Finding Your Folks: Children of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland

Judy Fowler Kilgore's picture

As related last week, the Westmorelands were among the earliest settlers of the Fayette County area, arriving in the 1820s and settling near what is now County Line Christian Church.

For those of you new to this area, County Line Christian is just a few yards from the Spalding County line, barely in Fayette, south of Brooks on the 85 Connector. Although the church is small and reflects the early southern churches in construction, its cemetery is large and sprawling and contains the remains of many of Fayette, Meriwether, Pike and Coweta’s first settlers. Photos of the church and the cemetery are online on the Fayette County GenWeb page.

Martha Westmoreland was one of those first settlers, arriving in Fayette from Virginia after the death of her husband, Joseph, to live with her sons, Reuben and Robert.

I would like to mention at this point that there is an excellent story on this Westmoreland family in “The Fayette County, Georgia, Heritage Book,” published by the Fayette County Historical Society in 2003. The story was submitted by Robert Edge Johnson of La Mesa, Calif. A copy of this book is available at the historical society’s library and probably at the Fayette County Library also.

Most of the information on this series of stories on the Tidwells and Westmorelands was taken from Ettie Tidwell McCall’s book, “McCall, Tidwell and Allied Families,” published in 1931. Some Westmoreland information missing from Mrs. McCalls’s book was found in the heritage book story and some was found by me, using other resources.

As I mentioned last week, Joseph and Martha had nine known children: Joel, Joseph, Reuben, Robert, John, Sybilla, and three daughters, names unknown. The following is known about those children:

Joel Westmoreland, son of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland, is said to have moved west and all trace of him was lost.

Joel’s brother, Joseph Westmoreland, according to Mrs. McCall, was a Georgia Soldier of the War of 1812 from Jasper County, who “ ... married a Creek Indian Princess and moved west.” The Fayette book has different information, stating that Joseph was born in 1774, married Elizabeth Simmons (1770-1844), served in the Georgia Militia in 1795 and 1804, lived in Jasper County, Ga., and eventually moved to Texas. They had eight children.

Reuben Westmoreland, son of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland, was born about 1770 and married (1) Rebecca Jackson and (2) Keziah Simmons. We have mentioned a little about Keziah already in the story about William de Graffenried Tidwell and Angelina Westmoreland. Keziah Simmons Westmoreland was Angelina’s mother and lived with William and Angelina on their plantation in DeKalb County. A story on Reuben and Keziah Westmoreland is included in a later chapter and we will tell it in a future column.

Robert Westmoreland, son of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland, was born in Virginia about 1780 (heritage book says 1783) and moved to Jasper County, Ga., where he married Ann Louise Foreman. This couple appears in the Fayette County census for the years 1830, 1840 and 1850. They had nine children.

John Westmoreland, son of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland, was not traced by Mrs. McCall, but information on him appears in the heritage book. It states that John was born in 1788, died in 1848, and married Elizabeth Harvey, daughter of Zephaniah Harvey and Nancy Smith of Jasper Co., Ga. In 1820, they appear in Jasper County and, beginning in 1827 (tax list), in Fayette County. John owned many acres of land in Coweta, Fayette and Pike counties. He and Elizabeth had 10 children.

Sybilla Westmoreland, daughter of Joseph and Martha Shores Westmoreland, was born abt, 1784, died in 1837, married Benjamin Moody, a War of 1812 veteran, and had 10 children.

Neither source gives any information on the three daughters whose names are unknown.

As a clue to further research, I will mention that I found the will of a Sarah Gray who died in 1837 in Fayette County (Will Book A, pp. 29-30), which was witnessed by John G. Westmoreland and Calvin S. Westmoreland. John. G. Westmoreland’s full name was John Gray Westmoreland. John was the son of Robert Westmoreland and Ann Louise Foreman. Calvin S(hores) Westmoreland was the son of John Westmoreland and Elizabeth Harvey. Sarah’s executor was her son, Abraham Gray. There is an Abraham Gray, born in the 1700s, buried at County Line Christian Church. There probably is a family connection here between the Grays and the Westmorelands. There also is a connection between the Westmorelands and the Travis family of Fayette.

I also checked the Westmoreland family trees on the Internet. Don’t even bother to look. They are a mess. No one seems to have sources and several have children under the wrong parents. I was trying to see if anyone had the names of the three unknown daughters of Joseph Westmoreland and Martha Shores. No one did.

Next week we’ll feature another family from this informative book. I haven’t decided which one, but I’m leaning toward the family and ancestors of Mary Amelia Jones (Tidwell), mother of Milly Tidwell. Milly married James Boyd and her ancestors also are the ancestors of all those Boyds at Bethany.

Although time does not permit me to do personal research for others, I welcome all letters and e-mails about genealogy and info on south metro Atlanta families. Send them to The Citizen, P.O. Drawer 1719, Fayetteville, GA 30214; e-mail or Any letters and/or e-mails I receive are subject to being used in the column.

Until next week, happy hunting!

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Submitted by Robert Edge Johnston on Thu, 02/09/2006 - 9:40pm.

Hello Judy,

I just caught your article of 2 February. Thank you for the mention of my research. For the record, my name is Johnston (with a "t").

I have concluded, after reviewing all of Mrs. McCall's unpublished notes, and my own research, there were only three daughters born to Joseph and Martha Westmoreland.

1. Sybilla "Sibie," whom you had, who married Benjamin Moody in 1812, and had ten children.

2. Nancy, born circa 1794, who married John H. Gilmore in 1812, and had six daughters.

3. Martha, whom Mrs. McCall said married a Lynch or Linch, but my Lynch digging has not yet uncovered which one.

Yes, the Internet Westmoreland information is flawed, as are the books published by Mapes.

And, yes, the Grays, Matthews and Westmorelands of Fayette County all tie together.

By the way, regarding the County Line Christian Church Cemetery, land for which was donated by a Westmoreland, the "new" Westmoreland markers include an error or two. Some years back, a well meaning descendant in Florida replaced several old markers with new, also correcting what she thought were errors in the inscriptions. Fortunately, a survey of the cemetery was made years ago with the original inscriptions.

I enjoy your articles,

Robert Edge "Bob" Johnston

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