David O. Thompson, a forest management specialist, grew up just north of the northern Fayette County line and knew he had a number of ancestors buried in this county.
His third great-grandfather, Willis West, Sr., was buried somewhere in the West Bridge-Wagonwheel road area and by piecing together information from a cousin, Barbara Plilgrim Sams, that it was at one time considered in a cow pasture, obtaining a legal description of the cemetery and an aerial photo from the Fayette County tax assessor, Thompson was able to pin point this Revolutionary War veteran. The gravesite was marked with a large field stone, but no marker.
He obtained a gravestone from the Veterans Administration, who will supply one if the site was not originally marked.
Weighing a mere 175 pounds, Thompson drove the VA marker as close as he could and then pulled it on a dolly through brambles and over numerous ant hills to put it in place.
Willis West Sr. was born in North Carolina in 1755 and served as a private in the North Carolina Continental Line during the American Revolution. He had 10 children by his first wife and 10 children by his second wife. Around the age of 70, he and his wife Silvey moved from Sampson County, N C., along with some of his family members, to Fayette County. He died on November 23, 1837.
Thompson and Sams would like to hear from other Willis West, Sr. descendants who would be interested in helping to keep this cemetery open and available to one and all. Call Thompson at 770-387-0285 and Sams at 770-775-2179.