Joseph West

Acting Governor of Charles Town 1671 to 1672

Governor of Charles Town 1674 to 1682

Governor of Charles Town 1685

At the death of Governor William Sayle, the Executive Council elected Joseph West to serve as interim governor until the Lords Proprietors could appoint another. He was Acting Governor from March 4, 1671 to April 19, 1672.

Upon the death of Governor William Sayle, being over 80 years old, and who sunk under the diseases of a sickly climate, Sir John Yeamans claimed the office of governor, as Vice-Palatine; for he was the only Landgrave, or nobleman, then residing in Carolina. But the Executive Council appointed Joseph West their Acting Governor, until they should learn the will of the Lords Proprietors.

On August, 21, 1671, Sir John Yeamans received a commission, by which he was appointed governor of the southern colony but he did not arrive until April 18, 1672.

Sir John Yeamans was succeeded in the government by Joseph West, who was a moderate and prudent man; but his Executive Council, being cavaliers, wished to establish a high-toned prerogative government.
With a commission dated July 27, 1669 as commander of the first fleet of three ships, in August 1669, Captain Joseph West and one hundred others set sail from Downs, England for the colonization of Carolina. They came in three ships, the Albemarle, the Carolina, and the Port Royal. They reached Barbados safely by October, where they stopped for several weeks. A storm on November 2nd sank the Albemarle at Barbados.

Sir John Yeamans, a Barbadian, a former Carolina colonist along the Cape Fear, and a powerful friend of the Lords Proprietors, held a blank warrant for the governorship of the Carolina Colony. He leased another ship, the Three Brothers, to join the colonist's journey.

In late November of 1669, the Carolina, the Port Royal, and the Three Brothers, left Barbados for the coast of America, but were caught in storms again near the island of Nevis and were separated from each other. The Port Royal was wrecked in the Bahamas by the storms. Both the Carolina and the Three Brothers were battered, but eventually made port in Bermuda. Somehow, some of those aboard the Port Royal were able to find passage to the island of Bermuda and rejoin their fellow colonists.

In January of 1670, in Bermuda, Sir John Yeamans changed his mind, and decided to return to Barbados. He filled in the name of William Sayles on the blank warrant, the 80-year old former Governor of Bermuda, and left the expedition. In late February, William Sayles, aboard the Carolina, leads the Three Brothers toward the coast of America.

Storms again strike the ships, blowing the Three Brothers northward, to the Virginia Colony. By March 15th, the Carolina is welcomed in Bulls Bay, near present-day Port Royal, by the local natives. Over a two-week period, they explored the area, and Sayles became concerned on the proximity of existing Spanish colonies in nearby Florida. On the advice of the local inhabitants, he looked to settle in the next protected inlet north of Port Royal.

In early April 1670, the Carolina sailed into the confluence of what we now call the Cooper and Ashley rivers, and selected a site on high ground, on the west shore of the Ashley River, to be their settlement. The colonists named the settlement Albermarle Point, but the Lords Proprietors renamed the town Charles Town, in honor of King Charles II.

In late May, the remaining colonists aboard the Three Brothers arrived from the Virginia Colony and in early 1671, additional colonists from Barbados began to arrive. By summer, more than 100 had arrived and spread northward into a nearby area, known as Goose Creek. This physical separation mirrored a cultural separation, between the English and Barbadian colonists that soon comes to define the conflicts within the colony.

Joseph West had also been appointed the agent and storekeeper for the Lords Proprietors, and he was among the first to land at Charles Town. West was also the Deputy to George Monck, Duke of Albemarle, and was among the first members of the "Grand Council," herein referred to as the Executive Council, under Governor William Sayle.

As Governor William Sayle was about to die, he nominated Joseph West as his successor. On March 4, 1670/71, immediately after Sayle's death, the Executive Council elected him as Acting Governor. He served until April 19, 1672 when Sir John Yeamans took office after being appointed governor by the Lords Proprietors.

On Governor John Yeamans's death in the province in early August of 1674, Joseph West was again elected by the Executive Council as Acting Governor on August 13, 1674. However, his new commission, dated May 18, 1674 soon arrived and he was sworn in as a full governor, and he served another eight years.

His administration was marked by "care, fidelity, and prudence." He obtained deeds of transfer of lands from Indian chiefs, made regulations respecting the militia, roads, the status of indentured servants and slaves, and was instrumental in passing Acts to suppress idleness, drunkeness, and profanity. During this term in office, the construction of the Church of England in Charles Town was started.

He was succeeded by Joseph Morton in 1682, but this appointment was soon regretted.

Scarcely a year later, the Lords Proprietors again commissioned Joseph West as governor on March 11, 1684/85. But, they soon re-appointed Joseph Morton and Joseph West left the province soon thereafter.

In 1672, Joseph West was made a Cassique. In May of 1674, he was made a Landgrave. There are no records showing that he actually took possession of all the lands he was entitled to as a Landgrave. However, he did manage the Lords Proprietors' plantation on the Ashley River and had charge of their efforts there. In 1675, he was offered their plantation for their debt to him, but he declined this offer.

In 1680, he received a grant for 1,500 acres near the Cooper River, which in 1686 he sold to James Le Bas. In 1682, he received a grant for Lot 28 in Charles Town. A year earlier, in 1681, he was granted 130 acres on Charles Town Neck, part of a tract formerly alloted to Richard Cole. He sold this to James Martell Goulard de Vervent.

Upon the death of Governor Richard Kyrle in late August of 1684, the Executive Council again elected him as President and Acting Governor of Charles Town, a position he retained until he resigned in June of 1685. Robert Quarry was then elected as President and Acting Governor.

It appears that he must have remained in the province at least until July 1687, when it was noted that he disposed of all of his property.

Click Here for information on the Executive Councils under Governor Joseph West.
<< Last Governor - William Sayle

<< First Term >>

Next Governor - John Yeamans >>

<< Last Governor - John Yeamans

<< Second Term >>

Next Governor - Joseph Morton >>

<< Last Governor - Richard Kyrle

<< Third Term >>

Next Governor - Robert Quarry >>


© 2007 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved