Biography of James Monroe West
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James Monroe West, living two and one-half miles east of San Bernardino, on Third Street, is a pioneer of 1856. His native State is Alabama. He was born in Dallas County, October 23, 1825, and is the son of Simon and Nancy (Thompson) West, natives respectively of Tennessee and North Carolina. The father was born August 19, 1797, and the mother April 3, 1799. Simon West moved with his family to Mississippi in 1839, and died there in January 1884. The mother is still living in Itawamba County, Mississippi. They had ten children, of whom the subject of this sketch is the second. He was married in Mississippi, December 30, 1847, to Miss Adaline Weeks, who was born and reared in Marion County, Alabama, a daughter of Jephtha Weeks, a farmer and mechanic. He started to make the trip across the plains in 1856, and died in August of that year in Utah, of smallpox. Besides our subject and his family there were four other families that started at the same time. They left their homes in Mississippi on February 21, 1856, and arrived in Salt Lake on July 19 of the same year. Before reaching Salt Lake Mr. West’s oldest son, a boy of seven years, fell out of a wagon and was run over by his uncle’s wagon and almost killed. His uncle found a large blue bead in the road near where the accident occurred, and it was put on a string and given the boy as a plaything. He -had not played with it many days, however, until he took the small-pox, supposed to have been conveyed to him by the blue bead, and all of the party had it in a light form except Mr. Weeks, who died, as before stated.
September 8, 1856, they set out for California, and November 8, of the same year, they reached San Bernardino. They were delayed just ten days by a man purposely misdirecting them, having heard that it was a party that had the smallpox, and he afterward made a boast of it. After his arrival here Mr. West bought the land where he now lives, in partnership with his old neighbor, Mr. G. W. Sparkes. Mr. and Mrs. West have reared a family of nine children: Samuel M., Simon J., Sarah Jane, now Mrs. W. H. Mee; Martha Allen, who died at the age of seventeen years, five months and two days; James Monroe, Nancy Abigail, now Mrs. Charles A. Moore; Mary Elizabeth, wife of Frank Yager; Thomas Jefferson, now on the police force of San Bernardino, and George Washington.
Politically Mr. West affiliates with the Democratic party. He was nominated by his party for the office of superintendent of schools some years ago, which fact is mentioned to show the high regard his brethren had for him by bringing him forward for such a responsible position. In his vocation he has met with good success. He owns a farm well improved and productive. He is practically retired from active labor, and with the wife of his youth is enjoying the blessings which come only to those who have led industrious and temperate lives.