52 Ancestors: #44 Jacob LESTER 1812-1842

“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #44 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

#44 Jacob LESTER 1812-1842

Jacob Hiley LESTER or Jacob LESTER? Strange how for years you accept a person’s name without wondering where it came from.

Marguerite Tise in her book The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia refers to my 4th great-grandfather as Jacob LESTER – without a middle name or initial.

Jerry Curtis Lester, who thinks of Marguerite as the “Queen of Lester Genealogy,” wrote:

“Remarkable, Marguerite did not use a computer to produce the manuscript of her book. She did it on a typewriter! And, she included the most complete index I have ever seen! Every person mentioned in the text is in the index with all the page numbers where the person is mentioned. At least, I’ve not found any exceptions. I’ve seen no “typos” or misspelled words or inconsistent formatting, and the formatting is very systematic with numbering, letters and indenting to delineate the various generations. I’m blown away by what she was able to do in her late 80’s. Her mind was so good.”1

Door16Jacob’s Parents and Siblings

Jacob’s parents were born during the American Revolutionary War (19 April 1775-14 January 1784). His father, John LESTER Jr. (1776-1851) was born on 7 March 1776 in Montgomery County, Virginia.2 This was the year that Fincastle County became extinct as it was divided to form Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky (now the state of Kentucky) counties. His mother, Mary Ann “Polly” TERRY (1781-1862) was born on 3 February 1781, also in Montgomery County.3

On 30 September 1802 John LESTER Jr. was granted 190 acres “on Cockpitt branch waters of Brush Creek and some of the waters of Little River a branch of New River in Montgomery County.”4

05 Oct 1802 Lester-Terry Marriage record 007579015_00333 [received 3 Nov 2014 per email from FamilySearch’s “Request Photo Duplication” service]
John and Polly married a few days later, on 5 October 1802 in Montgomery County.5 They lived near his parents for the first 18 years of their marriage. “In 1820 John bought the large home tract of Charles Simmons and moved to present Floyd County. He lived about six miles north of the present town of Floyd. The house stood some distance behind the white frame house of George Simmons which was built years later and is now seen on the hill on present Route 8. Lester Cemetery #5 was on his place. It has since been destroyed.”6

In the late summer of 1997, Jerry Lester and Marguerite Tise made a trip around the Little River area. Jerry wrote, “I spent most of a day with Marguerite driving around Floyd Co., Va., at her direction while she pointed out family sites of interest to me (and her). I used my notebook computer with map software and GPS connection to record on the map the places of interest.”7 Jerry made voice recordings of this trip down memory lane with Marguerite Tise. [27 October 2022: The webpage they were stored at was crawled by the Wayback Machine but did not include the links to the recordings.]

NW of Floyd, Floyd County, Virginia. Courtesy of Jerry Curtis Lester, used with permission.

John and Polly were the parents of nine children, all born in Montgomery County as Floyd County would not be formed until 1831:8

◉ Child 1: Hulen “Hugh” LESTER (1803-1880) was born about 1803. Hulen married(1) Margaret SNYDER ( -1847) on 20 February 1823 in Montgomery County. They were the parents of 6 children. He married(2) Mary _____ (1814-1870) before 1847 in Shelby County, Indiana. They were the parents of 3 children. Hulen died in 1880 in Shelby County, Indiana.

◉ Child 2: Matilda LESTER (1805-1826) was born about 1805. Matilda married Archelaus WEDDLE (1799-1870) on 23 September 1825 in Montgomery County. She died bet. 1826 and 1829 in Virginia. John LESTER Jr. left a bequest of $100 to his granddaughter, Julia Ann WEDDLE, daughter of Matilda. It is believed that she was the only child of this marriage.

◉ Child 3: Malinda LESTER (1807-1890) was born about 1807. Malinda married Riley BOOTHE (1801-1878) on 26 May 1831 in Floyd County (marriage bond). They were the parents of 3 children, one died young. She died bet. 1890 and 1900 in Floyd County.

◉ Child 4: John LESTER (1808-1852) was born on 1 November 1808. John married Mary GARDNER (1812-1881) on 30 November 1832 in Montgomery County. They were the parents of 10 children. He died on 1 April 1852 in Floyd County, Virginia.

◉ Child 5: Amos Terry LESTER (1810-1890) was born on 30 November 1810. Amos married his first cousin Susannah Jane LESTER (1814-1888) on 19 March 1835 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 10 children. He died on 14 February 1890 in Brown County, Indiana.

◉ Child 6: Jacob LESTER was born about 1812. More about this child below.

