Friday, January 30, 2015


I love this story for a number of reasons.

One is the writing style. The author Mark Tapley, couldn't have known it
but journalism was about to change in the next ten years. His writing style  is
Victorian, with words like "anon" and "thence" and phrases like "the sleep
that knows no waking."  The advent of World War 1 and then the era of
muckraking reporters would put an end to the florid style of the 19th century.

Another reason I like it is that it of course features my ancestor John West in
a heroic mode and told me something I hadn't known before I read it, that he
had a team of oxen, one of whom he had named Star, and that he delivered
supplies to a logging camp in winter when he couldn't farm.

I've pondered how Mark Tapley learned of the incident. John West had died in 1862,
forty-three years before the story was written,but five of his children were still alive
and living in the area. Since the it features John so prominently, I suspect it was either
my 2x great grandfather Jonathan P West or one of his brothers, Hiram or Asa, that was
Mr. Tapply's source.

There is another family member in the story, although he isn't mentioned much
in it; Enoch Abbott. Enoch was born in 1782, some twenty years before John West, and
already had grandchildren. One of them, Valora Abbott, would marry my 2x great granduncle
Leonidas West. They are the ancestors of my cousin Zac Anderson in Illinois and Yvonne
West Ball in Washington state.

My thanks to my Aunt Dorothy West Bargar who shared this clipping with me along with
many other things that got me hooked on genealogy!

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