Paternal Ancestors

Paternal Ancestors of David S. Westerman
(The first five paragraphs below are adapted from The Kansas Kid, a privately published biography by Harold S. Westerman.)

The earliest records indicate that my great-great-great-great grandfather was James Westerman, born in the late 1700’s in the Manchester region of England. He married at the turn of the century and had two sons, James in 1807 and Thomas in 1809. Records show that the older son James, my great-great-great grandfather, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on the Ship Emerald on April 30, 1827, having listed his age as 19, his trade as a coppersmith, and his home as Manchester, England.

James moved to Baltimore where he married Elizabeth Wilson (1810-1883). Later they moved briefly to Lowell, Massachusetts and then to western Pennsylvania in 1831 where they settled and started to raise a family that included 10 children, six of whom lived to maturity. After being joined by his bother Thomas in 1832, the two men and their families moved in 1840 from Allegheny City to Butler County where they bought land and stayed for more than a decade. James and his family moved in 1852 to Riga Township, Michigan, Section 33, where they lived until after the Civil War, at which time they sold that farm and moved to Adrian, Michigan. James traveled extensively in the US, going to California for a while on the newly constructed transcontinental railway. It was after this trip that he sold the Adrian property and moved to Blissfield, Michigan. He spent a winter in Florida during his later years before eventually becoming blind. From then on he lived with his children, eventually dying October 18, 1881 at his daughter’s home in Detroit.

George Walter Westerman (1831-1913), whose name was also recorded as George Washington Wilbur Westerman, was the oldest son of James and Elizabeth, and was my great-great-grandfather. He was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Pennsylvania where he became a schoolteacher at the age of 18 before marrying Catherine Scott (1831-1914) in 1851. George and his new wife moved to Riga, Michigan at the same time that his father moved there. George became Town Supervisor and Justice of the Peace, and he and Catherine eventually had six children, the oldest sons being the twins Walter and Wallace. George enlisted in 1861 in the Union Army, Company F of the Ohio Infantry. He served three years fighting in the “Great Rebellion”, participating in the battles of Wildcat Mountain, Fishing Creek, Pittsburg Landing, and Cornith. Ultimately he was injured by a falling horse and was discharged with the rank of Quartermaster Sergeant of the Regiment. After the war George was elected as Country Clerk in Michigan and moved to Adrian, the County Seat. Later he was re-elected as Justice of the Peace in 1888, and held that post for twelve years.

Walter Scott Westerman, also named Walter Scott Napoleon Bonaparte Westerman and Jerome Bonaparte Walter Scott Westerman, was born with his twin brother Wallace (James Stewart Wallace Westerman) on January 26, 1855 in Riga, Michigan. After graduating from Evans Business School in 1874, Walter married Emma Sizer (1853-1939), and they had a total of nine children. He was admitted to the bar at the age of 21 and would later be admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Michigan and in the United States Supreme Court. Walter worked as a civil servant and lawyer throughout his lifetime, serving as City Attorney for Adrian, and also serving in several fraternal organizations. He was active as a Mason, moving up to Commandery of Knights Templar, in the International Order of Odd Fellows in which he was Grand Master of Michigan and representative to the Sovereign Lodge, and in the Grand Army of the Republic where he became Commander. On two occasions Walter ran for Governor of Michigan on the Prohibition ticket. In 1901 he was granted a preacher’s license in the Methodist Episcopal Church. He closed his professional career as legal advisor for 17 years to the Consumers (Commonwealth) Power Company.

The 10 children of Walter and Emma included my grandfather Harold Longfellow Westerman. “Papa” was born April 2, 1887 in Adrian, Michigan where he lived throughout his childhood. He married Elizabeth Stanley Boyd (1888-1929) and their three children included my aunts Dorothy and Marguerite. Papa came close to becoming a professional athlete, having been offered the opportunity to play for the Detroit Tigers, but his unwillingness to work on Sunday kept him from accepting the offer. After grandmpther Elizabeth’s death in 1929, Papa married Eleanor and had a son Clifford (1935-2005). Although he spent his early years working for the YMCA and as a farmer, after the Great Depression Papa found work in a variety of sales positions. His health began to fail in the 1940’s, and he lived with my parents briefly in Michigan. He retired not long after, eventually moving to Iron Mountain near his son Clifford where he lived until his death in 1979.

My father, Harold Scott Westerman, was born in 1917 in Adrian, Michigan. Before reaching the age of two, he moved with his parents to live on a wheat farm outside Belpre, Kansas (population 225). After 8 years in Kansas, my Dad’s family moved to Lamar, Colorado to run a small farm, and it was there that my grandmother Elizabeth died in 1929. Two years later, my Dad and his two sisters moved with their father back to Adrian, Michigan to live in the old Westerman homestead where Papa had been raised. It was in Adrian where he graduated from high school before enrolling at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1937.

Sandy to the left; Gary front and center; Pammy at the top; Davie to the right

My Dad met my Mom, Shirley Martha Mackey, in 1938 in ann Arbor where she was studying nursing at the university. They married in 1940 and went on to have four children: Sandra Jean in 1941, Pamala Kay in 1944, me in 1946, and Gary Scott in 1948. We all moved to Maine in 1049 where Dad worked for 30+ years at the University of Maine, coaching and serving as athletic director. During those years he and my Mom bought and operated Wavus Camps as well, eventually retiring to Florida in the mid-80s.

Dad learned the real estate business and sold properties in Florida into his eighties. After he and Mom moved briefly to Maine, they returned to their Florida home where Mom became mysteriously sick and died in 2007 at the age of 89. Dad moved back to Orono shortly after that. After a stroke in January of 2009, he lived at the title Dirigo Pines Retirement Community until his death on December 17, 2011 at the age of 94.


5 Responses to Paternal Ancestors

  1. Brian Westerman says:

    Looking for any info on Louis V Westerman born 1904 in Illinois from germany as per 1920 census, i read your above from England hoping for some sort of connection.

  2. Stephanie (Puckett) Bunch says:

    You may not check this website often but my grandmother was Dorothy. I know very little of my dad’s side of the family, but had visited my great aunt Marguerite in New Mexico several times, and great uncle Clifford only once that I can remember. I do not remember ever hearing of or meeting Harold. My father, Steve Puckett, passed in 2009 so I have only what I can research online to refer to. I was pleasantly surprised to come across all of this information that you have provided. Thank you so much for sharing a piece of our history and would love to learn more if possible. Thanks again, Stephanie (Puckett) Bunch

    • westyvt says:

      Hi Stephanie. You’re right, I don’t check often. Not sure what I can add beyond what’s in my Dad’s book, but there are a couple good photos of Dorothy and Marguerite in the chapter on Childhood Years in Kansas. I’ll poke around and see if I have other photos. Take care.


      • Stephanie Bunch says:

        Thank you so much for responding. That would be wonderful if you could find any photos, we only have a couple of photos of my grandmother when she was a little older. This website is like opening a door to the unknown past!

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