◉ Child 7: Bird LESTER (1815-1864) was born in 1815. Bird married(1) Matilda SIMMONS (1820-1858) on 16 December 1835 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 8 children. He married(2) Rowena Mahulda LAMBERT (1818-?) on 6 July 1858 in Wyoming County, (West) Virginia. They had no known children. Bird died about 1864 in West Virginia.

◉ Child 8: William Terry LESTER(1818-1890) born 18 Jan 1818. William married Mary Amanda “Polly” SIMMONS (1824-1887) on 2 March 1840 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 9 children. William died on 4 March 1890 in Floyd County, two days after his 50th wedding anniversary.

◉ Child 9: Catherine Jane LESTER (1823-1902) was born on 13 March 1823. Catherine married James BOOTHE (1820-1863) on 10 October 1842 in Floyd County. They were the parents of 10 children. By 1863 four of these children were dead. James became deranged and shot himself. At the inquisition, Bird LESTER, Catherine’s brother, and Hulin BOOTHE, his 10-year-old son, testified. Catherine died on 30 January 1902.

In 1831, when Floyd County was formed, John LESTER was appointed a Justice of the Peace by the Governor of Virginia making him a member of the first Floyd County Court. He served the community in that capacity until his death. He also served as Sheriff of Floyd County from 1844 to 1845. He was a prominent and influential citizen, a successful farmer, a large landowner, and a slave owner.9

Courtship and Marriage

If you take another look at the map above you’ll see that John LESTER’s neighbor was the Rev. Owen SUMNER. Living in such close proximity, their children must have known each other growing up after John moved to the area. Owen’s oldest daughter Cynthia caught the attention of John’s son Jacob. We don’t know how long they courted but by the time Cynthia was 19 and Jacob was 22, they were united in marriage by Jesse Jones. The marriage bond was taken out in Floyd County on 18 August 1834 and the marriage took place on 4 September 1834 in Floyd County. Cynthia SUMNER’s name was spelled “Sintha” on the marriage register and “Senthy” on the bond.10,11

A year and a half after Jacob married he was a witness to a land transaction. On 9 May 1836, his first cousin Champ LESTER bought land from George and Nancy REED. Although others named on the deed have middle initials his name is seen as Jacob LESTER.12

At about the same time, Jacob and Cynthia had their first child Emaline LESTER (1836-1877) born about 1836 in Floyd County. About a year later their son George Washington LESTER (1837- ) was born, also in Floyd County.

Once again in 1840 when the census was enumerated we see only Jacob’s first and last name listed – no middle initial.

1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Floyd (ancestry.com)

1840 U.S. Federal Census13
Floyd County, Virginia
Page No. 181
Jacob Lester
1 male under 5 yo (George W.)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Jacob)
1 female under 5 yo (Emaline)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Cynthia)
4 persons in household
1 person engaged in agriculture

A Short Life Ends

Jacob LESTER died about 1842 in Floyd County, Virginia. His widow remarried in June of 1843.14

“Jacob Lester died about the age of 30, cause of death unknown. John Lester III* was appointed administrator of the estate in Feb. 1844. The appraisers, Isaac Moore, Riley Boothe, Topal O. Watkins, reported their appraisal of the estate as $106.12 1/2. The sale was held on March 8, 1844, which amounted to $105.75. There was a delay of two years in settling the estate of Jacob Lester, and his wife had remarried in the meantime. The reason for the delay is not known.” 15

As noted the inventory and bill of sale of the estate were dated 8 March 1844.16,17 The current account was not settled until 22 October 1850.18

*After John LESTER Jr.’s father passed away in 1825 he was known as John LESTER Sr. in the census and his son John was given the suffix Jr. To avoid confusion, John LESTER Jr., father of my Jacob, has been named John LESTER II by earlier researchers. His father was John LESTER I and his son was John LESTER III.

Jacob’s father, John LESTER Jr. (aka John LESTER II) died on 21 September 1851 in Floyd County, Virginia.

“His will, dated April 19, 1851, probated October 16, 1851, names his wife Mary and his nine children. He appointed his sons John III and William T. as executors of his estate. John III died suddenly seven months after his father’s death and the administration of the estate passed through several hands. The estate was not properly settled and much of it was dissipated. In 1890, years after John’s death, some of the heirs brought suit to gain possession of their inheritance. Nearly all of the principals had died by that time but eventually a satisfactory settlement was reached. The suit furnished some previously unknown information about the family.”19

The will of John LESTER dated 19 April 1851 and proved 16 October 1851 names wife Mary; children Malinda Booth, Katherine Booth, Hewline, John, Amos, Bird, and William; grandchildren, George Washington and Emaline Lester (children of a deceased son, Jacob); four sons and two daughters of his son Hewline and his first wife, Margaret, are mentioned but not by name; Juliann Weddle (daughter of his deceased daughter Matilda); and Noah L. Lester, a bound boy.20

Was Noah a son of Jacob?

