- Converse D. Clowse
West, Joseph (fl. 1669–1685), mariner and three-time governor of South Carolina, was of unknown ancestry. Little is known of his life before 1669. In July of that year the Lords Proprietors of Carolina chose Joseph West to command their fleet about to sail from London with the first settlers from England bound for the southern part of their grant. The proprietors entrusted to West’s care an expedition representing a large capital investment but failed to leave information about why they believed him capable of carrying out the mission. Moreover, no other sources have been uncovered that outline West’s early career. In 1669 he styled himself “merchant of London.” He was married to Joanna (maiden name unknown), who joined him in the New World. The couple left no offspring. He was probably a dissenter but of uncertain denominational affiliation. In his will recorded in 1691, he directed that his estate residue be given to London’s Quaker poor. If a Friend at the end of his life, he was not one in the 1660s, serving in the Royal Navy under James Carteret, a son of one of the proprietors. West’s association with the Carterets likely brought him to the attention of Lord Anthony Ashley Cooper (later the Earl of Shaftesbury), who was the prime mover of the proprietary in the late 1660s and 1670s. The earl became West’s patron and supporter....