(From Glimpses of Grayson County from the early days)
Tom Bomar & Son, Publishers
When Grayson County was organized, it appears that in the selection of officers the people looked for honest and capable men, and the men thus chosen show in their characters that but little thought was had that there would be any need for that heroic courage now deemed necessary, especially in executive officers. Particularly does this seem apparent in the selection of their first sheriff-a man as modest and reserved in his manner as a girl. This man was Joshua West.
Mr. West was born in Jersey County, Illinois, February 2, 1818, where he remained until 1845, when he came to Texas, and located in Grayson County, where he worked at farm work and taught a country school until the organization of the county in 1847, when he was elected Sheriff, the duties of which office he faithfully discharged for two years. He was married in 1847 to Miss Harriet Bradley.
Mr. West often told of his arrival at Red River after (unreadable) the end of a tiresome days travel in the Indian Country and finding (unreadable) ferryman lived some distance from the river on the Texas side and could not be raised, how he laid down on the warm sand, with his bundle of clothes for a pillow and the hoot of the owl and howl of the wolf for a lullaby, he slept as sweet a night's rest as he ever enjoyed.
At the close of his official career, he retired to his farm near where Denison now stands, where her remained until 1858, in which year he removed to Sherman where he followed saddle and harness making, until his death in 1871. He was a faithful Odd Fellow, and was buried by that honorable order.
Of a family of eight children four still survive him. His good wife also is still living.
>From a family letter to "Dolly" from Alma West Gaines, granddaughter of John Harvey Daily and Angelina Goss Daily, date August 21, 1973. Alma was 78 years old:
"The 'sheriff' that Jim [James Franklin West] spoke of was our Grandfather, Joshua West, who was the first Sheriff elected for the newly formed co. of Grayson. His reputation was of 'unswerving honor and honesty with a depth of gentleness not often found in a man.'"
An excerpt from the prologue to "Bradly Civil War Letters: Grayson County, Texas 1862-1865" compiled by George Warren Blankenship, Jr., Kathleen Blankenship Dophied and Sarah Blankenship Dye. The passage pertains to Joshua's efforts to retain the land of his late Father-in-Law, Seymour Bradley, for his wife's younger siblings.
"Early in 1847, an intelligent and apparently bright, 29 year old school teacher arrived in Texas with the Peters Colony. His name was Joshua West. He met and quickly married Harriet Bradley. The date of that ceremony was May 27, 1847.
In the July court term, Mr. West asked the court to make him administrator of the late Seymour Bradley estate citing as his right, his marriage to one of the heirs. The court did eventually grant him administrative powers but not until December 1, 1847. We can also assume then that he became guardian of Joseph Warren and Sarah Elizabeth since they came to live in the West home.
In the meantime, a classified as appeared in a Bonham newspaper advising the heirs of Seymour Bradley to appear in court on the last Monday in November of 1847 for the division of the land of their deceased father.
At that court session, the five children drew lots for the original Seymour Bradley headright and 202 acres of Stewart land. Wesley Walk drew the East half of the Bradley headright that contained the farm. The other three each drew 700 acres on Stewart land on the prairie. No explanation was given why this was the only land divided.
When Mr. Ryburn turned over to Joshua West the accounts of the Seymour Bradley estate all that was left were the before mentioned unpaid accounts from the estate sale and the land.
In 1848, Joshua West was elected as the second sheriff of Grayson County. In that year, he also became to guardian of the minor, Wesley Walk. During his tenure as administrator of the Bradley estate, Joshua West was forced to go to court at three separate times to prove the heirs' ownership to the three separate land grants, even that land for which they had drawn for at the court in
It would seem that had it not been for Joshua West, the Bradley orphans would not have gotten even the land that had been granted to their father."
While the above passage states that Joshua was "the second sheriff of Grayson County," the inscription on his tombstone says that he was the first.