Sunday, April 22, 2012

Line 15.2, Matilda Scarborough West; A Daughter's Holy Rebellion

Sometimes poetic justice is visited in odd ways. Edmund Scarborough Sr., the Indian and Quaker Fighter, was blessed (or maybe cursed) with a daughter that practiced the Quaker faith. She obviously inherited her father’s streak of independence as she fearlessly joined the Friends and worshiped as she found fit.

Matilda Scarborough was born about 1643 in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia the daughter of Edmund Henry Scarborough and his wife Mary Littleton.
She married John West born 08 April 1638 and baptized at St. Dunstan, Stepney, London, England. He died 27 May 1703 in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia
Their children were:
1.      Mathilda West born 31 August 1658 Clifton, Accomack, VA. She married John Wise or West born 1655. They both died in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia.
2.      John West born 1661 in Accomac, Accomack  Co., Virginia and died there 1701. He married France Yardley.
3.      Anthony West born 1662 in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia and died there 06 August 1717.
4.      Sarah West born 1665 in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia and died there 30 January 1760. She married Tully Robinson born 31 August 1658.
5.      Alexander West born 1673 in Liberty Hall, Marionville. He married Mary Robins. He died 03 January 1727/28 VA. Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia
6.      Benoni West born 1672 Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia and died there January 1707/08. He married Sarah Snead.
7.      Frances West  born 1672 in Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia and died 06 April 1731. She married a Mr. Kellam
8.      Jonathan born 27 March 1674 in Accomac, Accomack Co., VA and died there 04 October 1727. He married Rachel Spooner.
9.      Catherine West born 06 May 1677 Accomac, Accomack Co., VA and died there 07 January 1710/11.
10.  John born about 1680 at Liberty Hall, Marionville, VA and died there 16 September 1718. He married Josepha Maria Godwin.
11.  Mary Scarborough West about 1684 at Accomac, Accomack Co., VA and died there 27 January 1767. She married Robert Snead.
12.  Anne  born 12 February 1685/86 in Accomac, Accomack Co., VA. She married William Sellman. They relocated to Maryland where Anne died 01 May 1749 in Anne Arundel County.
Died Accomac, Accomack Co., Virginia on died 03 January 1720/21.

Matilda Scarborough born about 1644 in Accomack County, Virginia. While Virginia was still a “wild” land, she was born into a family of wealth and influence and probably enjoyed the finest life available in the New World. Her father was the son of a very influential man and he most certainly inherited a bit of that influence himself. She married Lt.Col. John West the son of Anthony West and his wife Anne, who had been the widow Huffe at her marriage to Mr. West. There are some genealogies pointing to Anthony West being the son of Thomas West, the Third Baron De La Ware but I haven’t been able to make a solid connection. I feel from the evidence found that he was probably a middle class adventurer, looking for the land of milk and honey and gold. Whatever his state before coming to the New World, Anthony prospered and his son did too. John was a shipbuilder. He served as county commissioner of Accomack County, as well as justice and sheriff. He was a captain and then major and the lieutenant colonel in the local militia. He eventually owned over 5000 acres in Accomack County and 250 more in Northampton County. He was also staunchly adhered to the Church of England.

What possessed Matilda to join the Quaker church cannot be learned now but it was a brace act considering her parents and husband stuck tightly to the Church of England. Her own father led a vicious attack again the Quakers who tried to settle along the Great Annamessex River in 1663 only two years after she married John West. I haven’t been able to find out when Matilda joined the Quakers but her father’s aggression against the Quakers may have made her sympathetic to their cause. Her father died ten years after her marriage. Whether her conversion estranged her from her father is not known. Since she and John West had twelve children born throughout nearly the whole of their marriage, I doubt that and despite the differences in practicing their faith, there must have still been a somewhat warm relationship. She was named in her mother’s 14 June 1691 will as well as her husband’s 6 February 1702/3 will for which she refused to take the usual oath, as was the Quaker way.

We often think of our foremothers as having been weak and timid. I sincerely doubt that Mathilda was either of these. She must have been full of conviction and activity. She ran a large household and was strong in her faith and loyal to her church. I can’t say for sure, but I see her as having been a woman who stood up and spoke her mind and God’s revelations with the passion equal to any Bible thumping male minister. Women were equal to men in the Quaker denomination and following my Quaker Martyr Great-something Grandmother, Mary Dyer, Mathilda may very well have been willing to give up all for her faith. On the other hand, she must also been a very loveable woman who was able to keep her faith and her Church of England family as well.

1. "Anthony West, James city, Virginia" from Adventurers of Purse and Person, Virginia 1607-1625
2. "Descendants of Edmund Scarborough" from Cynthia McDaniel, Ghote
3., Liberal, KS (Per Diane Powers)
4. The History of Maryland and Virginia Quakers By Jeannette Holland Austin
5. Col. John Wise of England and Virginia (1617-1695); Wise, Jennings Cropper, Virginia Historical Society (Film 0000593)


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  2. Thank you for writing posts about the West family. My husband is a descendant of Anthony and Matilda and I love to come across your posts. Thank you! I hope you keep writing...

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