The Westberry family of today
recognizes Moses Westberry as the Patriarch of our family.
Moses Westberry was born March
2, 1772 near the village of Statesburg in the state
of South Carolina. He spent most of his life in the Wiregrass
area of Georgia as a minister of the gospel. The Reverend Moses
Westberry worked very hard at and was devoted to establishing
a God-fearing community among the residents of Georgia. He was
driven not to just establish a church of wood and stone for all
to see but to establish a church in the hearts of men and women
that God could see.
By Carey Madison Westberry
REV. MOSES WESTBERRY, SR
was born March 02, 1772 in High
Hills Santee, Statesburg, South Carolina, and died Abt. 1864
in Holmesville, Appling Co, Georgia. He married (1) ELIZABETH
BROWN Bet. 1795 - 1799 in Edgefield Co, South Carolina, daughter
of ROBERT BROWN and UNKNOWN. She was born Bet. 1775 - 1780, and
died Abt. 1812 in Georgia. He married (2) ELIZABETH BENNETT Abt.
1815 in Georgia, daughter of RICHARD
BENNETT and MARY COOK. She was born Abt. 1785 in Georgia,
and died Bef. 1860 in Georgia.
Notes for REV. MOSES WESTBERRY, SR *: Was his name William
Small amounts of information have appeared that shows that
the father of Moses may have been a Furman. Possibly Capt. Josiah
Furman, brother of Rev. Richard Furman. His mother was possibly
Sarah Westbury, a daughter of William Westbury.
In 1780, William was appointed guardian of a Joshua Jones, nephew,
listed as 15 years of age. I have found that ages given then were
not too accurate. This could be our Moses.
William died two years later. Moses states in the Jones Creek
Church records, "according to the records left by my parents..."
Moses is first found in Georgia in Tattnall County in June
1803, though he is listed in Edgefield Co, South Carolina in December
1799 as Moses Westbury of Georgia.
We assume from available information that he was in Edgefield
County, South Carolina in December 1799. This area is North Augusta,
Georgia now. Where was he in 1800- 1802? Speculation puts him
The borders in that area at that time were in doubt, so he could
have been in South Carolina, yet been said to be in Georgia.
No one knows when he died or where he is buried. The churches
had suspended conferences because so many members were off to
war. It is accepted that he died in 1864 and was buried at Bethlehem
After a great deal of research, I have concluded that he is buried
at the Old Bethel Church on Holmesville Road going out of Jesup.
It is near his place of death, Holmesville P. O. District and
his oldest son was already buried there.
It looks as if Moses stopped actively preaching in 1848 (about
76 years old) and was disabled by 1855. He did make a few appearances
between those years. In the 1860 census he is listed as a farmer
living with Furman Westberry, his youngest son, at Holmesville
Post Office district.
Moses Westberry received a grant of land in 23 Dist., Wilkinson
Co., Georgia; (now Twiggs Co.), Georgia on November 15, 1810.
He states he was from Tattnall Co., Georgia.
Beards Creek Church being orderly constituted by the Revs. *John
Goldwire*, John Stanfield, Isham Peacock and David Hennessy, orderly
Baptist ministers on the 29th of December, 1804 which was carried
into effect by a sermon, ably defended by the Revd John Goldwire
on the 13th second Cor. and part of the 5th. Examine yourselves
whether you be in the faith.
Then was Jacob Dees and Moses Westberry ordained as Deacons after
which the Lords Supper was administered and Bro. Hennessy called
as the pastor of said church. The answer was, when obtained, as
long as they could agree.
* In 1782, John
Goldwire was adjudged guilty of treason. His punishment was
amercement whereby he was fined a percentage of his property.
No Conference. But on the 19th of this month, Brethren John Stanford
and John Goldwire came according to the request of the church,
and after hearing and examining Brother Moses Westberry, they
together with Brother Hennessey proceeded to his Ordination on
the 19th of this month.
August 19, 1809
Conference opened in order. Resolved that Brother Westberrys Credentials
be recorded at the next conference. On the 20th of August Brother
Jacob Dees was restored to fellowship into this church again.
