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Weston Wagons West - Ep. W4 - Roger Weston, son of Phillip, made his way to Pennsylvania

Updated on August 12, 2014
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The Weston family built wagons

A wagon used in winter
A wagon used in winter | Source

The young Preston, Raymond and Weston families lived in Beverly, Massachusetts

Randall Preston, born in 1702, and William Preston, born in 1705, began the eighteen century for the young family of William and Priscilla Preston. Nathaniel and Rebecca (Conant) Raymond had a daughter, Mary, born in January of 1710. Nathaniel and Joanna (Allen) Weston had a son they named Randall (after the Preston boy), born in March of 1705, a daughter named Mary born in January of 1710, and another son, named Phillip Weston, born in March of 1712. A third son that they named Francis, followed two years later, born in March of 1714.

By the time Phillip Weston reached his 12th birthday in 1724, Nathaniel and Randall were already actively building carriages and wagons along with their blacksmithing and farrier service skills for their customers in the area of Beverly. Massachusetts. Phillip was already helping out as he formally entered his farrier apprenticeship with his father. He enjoyed sneaking rides in the carriages with his older brother, but would find less opportunities now that his apprenticeship was underway. Phillip also enjoyed working with the horse herd on the family acreage. Horses had become such a central part of the life of his family. His sister, Mary, enjoyed being around the horses, as well. They each enjoyed spending a few free moments with their favorites in the family horse pasture.

Her father surprised Mary, for her 16th birthday in January of 1726, with giving her personal ownership of her two favorite mares. He was encouraging her to start her own herd, even though it was very uncommon in these times. Nathaniel wanted to reward her for her assistance with and dedication to the family horse herd. Phillip was especially pleased, on reaching his 14th birthday, in March of 1726, to receive the first 2 mares of his own, was well. He did choose to take on the blacksmithing apprenticeship, hoping to specialize in equipment for his father's carriage and wagon building business. Francis began his farrier apprenticeship as a farrier following his birthday in March, as well.

The original novel in "The Homeplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories

Wheel rims were made by the blacksmith

Wagon wheel on a farm wagon
Wagon wheel on a farm wagon | Source

Changes came to the Nathaniel Weston Wagon Works business

The town of Beverly proper, on the seacoast of Massachusetts, was a major shipping port, of course. Mary and Phillip, as they grew into young adults, with some others their age, had taken to visiting the coastal areas and shipping districts as occasional social events. During the year end activities of 1730, Mary was in attendance at such an event, with her brother, Phillip as her chaperone, when she met Israel Beaumont, the young son of a sea captain. Over the next couple of years, a romantic relationship developed between Mary and Israel, all under proper supervision. Although neither set of parents felt it would ever come to anything, they were wrong. Late in 1732, Israel Beaumont was offered a position, largely based on his father's reputation, but also based on his merits, as a lead warehouseman in the Port of Perth Amboy, in the New Jersey seashore town.

Israel decided he wanted to take the position, but only if he could marry Mary and take her with him. In an interesting twist, Israel, again through his father, learned that the owners of the warehouse were also looking for a skilled blacksmith. When Phillip learned of this, he became quite interested in making the move with his sister and her betrothed. Finally, both families consented and Israel and Mary were married in the home of her parents on her birthday in January of 1733. She was 23 and he was 28 years of age. Phillip was about to become 21 years of age. They arranged with the ship that would take them to Perth Amboy to also transport four of Mary's horses and six of Phillip's horses along with his blacksmithing tools.

Within a year of arriving at their new homes in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Phillip had met his future wife. In March of 1734, Mary gave birth to her first daughter, as well. They named her Joanna Beaumont, after her maternal grandmother. In June, Phillip married Sarah Johnson. Their first child, a son, was born in June of 1735. He was named Roger Weston.

The novella in "The Homeplace Saga" series of stories

Thomas Butler had a gunshop in Carlisle; it still stands

Sign in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; photo taken in May 2000
Sign in Carlisle, Pennsylvania; photo taken in May 2000 | Source

Phillip Weston, and his sons, grew their business as the French and Indian War progressed

Phillip worked hard at his trade, expanding his expertise, and saved his earnings. Within ten years, Phillip, Sarah and Roger Weston had a home and acreage on the western edge of the city and Phillip had established an independent practice, hired several men, and was also manufacturing wagons and carriages as his father and brothers had done. A second son had joined the family in March of 1740; they named him Henry Weston. By June of 1851, Roger completed both of his apprenticeships and became a full-time partner with his father, Phillip, in their Weston Wagon Works business. Young Henry was itching for his apprenticeships to begin the following spring. He completed his duo-apprenticeship in the spring of 1855 and also became a full partner in the thriving business.

The French and Indian War had been providing as many wagon orders as they could handle from both private and government entities. Following the pattern of the orders they were receiving as well as the news of nearby colonies Roger was aware of new settlements in central Pennsylvania. During 1858, then, when there was an opportunity to deliver four wagons to the west, for what eventually became the Forbes expedition, later in the year, Roger decided it was time for him to make a move on his own. His father could hardly say no, because that is exactly what he had done. Leaving his younger brother to continue the family business with his father, Roger set off with his equipment in the wagons. The wagons were to be delivered to a relatively new settlement of Carlisle, in the Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania. Roger learned that the valley was being settled primarily by Scots-Irish immigrants who were farming the valley. It seemed to Roger Weston the perfect place to set up his own business.

Only a couple of years later, in 1760, an Irish family moved into Carlisle and located their gunshop just across the street from Roger Weston's blacksmith and farrier shop, where he was also beginning to build his own Weston Wagon Works. Thomas Butler, his wife, Eleanor, and their children had moved from Lancaster, to the south, but had immigrated from Ireland in late 1748. Thomas Butler had seen the potential for a growth of his business in Carlisle just as had Roger Weston before him. They became close friends and each were active in the growth of the community.

The latest novel in "The Homplace Saga" series of family saga historical fiction stories

Historical note by the author

As with prior Weston Wagon West episodes, all members of the Weston family, their spouses and children, are fictional. All other characters and places are based on actual historical figures and places, used fictionally while retaining their historical detail as closely as feasible based on known historical records. For example, William Preston, born in 1705, was a 5th great-grandfather of the author. The author is also a 4 times Great-Grandnephew of Thomas Butler.


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