Capt. Jeruel West
of Tisbury, MA
Can you help? Please contact me!
Compiled by C. Baer, 1996.
Sources available upon request.
1. Capt. Jeruel West's name (an obscure biblical name meaning 'fear or vision of God') was also
written as 'Jarewell,' which suggests its pronunciation. He was probably born on 12 Oct 1753 (although his
gravestone suggests the birthdate 27 Feb 1754) at Tisbury, Dukes Co., MA, and was four when his father,
Captain Peter West, died of smallpox at Fort Edward, New York. Jeruel and his six brothers and sisters were
raised by their mother, Elizabeth (Athearn) Chase West.
Jeruel married Deborah Shaw, oldest daughter of James Shaw and Rebecca Butler, on 25 May 1775
in Edgartown, Dukes, MA. Jeruel and Deborah lived in Tisbury, probably with Jeruel's mother, Elizabeth, whom
I believe lived off of Edgartown Road, near the Lagoon. Jeruel was a mariner by occupation. He called himself a
'pilot' in an 1788 deed, and Banks refers to him as a 'master mariner,' suggesting that he held command of a
Five months after he was married, in Oct. 1775, Jeruel enlisted in the Navy as a private in Capt. Nathan
Smith's Company stationed at Martha's Vineyard for Sea Coast Defense. In Jan. 1776 he was promoted to
Corporal, and served until Sept. 1776.
In 1782, Jeruel and his mother and his two brothers signed a petition asking the town to release them from
paying taxes for the upkeep of the meetinghouse (also used as a church) in West Tisbury, since they were too far
away to attend services.
In 1787, Jeruel and Deborah bought a house with a small lot of land by the Holmes Hole harbor. They sold
it in 1805. In 1798 they bought another house on the harbor in the area known as 'Frog Alley.' This house, built in
1782, still stands, and is one of the oldest houses in Tisbury. It originally was adjacent to a small pond, known as
'Frog Pond' or 'The Little Pond,' but it has since been filled.
Jeruel appears on the 1790 and 1800 censuses of Tisbury. He left a will on 7 Apr 1810 and died on 29 Jun
1810 at Tisbury, at age 56. He is buried at Company Place Cemetery, Tisbury. His estate was probated on 21
Deborah Shaw also went by the name of Depsey. She was born on 26 Oct 1755, perhaps in Tisbury. She
appears in the Tisbury censuses of 1810, 1820 and 1830. She died on 11 Aug 1837 at Tisbury, at age 81 and is
buried at Company Place Cemetery.
- Children of Capt. Jeruel West and Deborah Shaw were as follows:
- 2. Elizabeth West, born 25 Feb 1776 at Tisbury; married Isaac Winslow .
- 3. James Shaw West, born 11 Dec 1777 at Tisbury; married Charlotte Hammond.
- 4. Jeruel West, born 11 Apr 1780 at Tisbury; married Belinda Lambert.
- 5. Dr. Silas West, born 2 Nov 1782 at Tisbury; married Betsy Cleveland.
- 6. William West, born 11 Feb 1785 at Tisbury; married Mary Poole.
- 7. Deborah West, born 23 Apr 1787 at Tisbury; married Capt. Thomas Harlock
- Abner West was born on 7 May 1789 at Tisbury. He died in 1810 at Havana, Cuba (and is
apparently not listed in the 1810 census of his mother) and his gravestone lies in Company
- George West was born on 3 Jan 1792 at Tisbury; he died in 1813 and was buried at
Company Place Cemetery.
- Stephen West was born on 17 Feb 1794 at Tisbury. He never married, and died on 26 Feb
1834 at Tisbury, at age 40. He is buried at Company Place Cemetery ('Mr. Stephen West
Died Feb. 26, 1834: AE. 40'). He was described in a series of crew lists as being about 5
feet, 4 1/2 inches tall with fair complexion and dark hair. He seems to be represented in the
1800-1830 censuses of his mother, and probably took care of her in her later years.
Although there are many records of a 'Stephen West' sailing aboard whalers from the area,
we can definitely identify this Stephen West (by his age and birthplace) as the one who
sailed on board the Ship Columbus of New Bedford from 19 Jul 1823 to 14 May 1824 and
from 6 Jul 1825 to 26 Jun 1826; on the Ship Maine of New Bedford from 10 Jun 1829 to
31 May 1830; on the Ship Condor of New Bedford from 2 Aug 1830 to 9 May 1831; on
the Ship Chili of New Bedford from 25 Jul 1831 to 26 Mar 1832; and again on the ship
Condor of New Bedford from 14 Jul 1832 to 27 May 1833. He is on the tax lists during
1827 and 1831 at Tisbury.
- Albert C. West was born on 10 Jun 1796 at Tisbury; he married Sarah C. Merry,
daughter of Timothy Merry and Elizabeth Merry, on 27 Mar 1823 at Tisbury; he
married Elizabeth A. Luce, daughter of Hovey Luce and Nancy Clifford, on 24 Feb
1859 at Tisbury. He died on 16 Sep 1864 at Tisbury, at age 68 and was buried at Village
Cemetery, Tisbury. He was described in three crew lists as being about 5 feet 6 inches tall,
with a light complexion and dark brown hair. His first recorded whaling voyage was on the
Ship Winslow of New Bedford, which left 7 Oct 1817 and returned 12 Jan 1820. Following
this, he sailed on the Brig Juno of New Bedford from 6 May 1820 to 9 Jan 1822 (?), the
Ship Marcia Theresa of New Bedford from 26 Jul 1824 to ?, the Ship Heroine of Fairhaven
from 23 Jun 1829 to 8 Jun 1830 (31?), and the Ship Martha of New Bedford from 16 Aug
1830 to 22 Nov 1831. He was on the tax lists during 1827-1831 at Tisbury. He appeared on
the Tisbury censuses of 1830-50. He was a resident of Tisbury all of his life, and his
occupation is always referred to as either 'pilot' or 'mariner.'
Return to the Tisbury History Home Page