Resolved that Brethren Thomas Griffen and Jeremiah Slade go as
messengers this year to the association. From the 20th of August
to the 17th of February 1810, was little or nothing transacted
in the church, and no records have been kept during this time.
July 14, 1810
Conference opened in order. Mr. Baxters request taken under consideration.
Resolved that a short statement of the dealings of the church
with Mr. Baxter and wife be drawn up by the clerk and presented
to the church at our next conference, also that the clerk prepare
a letter for Brother Hobbs and present to the church at our next
conference, and likewise a letter of dismission for Brother Westberry,
agreeable to his request.
September 19, 1812
Conference opened in order. Appointed brother John Dees to write
a letter of dismission for Sister Westberry.
It must be noted here that the first few years of the original
minutes of the Jones Creek church are missing and that later,
possibly about 1819-20, someone sat down and wrote what is accepted
as the minutes now.
The minutes pick up again in orderly fashion in 1818.
Copy of First Minute Book
Church Book for Jones Creek
The inhabitants of Jones Creek were a people destitute of
the preached Gospel, of course extremely uncultivated in mind
and body. Therefore, it pleased Almighty God in His merciful providence
as claiming a part of its inhabitants as His dear children, to
call, qualify and send to us our well-beloved brother and pastor
in Christ, Moses Westberry, through whose indefatigable labors
under God we were planted a Church. We were constituted April
22nd in the year of our- Lord, 1810 by the Reverend Brethern John
Goldwire and Moses Westberry. Immediately after this event we
unanimously called our well-beloved brother Moses Westberry to
take the pastoral care of us, who after some few months deliberation
kindly consented and has served us since to the present time,
1818; and will still continue we hope and trust through the blessings
A sketch of the birth and baptism of the Reverend Moses Westberry,
Pastor of the Baptist Church at Jones Creek, Liberty County, Georgia:
According to the record left by his parents he was born in the
State of South Carolina, High Hills of Santee, near a village
called Statesborough, on the second day in March in the year of
our Lord, 1772, and was baptized upon a profession of faith in
Christ by the Reverend David Hennessey in the waters of Beards
Creek in the month of August, 1804 as a member of Beards Creek
Church, Georgia, Tattnall County.
The Baptism of Elizabeth Westberry, wife of the Reverend Moses
Westberry: She was baptized upon a public profession of faith
in Christ Jesus by the Reverend David Hennessey in the waters
of Beards Creek, Tattnall County, in the month of March, 1809,
as a member of Beards Creek Church.
July 25, 1818
Conference opened by preaching. Sister Westberry applied for membership
by letter and was received.
NOTE: Rachel and Amelia were already members at this time. That
would also apply to his first wife. I would say that this is Elizabeth
Bennett Westberry, the second wife of Moses.
Brother Westberry requested the Church to investigate his conduct
respecting a charge laid against him at Sarepta. The Church here
received the investigation. The Church of Jones Creek consider
the charge laid against Brother Westberry by the Sarepta Church
is no charge; that Brother Westberry is right in his manner of
Appointed Brethern William Smith, C. Flowers and Westberry as
delegates to the next Association. Appointed Brother Westberry
to write the letter.
Amelia Westberry, our beloved sister, was baptized by her
father and our pastor, the Reverend Moses Westberry in 1823.
Richard Horn, Rachel Westberry and Laney Lefiles were baptized
24th of May 1823 by the Reverend Moses Westberry.
A BODY OF BELIEVERS
"A pine log church
And a pine bark steeple
A grog-selling pastor
And a drunken people."
A stranger passing along the old Darien Road in Liberty County,
Georgia in the 1820's came upon the Jones Creek Meetinghouse,
stopped, camped for the night, and the next morning before departing
wrote this little bit of doggrel and attached it to the plain
pine church door, or so goes the story. The stranger's characterization
seems unfair, though the records show that the church was beset
with all the common frailties and shortcomings suffered by mankind.
