West, Francis (DNB00)

WEST, FRANCIS (1586–1633?), colonist, born on 28 Oct. 1586, was the fourth but second surviving son of Thomas West, second or eleventh baron De La Warr, and his wife Anne, daughter of Sir Francis Knollys [q. v.] Thomas West, third or twelfth baron De La Warr [q. v.], was his elder brother. Francis preceded his elder brother to Virginia, accompanying Christopher Newport [q. v.] on his voyage thither about July 1609. He was elected a member of the council in August 1609 (Cal. State Papers, Amer. and West Indies, 1574–1660, p. 8), and was soon involved in a quarrel with Captain John Smith (1580–1631) [q. v.], who is said to have conspired with Powhattan to kill West. Smith was, however, apprehended and sent to England to answer for his misdemeanours. Early in 1610 West paid a visit to England, but he returned to Virginia in the same year, and in 1612 succeeded George Percy [q. v.] as commander at Jamestown. He was probably also a member of the council, and was one of those who in 1619 petitioned that a nobleman should be appointed governor ‘such as had been the late Lord De La Warr’ (Hist. MSS. Comm. 8th Rep. ii. 33).

On 22 March 1621–2 the Indians killed two men on his plantation at Westover; he had another plantation at Sherley, so named from his connection with the Shirley family; both are on the James River. In November 1622 West was appointed admiral of New England by the New England council, and his instructions were drawn up by Sir Ferdinando Gorges [q. v.] Henceforth he divided his time between Virginia and New England, and it is improbable that he was the Captain West who in July 1623 convoyed a Spanish ship from Leith to the Downs and was attacked by the Dutch (ib. 4th Rep. p. 282). On 22 March 1627–8 he received a commission as governor of Virginia (Cal. State Papers, Dom. Addenda, 1625–49, p. 272), an office which he held until 5 March 1628–9, when John Pott was chosen his successor. In that year West visited England, and opposed Lord Baltimore's project of founding a colony within the limits of Virginia. He had returned to Virginia before December 1631, and attended council there until 1633, the date of the last undoubted reference to him. There is a tradition in the family that he was drowned.

In any case there is little ground for the identification, suggested by Mr. Alexander Brown, of the colonist with the Colonel Francis West (d. 1652) who was captain of the blue regiment of trained bands raised by the ward of Bread Street, All Hallows, commanded them on the expedition to Gloucester and Newbury in 1644, received a commission as colonel from Essex, and on 5 Aug. was recommended for promotion to some post worthy of his merit. He was afterwards employed by the committee for compounding, and on 2 May 1645 was made lieutenant of the Tower of London. He died early in August 1652, and on the 5th the officers of the blue regiment were granted leave to