. Ebenezer, see forward;
  4. Joseph, married Sarah, daughter of Captain Bowditch;
  5. Ruth, married James Putman;
  6. Benjamin.

(III) Ebenezer, son of John and Ruth (Gardner) Hathorn, was baptized March, 1685, and was of London, England, in 1726. He married Esther Witt and children were born to them.

(IV) Ebenezer (2), son of Ebenezer (1) and Esther (Witt) Hathorn, was baptized July 7, 1715. He was a soldier of the French and Indian war of 1755, and after the surrender of Fort William Henry by the English, was taken prisoner by the Indians and afterwards made his escape by strategy and fleetness of foot. He was a blacksmith by trade, and carried on business with his brother. They also manufactured steelyards. In 1755 he was constable, and from 1777 to 1796 highway surveyor and auditor. He married Keziah Collins, born October 11, 1730. They had three sons, all of whom were of Jaffrey, New Hampshire.

(V) Collins, son of Ebenezer (2) and Keziah (Collins) Hathorn, was of Jaffrey, New Hampshire. He was an enrolled soldier in 1784. He married Sarah Dean. Children:

  1. Benjamin, born 1761;
  2. Keziah, 1763;
  3. Collins (2), 1765;
  4. Sally, 1767;
  5. Hepzibah, 1768;
  6. William, 1772;
  7. Rebecca, 1774;
  8. Olive, 1776;
  9. Samuel, 1778;
  10. Polly, 1781;
  11. Seth, 1785.

(VI) Collins (2), son of Collins (1) and Sarah (Dean) Hathorn, was born in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. He was the first of his family to settle in New York state. (New Hampshire state papers, vol. 15, pages 216-217.) Payroll of Captain Salmon Stone's company, in Colonel Nichols' regiment, General Stark's brigade … which company marched from Rindge, in state, July 17, 1777, and joined the northern Continental army at Bennington and Stillwater; Collins Hathorn, private; ditto; an enrolled soldier in 1784. He married Annie Smith, and settled in Greenfield, Saratoga county, New York. Children:

  1. Seth, born May 2, 1797, died March 13, 1880;
  2. Lyman, March 2, 1801;
  3. Smith, July 8, 1804, died about 1890;
  4. Orrin, September 7, 1806, see forward;
  5. William, December 31, 1809;
  6. Phoebe, August 3, 1811;
  7. Henry Harrison, November 28, 1813, died February 20, 1887;
  8. James D., July 14, 1817.

(VII) Orrin, son of Collins (2) and Annie (Smith) Hathorn, was born in Greenfield, Saratoga county, New York, September 7, 1806. He was a farmer all of his life; he was a Baptist and a Republican. He married Cynthia Hewitt. Children: Charlotte, Henry, Fannie, Cordelia, Emily H. and Isaac.

(VIII) Emily Hewitt, daughter of Orrin and Cynthia (Hewitt) Hathorn, married George (2) West (see West II).

John Hathorn, "distinguished in civil and military affairs." (See Farmers' General Register of First Settlers of New England.) William Hathorn (and brother), in 1645, agent to treat with D'Aulnay, French agent. at St. Croix; deputy general court Massachusetts; first speaker; served in King Philip's war; ordered sent to England by Charles II. in 1660. (See Appleton's American Biography.)

John Hathorn, great-grandson of John (II) Hathorn, although not in the line direct of Emily H. Hathorn West, was colonel of Orange County Militia, Fifth Regiment, New York; was successively captain, colonel, brigadier and major-general; his military service covered a period of many years, 1775-1812; commanded at Minisink; member New York assembly, 1777-87; speaker of the assembly that met in New York in 1784; state senator, 1787, and in 1804 presidential elector; member of congress, 1789-91, and from 1795 to 1797.

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