If he could pass this way again today, there can be no doubt that
his comments would read differently, for looking back 175 years
it is evident that the consecration of this church and its performance
have made it a shining light in the community, ever pointing the
way onward and upward to God's Eternal Kingdom that awaits all
who choose to follow Him.
Although it has been said that Jones Creek is the ninth oldest
Baptist church in the state, there were at least that many formed
in Georgia before the United States Government was established
in 1789. In any event, it is one of the older churches of this
denomination in the region.
It was constituted on April 22, 1810, by the Reverends John Goldwire
and Moses Westherry and thirteen members from Beard's Creek Church,
then in Liberty, now (Long) County, who had been dismissed a week
earlier for that purpose.
Their names were:
Charles and Martha Flowers, James and Abigail Clark, Levi and
Sarah Morgan, John and Mary Hall, Henry and Fanny Lowry, John
and Lydia Bohannon and Mary Chapman.
This is to certify that this church at Jones Creek, called
Jones Creek Church, was established on the 22d of April 1810,
by the Rev. Brethren John Goldwire and Moses Westberry.
SHEPHERDS OF THE FLOCK
REV. MOSES WESTBERRY
Moses Westberry, the first pastor of Jones Creek Church, was
born near Stateburg in the High Hills of Santee in South Carolina
on March 2, 1772. He moved to Edgefield County and settled on
Cuffytown Creek, and before 1799 to the upper end of Liberty (after
1801, Tattnall) County, Georgia.
Upon a profession of faith, he was baptized in the waters of Beard's
Creek by the Rev. David Hennessey in August 1804, and on December
29 of that year, he helped to organize the Beard's Creek Baptist
Church, and was ordained a deacon. He married Elizabeth, a daughter
of Richard Bennett. She was baptized a member of Beard's Creek
in March 1809. He was ordained to the ministry on July 19, 1809,
by the Reverends Hennessey, John Goldwire, and John Stafford.
While traveling through the western part of Liberty County, he
felt called to establish a church there; erected a brush arbor
on the west side of Jones Creek, and conducted services until
the church was formally organized in April 1810. Along with several
other members of Beard's Creek, he was dismissed on July 14, 1810,
to organize Sarepta Church in Tattnall where he and his wife were
members until transferring to Jones Creek. He was called to the
pastorate of Jones Creek when it was formed and served until December
23, 1848. He also served churches in Liberty, Tattnall, McIntosh,
Wayne and Appling Counties for more than half a century.
Though somewhat intemperate in his habits at times, he was a great
churchman and community leader. He was a justice of the peace
for Tattnall County, 1803-08, and for Liberty County after 1815.
He was among a small group that met at Little Canoochee Church
and organized the Piedmont Association on October 20, 1815, the
first Baptist association formed in South Georgia. He was its
first moderator and later its clerk, serving several terms in
the first capacity between 1815 and 1848, and in the latter several
terms between 1818 and 1829.
After about ten years residence in Liberty County, he moved to
Appling and was later placed in Wayne when a portion of the former
was added to the latter. He died in 1864 at the venerable age
of 92 and was buried at Bethlehem Church in Wayne County.
March 26. Rev. Westberry asked the conference whether it thought
that he had ever been called to preach the Gospel and whether
he had preached it faithfully, and the church gave him a vote
March 22. Voted to purchase a Testament to be kept in the meetinghouse.
December 27. A committee consisting of Charles Flowers, Banner Thomas and William Smith, Jr., to visit
Rev. Westberry and admonish him as he drinks too much.
October 21. A committee consisting of James Brewer, A.J. Baggs,
and John Chapman, was to visit Brother Westberry, Sr., and minister
to his needs.
April 21. S. M. Chapman was appointed to go to Moses Westberry
with constitution, and having no constitution, H.F. Horne, W.B.
Smith, and W.H. Parker were authorized to write one for the church.
August 25. Brother Westberry was extended conveniences, but because
of his inabilities refused to come. The Negro conference was changed
back to the regular one.
