Joseph West, Missing Son

Oct 29, 2011

Photo6 300x236 Joseph West, Missing Son William Andrew West, youngest son of William Wesley West and Eliza Wilhite, was born posthumously on 5 Mar 1849 in Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois. His parents had lived across the state line in Montgomery County, Indiana and the family was enumerated in both places when the 1850 census was taken.

Life was not easy for Andy West. He was a simple man with a limited education and skills that locked him into farming to support a large family. Old photos reveal a weary man who looks older than his years. Of course it’s hard to say if the somber looks on his face are real or the result of how people were posed for photos in those days. Andy married Laura Stewart on 25 Jul 1874 in Fort Scott, Bourbon County, Kansas. They had eleven children:

1. Ida Jane West, born 8 Nov 1879 in Berlin, Bourbon County, Kansas; died 12 May 1970 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri
2. Joseph West, born Apr 1882 in Berlin, Bourbon County, Kansas.
3. Lillian May West, born Nov 1884 in Moran, Allen County, Kansas; died 1917 in Kansas.
4. Grover Cleveland West, born 18 Feb 1885 in Moran, Allen County, Kansas; died 22 Nov 1953 in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri; married Bertha Ruth Smith on 30 Apr 1912 in Vinita, Craig County, Oklahoma.
5. Charles Henry West, born 27 Feb 1887 in Moran, Allen County, Kansas; died 12 May 1978 in Claremore, Rogers County, Oklahoma.
6. Mabel Laurel West, born 18 Dec 1890 in Moran, Allen County, Kansas; died 20 Sep 1981 in Iola, Allen County, Kansas.
7. Earnest Oscar West, born 11 Mar 1892 in Moran, Allen County, Kansas; died 20 May 19957 in Costa Mesa, Orange, California.
8. Nell West, born 1894 in Moran, Allen County Kansas; died 1898 in Kincaid, Allen County, Kansas.
9. Elmer West, born 1898 in Kincaid, Allen County, Kansas; died 1898 in Kincaid, Allen County, Kansas.
10. Emma West, born 1898 in Kincaid, Allen County, Kansas; died 1898 in Kincaid, Allen County, Kansas.
11. Clyde Ellsworth West, born 12 Mar 1900 in Kincaid, Allen County, Kansas.

Influenza epidemics devastated the West family in 1898 when their three youngest children died within a few days of one another. Then daughter Lillian died from the Spanish flu in 1917.  Their eldest son left home about 1902 and was never heard from again. When asked why Joseph West lost contact with the family, Grover Cleveland West said Joe hated farming, but that didn’t seem to matter to their parents.  Joe left to get some training and they thought he went to Kansas City, Missouri.  It was rumored that Joe was drafted during World War I and never returned from France.  Grover was sure that no one heard from Joe again.

What happened to Joseph West?

 

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