Born: Sep­tem­ber 25, 1816, Man­ches­ter, Lan­ca­shire, Eng­land.

Died: March 25, 1890, Fall Ri­ver, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Oak Grove Ce­me­te­ry, Fall Ri­ver, Mas­sa­chu­setts.



John was the son of Ro­bert West­all and Ma­ry Walk­er. He mar­ried twice, to So­phron­ia Wight and Ju­lia Wight.

Westall em­i­grat­ed to Am­er­i­ca around 1830, and lived with his fa­ther in Low­ell, Mas­sa­chu­setts. Around 1837, he moved to Pro­vi­dence, Rhode Is­land, and in 1838, to Fall Ri­ver, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

He worked in Fall Ri­ver for 36 years as a de­sign­er at the Am­er­i­can Print Works, stu­dy­ing the­o­lo­gy in his spare time.

Though he had planned to be­come an Epis­co­pal min­is­ter, he was in­flu­enced by the works of Em­man­u­el Swe­den­borg, and he joined the Church of New Je­ru­sa­lem in­stead.

He was a lay read­er and ser­vice lead­er for ma­ny years, but de­clined a num­ber of re­quests to be­come a full time min­is­ter.

During this per­i­od, West­all vis­it­ed France, Eng­land, Swit­zer­land, It­a­ly, Egypt, the Ho­ly Land, Tur­key, and Greece. These tra­vels and ex­per­i­enc­es pro­vid­ed back­ground for es­says, po­ems, and oth­er lit­er­a­ry efforts. For a while, he served as a news­pa­per ed­it­or in Fall Ri­ver.

In 1877, West­all became a full time Swe­den­bor­gi­an pas­tor, and was ve­ry ac­tive in state and re­gion­al af­fairs. He served as a del­e­gate to po­li­ti­cal con­ven­tions, as a mem­ber of the school com­mit­tee, a lib­ra­ry trust­ee, and in oth­er po­si­tions.

He al­so en­joyed play­ing the vi­o­lin and com­pos­ing mu­sic. In 1880, Brown Un­i­ver­si­ty gave him an hon­or­a­ry degree. The West­all School in Fall River, Mas­sa­chu­setts, is named af­ter him.