Notes for ELIZABETH BROWN:
The records show her as an unknown Brown, daughter of a Robert
Brown. It shows ONLY that they were living in Edgefield Co, South
Carolina in 1799, presumed to be married. The name Elizabeth is
taken from the Beards/Jones Creek Church records in Georgia. No
date for the birth of the wife of Moses shows in records until
the 1850 census.
Notes for ELIZABETH BENNETT:
I have read in some articles that Elizabeth Bennett could not
have been the wife of Moses. The reason given that Elizabeth was
born on so and so year, meaning her parents were not married.
Yet the age for the wife of Moses is first published in the 1850
census. Moses was 'married' 50+ years by then. Who is to say that
he did not have two wives named Elizabeth? Elizabeth was a very
common name for a female in that era. It was a common practice
for people to have a child out of "wedlock" in those
times, there being no civilian or church 'authorities' around
to legalize the birth. That would come when a minister or a government
authority would visit the village.
One must also remember that Judge Folks Huxford, the author of
the Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, talked to our ancestors at
the turn of the century and recorded what was said.
Now it would seem that the Westberry people remembered Elizabeth
Bennett as their granma, and it was recorded by the Judge. Few
would remember Elizabeth Brown because she had been dead for so
There are a few birthless years between 1810-20, so I use that
as the time period when Brown died and Bennett took her place.
Westberry Bennett? Born in 1815. Connection there? Possibly.
( I think his name was James Westberry Bennett)
Remember, in research, take nothing for granted. Children
come from out of wedlock, they also come from incest. Incest was
very common at that time in our history.
You cannot deny history by changing the facts and presenting it
as such. Someone will find the truth and publish it.
Children of MOSES WESTBERRY and ELIZABETH
i. JOSIAH WESTBERRY, b. Bet.
1798 - 1803, South Carolina - Liberty Co, Georgia; d. Bet. 1845
- 1850, Appling Co, Georgia; m. RACHEL WEST; b. Abt. 1805, Barnwell
District, South Carolina; d. June 1881, Wayne Co, Georgia.
Notes for JOSIAH WESTBERRY:
1850 Census, Appling Co, Georgia.
Rachel Westberry 1810/40; Charlton 1826/24; John 1831/19; Mary
A. 1837/13; Justina (Julianna) 1839/11; Josiah 1841/9; Randall
Notes for RACHEL WEST:
In the 1850 census, Rachael is head of household.
In 1880 she is living alone and is listed as 75 YO, being born
Her father and mother are also listed as being born in Georgia.
Her sons (James Randall) death certificate states that she
was born in Virginia.
ii. RACHAEL WESTBERRY, b. Bet.
1800 - 1805, Georgia.
Notes for RACHAEL WESTBERRY:
There is no evidence to show that Rachael Westberry, daughter
of Moses, married a James Moody, Sr, as some so state.
Her birthdate and birthplace are not now known, but he was old
enough to be her granpa.
In the Pioneers of Wiregrass Georgia, Volume 5, page 496, first
published in 1967, lists the year of birth of Rachael as 1808.
Her sister, Amelia, was baptised in 1823. A Rachael Westberry
was also baptised the next day. It would only seem that two sisters
would be baptised at the same time, though there are those that
claim the Rachael Westberry baptised in the same year as Amelia
is the wife of Josiah.
Too, Rachael Westberry is mentioned as being a member of the church
iii. NOAH WESTBERRY, SR., b.
Bet. 1800 - 1807, South Carolina - Liberty Co, Georgia; d. 1858,
Appling Co, Georgia; m. NANCY C. STRICKLAND, 1828, Georgia; b.
1813, Liberty Co, Georgia; d. 1875, Appling Co, Georgia.
Notes for NOAH WESTBERRY, SR.:
1850 Census Appling Co, Georgia.
Noah Westberry 1804; Nancy 1813; Richard 1835; Noah 1837; Seleta
A. 1839; Caleb 1841; Jathan S. 1845 (Jathan was a nickname for
Jonathan); John 1848.
1860 Census, Appling Co, Georgia.
Nancy Westberry 46; Leacy A. 18; Caleb 16; David 15; John 11;
William 8; Nancy 2.
