3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 21, 2020 12:20 PM by Cara Jensen

    Seeking records of John West

    Andy McPhee Newbie

      John Robert West was born in May 1883 somewhere in Georgia and moved to Pennsylvania at some point. He died Oct. 31, 1948, the most certain information available. He was a victim of a smog tragedy in Donora, PA, during the last week of October that year. He lived in a nearby area called Sunnyside, but probably a more official name would be Rostraver. He was married to someone named Carrie. His father was a Charles B. West. His mother's name was, I believe, it's hard to tell from the handwriting, Doreas Warsaw. Both parents from Georgia. He apparently was a veteran, but I haven't been able to find military records, so common is his name. He and Carrie had an 8-year-old child, named Robert Tarpley, living with them at the time of the 1940 Census. Any other information anyone can find on this gentleman would be appreciated, so I can include it in a book I'm writing on the smog. Many thanks.

        • Re: Seeking records of John West
          Susannah Brooks Pioneer

          I believe that I have found some information for you. 

          The child, Robert Tarpley, in the 1940 census is not John and Carrie's child, but rather their grandchild.  Robert Yancey Tarpley (1931-2005) was the son of Ida M. West and Robert Tarpley, according to the Social Security Applications & Claims files.

          Using Ida's name, I found the family in South Huntington, Westmoreland Co, PA in 1930.  Her father is listed as Robert West and mother Carrie. 

          I may have found them in 1920 in Pond, Pike Co, KY.  Here the head of household is Bob West, 24, coal miner, born GA, wife is Callie b. Alabama, and 2 children, Jessie 9 & Ida M. 6 both born in AL.

          On John Robert West's death certificate it states that he was born in Americus, GA.  His parents were listed as Charles B. West & Dorcus Warsaw. 

          In 1900 Charles West 53, Dorcus, 48, and 4 children were living in Leslie, Sumter Co, GA  One of their children was Bobbie, age 13.

          In 1910 Dorcus West is a widow.  John Robert is not in the household, but her other children are.

          Dorcus died in 1925 and on her death certificate her parents are listed as Tom and Anna Dassaw,

          There was a small article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · 21 Oct 1949, Fri · Page 8 stating that Carrie West had filed suit for $152,000 against the American Steel & Wire Co for causing the smog that killed her husband.  I was not able to insert an image of the article here.


          GA death certificate of Dorcas West 1925

          • Re: Seeking records of John West
            Cara Jensen Tracker

            Dear Mr. McPhee,


            Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


            We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 21 Population Schedules in the Records of the Bureau of the Census (Record Group 29) that could contain information on John Robert West.  Some of the schedules have been digitized in part or whole (for 1940 only). For access to the non-digitized schedules, please contact the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1) via email at archives1reference@nara.gov


            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


            For information about the U.S. Census, see the Census Bureau technical documentation and questionnaires.


            You may wish to search Ancestry.com for the U.S. Census. There may be a fee for using Ancestry. Instead, some of the images from Ancestry are available for free on Family Search or at your local library. Many library systems subscribe to these sites, making them free for their patrons.


            We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!