John LESTER names Noah L. LESTER in his will as a bound boy and doesn’t indicate a relationship.

This will brings up the question: Who was Noah L. LESTER? Some people believe that he was a son of Jacob as he is seen in the 1850 census listing of John LESTER along with Jacob’s son George. This was after Jacob’s death. His widow had remarried and was seen in 1850 with her 2nd husband John W. COX, their 4-year-old daughter Susan COX, and Cynthia’s daughter Emaline from her marriage to Jacob LESTER.

In the 1840 census, Jacob had only one son listed in his household. His father John had a young male in his home in 1840 who could have been Noah who was born in about 1834. Marguerite Tise did not mention Noah LESTER in her book. John’s wife Polly, who had her last child at age 43, could not have been the mother of Noah as he was born when she was 53 years old. Polly was living with her son William T. LESTER, one of the executors of John’s estate in 1860. Polly died on 14 February 1862 in Floyd County. By 1860 Noah was married with 4 children. Noah and his family have not been located after the 1860 census.

Further digging brought to light the permission slip for Noah to marry Mary H. BOLLING in 1853. Being under 21, he was not of age to marry. His mother Catherine TOLBERT signed the slip.  Catherine SHEW married Alexander TOLBERT in 1838. She signed her own permission slip. It is not noted if she was single or a widow. In all likelihood, her son Noah S. took the LESTER surname when he was bound to John LESTER.

Jacob’s Name

We still have the unresolved problem of Jacob’s middle name. His son George’s 1855 marriage record to Amanda ROOP includes his name as Jacob LESTER.21 When his daughter Emaline married Gordon ROOP in 1856 her father was listed as Jacob LESTER by her grandfather Owen SUMNER who performed the marriage.22

So where does the middle name Hiley come from? Do you remember when you first began doing your family history? Everything and anything was added to your family tree. And, let’s be honest, back then when we were new to genealogy we believed everything that we found on Ancestry.

FDCJacobThe death date on this should set off all kinds of warning bells. How could Jacob have died in 1845 when his estate was appraised in March 1844 and his widow remarried in June 1843? I clicked on Learn more…

FDCinfoThe Family Data Collection was compiled for genetic research and did not require the same type of documentation as traditional genealogical research. The information came from “birth, marriage and death records; obituaries; probate records; books of remembrance; family histories; genealogies; family group sheets; pedigree charts; and other sources.”

A family group sheet or other compilation was submitted on the Jacob LESTER family and included the middle name, Hiley. As long as a primary source for his middle name is missing, I will consider it speculation. If anyone reading this knows of a document (entry in a family Bible, official record, etc.) that lists Hiley as the middle name of my 4th great-grandfather Jacob LESTER, I would appreciate hearing from you.

UPDATE 29 October 2022: The Personal Property Tax Lists for Floyd County, Virginia for 1831 to 1850 were viewed. Jacob LESTER was found on the PPT lists from 1835 to 1841. In 1842 he was seen as Jacob Lester Reps. A Hiley LESTER was found on the 1842 to 1846 lists. This overlaps the period when Jacob died (abt. 1842) and when his estate was settled (1844-1845).23

This Post was Updated on 30 October 2022Missing source citations were added, images were scaled, and some corrections were made to the text and format.