1870 Census, Appling Co, Georgia.
Nancy Westberry 54; Caleb 24; John 18; William 15; Lucy A. 26;
Nancy 11; Robert 2.
The wife of Noah was proved to be a Strickland by the death
certificates of two of her sons.
iv. AMELIA WESTBERRY, b. Bet.
1800 - 1810, Liberty Co, Georgia.
Notes for AMELIA WESTBERRY:
Amelia was the daughter of Rev. Moses and Elizabeth Westberry.
Not much is known about her, but she was mentioned in the minutes
of the Jones Creek Baptist Church, Liberty Co., 1810-1826, as
being the beloved daughter of Rev Moses Westberry and baptized
by him in 1823.
Amelia's year of birth is another case of not knowing when she
was born, so assigning a year that looks feasible.
No records have been uncovered that pertain to Amelia.
It is possible that Amelia and Elizabeth were the same person
as Amelia Elizabeth was a common name at that time. Too, one of
the daughters would have been named after the mother.
v. REV. MOSES WESTBERRY, JR.,
b. Bet. 1804 - 1807, Liberty Co, Georgia; d. April 12, 1887, Brooks
Co, Georgia; m. (1) EDITH UNKNOWN; b. Abt. 1805, Georgia; d. Bet.
1848 - 1853, Lowndes Co, Georgia; m. (2) SARAH GEORGE, September
01, 1853, Wayne Co, Georgia; b. Abt. 1820; d. Abt. 1874, Georgia;
m. (3) NANCY PARRISH NEWTON TAYLOR, August 07, 1875, Brooks Co,
Georgia; b. April 1839; d. February 1892.
Notes for REV. MOSES WESTBERRY, JR.:
1840 Census, Lowndes Co, Georgia.
WESTBERRY, MOSES 3M, 7F
1850 Census, Lowndes Co, Georgia.
Moses Westberry, 44; Edith, 45; Evelina, 19; Ajuniah J., 18; Nancy
A., 17; Eliza A., 14; Matilda, 13; Sarah L., 11; John S., 12;
Mary A., 9; Marietta, 2.
1860 Census, Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, June 21.
Moses Westberry, 52, Farmer & Minister; Sally, 40; Elisa,
23, Seamstress; John, 22, Ploughman (sic); Matilda A., 20, Seamstress;
Sarah, 19, Seamstress; Mary Ann, 17, Seamstress. (HH 226)
1870 Census, Lowndes Co, Georgia.
Moses Westberry, 63; Sarah-(Sally), 64; Matilda A., 28; Sarah
1880 Census, Ousley (1246), Lowndes Co, Georgia, June 15.
Westberry, Moses, 73, Farmer; Nancy, Wife, 40, Keeping House;
Sarah, Dau., 27??, Single, at Home (Cannot Write); Henderson,
John, GSon, 24, Single, Farm Laborer (Cannot Read or Write).
Notes for EDITH UNKNOWN: Edith was probably a Deas/Dees.
vi. CALEB WESTBERRY, b. Bet.
1805 - 1820, Georgia; m. KEZIAH CHAPMAN; b. Bet. 1808 - 1820.
Notes for KEZIAH CHAPMAN:
1860 Census, 942 Dist., Brownville, Paulding County, Georgia,
G. Rentz, 70, Born GA, Farmer; Kissa, 52, Born GA; Albert Westberry,
22, Born GA, Farm Manager; Louisa, 18, Born SC; Henry D., 1, Born
vii. JAROD WESTBERRY, b. Abt.
1809, Liberty Co, Georgia; d. Aft. 1870, Lowndes or Brooks Co,
Georgia; m. NANCY ANN ELIZABETH; b. Abt. 1814, Georgia; d. Aft.
1870, Lowndes Co, Georgia area.
1840 Census shows Jarod with 3 Males, 3 females.
1850 Census, Hamiliton Co, Florida.
Jarod, 1809/41; Nancy A., 1814/36; Nancy A. E., 1833/17; James
M., 1836/14; Mariah, 1838/12; William S., 1840/10; Mary, 1842/8;
Martha, 1842/8; Sarah J., 1845/5; Sevellen, 1847/3; Georgianna,
1860 Census, Jasper, Hamilton County, Florida, June 22.
Jerry Westbury, 52, Born in GA, Farmer; Nancy, 45, Born in GA;
William S., 20, Born in GA; Martha, 18, Born in GA; Mary, 18,
Born in FL; Martha, 17, Born in FL; Sevillin, 14, Born in FL;
George, 11, Born in FL; Lavinia, 7, Born in FL; Elizabeth, 5,
Born in FL. (It appears that Martha was entered twice.)
1870 Census, Lowndes Co, Georgia
Jared, 61; Nancy, 50; Sevellin, 23; Georgia Ann, 20; Levinia,
18; Elizabeth, 16; Fermon, 2; Janice, 1.
Notes for NANCY ANN ELIZABETH: Nancy was probably a Deas/Dees.
viii. ELIZABETH WESTBERRY, b.
Abt. 1812, Georgia; m. HUMPHREY STRICKLAND; b. 1803, North Carolina.
Children of MOSES WESTBERRY and ELIZABETH
ix. RABUN WESTBERRY, CSA, b.
Abt. 1819, Georgia; d. Aft. 1870, Berrien Co, Georgia; m. CELISIA
STRICKLAND; b. 1821, Georgia.
Notes for RABUN WESTBERRY, CSA:
1860 Census, Appling Co, Georgia.
Rabon Westberry, 40; Leacy, 40; Simon, 17; Susan, 16; Moses, 15;
Elizabeth, 11; Rabon-(Knighten), 13; Manly, 9; Elbert, 8; Nancy,
6; John, 4; Mary, 2.
1870 Census, Appling Co, Georgia
Rabun Westberry, 54; Celisie N., 42; Nighten, 17; Able-(Albert),
15; Nancy, 13; John, 12; Mary, 11.
x. JULIA ANN WESTBERRY, b. 1822,
Liberty Co, Georgia; d. 1906, Echols Co, Georgia; m. GEORGE HARRIS,
SR, Georgia; b. 1821, Appling Co, Georgia; d. 1894, Brooks Co,
Notes for GEORGE HARRIS, SR:
1860 Census, Echols Co, Georgia.
HARRIS, George 41; Julia A. 40; Mary A.18; Elizabeth 15; James
13; Nancy 11; John 9; Richard 7; Sarah A. 5; Joseph 3; Solomon
xi. JOSEPH FURMAN WESTBERRY, CSA,
b. Abt. 1825, Liberty Co, Georgia; d. February 05, 1896, Gardi,
Wayne Co, Georgia; m. LUCY HARRIS, January 1844; b. October 1826,
Laurens Co, Georgia; d. Aft. 1908, Wayne Co, Georgia.
Notes for FURMAN WESTBERRY, CSA:
1850 census, Appling Co, Georgia.
Furman, age 24; Lucy, age 24; Nancy, age 8; Manerva, age 5; Lavinia,
age 3; David, age 1.
1860 census, Appling Co, Georgia.
Furman, age 34; Lucy, age 35; Manerva, age 15; Lavinia, age 13;
James, age 11; William, age 8; Josiah, age 6; John, age 3; Mary
A. E., age 5/12; Moses, age 89.
1870 census, Wayne Co, Georgia.
Furman, age ?; Lucy, age 46; Joseph, age 15- (Joseph was a name
used for Josiah); John, age 13; Jane, age 11; Herman, age 4-(Noah
1880 Census, 333rd GM Dist., Wayne County, Georgia, July 1.
Westberry, Joseph, 60, Day Laborer;
Lucy, 60, Wife, Housekeeper; Firman Jr., Son, 18, Single, Day
Laborer; Noah, Son, 13. (HH 484, Next door to Noah & Lavinia
Westberry Herrin. On the other side was Josiah & Ellen Westberry)
Notes for LUCY HARRIS:
Lucy drew a pension on her husband's service. She was living in
Gardi, Georgia in 1908.
The marriage date and her place of birth comes from her pension
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