© 20142022, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

  1. Jerry Lester, 28 Jan 2005, a webpage dedicated to Marguerite Tise (1913-2002) and her book The Lester Family of Floyd County and Montgomery County Virginia.  (https://web.archive.org/web/20210211234555/http://jerrylester.com/Tise%20Introduction/ : accessed 25 October  2022). Several links on the page are broken. 
  2. Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia,  second (revised) printing 1997 (Copyright 1996 Marguerite Tise, P.O. Box 343, Floyd, VA 24091-0343). The book is available here: https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/records/item/193107-redirection : accessed 29 October 2022. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. “Land Office/Northern Neck Patents & Grants” (index and images from microfilm), Library of Virginia Archives (https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/land-grants), citing Virginia State Land Office, the collection is housed in the Archives at the Library of Virginia, Land Office Grants No. 51, 1802-1803, p. 113 (Reel 117), Land grant 30 September 1802, John Luster Jr. grantee, 190 acres on Cockpitt branch waters of Brush Creek and some of the waters of Little River a branch of New River (Montgomery County). (https://lva.primo.exlibrisgroup.com/permalink/01LVA_INST/altrmk/alma990007873230205756 : accessed 25 October 2022). 
  5. “Marriage bonds, 1773-1857,” database with images, FamilySearch, citing microfilm of original records at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Christiansburg, Virginia, Film 2047124, DGS 7740794, Marriage bonds, 1796-1803, images 818+819 of 968, John Lester and Josiah Terry went bond on 5 Oct 1802 for the marriage of John Lester and Polly Terry. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C91D-33K9-Y?i=818&cc=2134304&cat=1135007 : accessed 29 October 2022). 
  6. Tise, page 11. 
  7. See Note 1, supra. 
  8. Information on the children of John and Polly was taken from Tise’s The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia. I am in the process of searching for and evaluating the documentation to support her work. This will include census, marriage, and death records. 
  9. See Note 6, supra. 
  10. Rena Worthen & Barbara Reininger (co-project), “Index to Marriages of Floyd County, Virginia 1831-1940 (and few others too),” index and images, part of the Floyd County, Virginia, The USGenWeb Project (https://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/floyd.htm), citing the images of Floyd Co., VA marriages downloaded by Rena Worthen from the Library of Virginia Microform indexed by Barbara Reininger, FCVA1834_zMR1. 1834, Jacob Lester and Sintha Sumner marriage record. (http://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/1_Marriages%20of%20Floyd%20County.htm : accessed 2 March 2020). 
  11. Ibid., FCVA1834_LesterSumnerBond, 1834 Jacob Lester and Sintha Sumner bond. (http://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/1_Marriages%20of%20Floyd%20County.htm : accessed 2 March 2020). 
  12. “Deed books, 1831-1900; general indexes, 1831-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/399119?availability=Family%20History%20Library), citing microfilm of original records at the Floyd County Courthouse in Floyd, Virginia, Film 31338, DGS 8572237, Deed books v. A-C 1831-1844, image 226 of 751, Book A page 417, 9 May 1836 George Reed and Nancy his wife to Champain Lester 145 acres. (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C373-N9NN-1?i=225&cat=399119 : accessed 27 October 2022). 
  13. 1840 U.S. Federal Census (index and images), Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/8057/), citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, Roll: 704_555, FHL Film: 0029685, Virginia, Floyd County, page 181 (stamped, double-page spread), line 15, Jacob Lester (accessed 29 October 2014). 
  14. Barbara Reininger, compiler and website owner of “Families of Floyd County, Virginia”, Floyd Co., Virginia Marriages, (https://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/BarbR_FCVAResearch/zz_marriages.htm), transcribed from images of microfilm records obtained by Rena Worthen from the Library of Virginia, FCVA1843_0003; FCVA1843_0026. Register: 2. Page: 11. “John W. Cox (2) m. Cynthia Lester 06-01-1843 Floyd Co., VA by Michael Howry. She d/o Owen Sumner per bond and marriage return.” 
  15. Tise, page 20. 
  16. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” (index and images), Ancestry, citing original data of Virginia County, District, and Probate Courts, Floyd County, Will Books, Vol A-B, 1831-1854, Will Book A, page 246, 8 Mar 1844 appraisal of the estate of Jacob Lester (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007644621_00139 : accessed 23 October 2022). 
  17. Ibid., Floyd County, Will Books, Vol A-B, 1831-1854, Will Book A, page 247-248, 8 Mar 1844 bill of sale of the estate of Jacob Lester (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007644621_00140 : accessed 23 October 2022). 
  18. Ibid., Floyd County, Will Books, Vol A-B, 1831-1854, Will Book B, page 186, 22 Oct 1850 current account of the estate of Jacob Lester (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007645229_00474 : accessed 27 October 2022). 
  19. See Note 6, supra. 
  20. “Virginia, Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983,” Floyd County, Will Books, Vol A-B, 1831-1854, Book B, page 242-243, 19 Apr 1851 Will of John Lester proved 16 Oct 1851.  (https://www.ancestry.com/imageviewer/collections/9085/images/007645229_00502 : accessed 27 October 2022). 
  21.   Worthen & Reininger, “Index to Marriages of Floyd County, Virginia 1831-1940 (and few others too),” 1855 George W. Lester and Amanda Roop marriage. (http://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/Mar%20FCVA1855/FCVA1855LesterRoopMar%20Light.jpg : accessed 2 March 2020). 
  22. Ibid., Marriage License of Gordon Roop age 18 and Emeline Lester age 20 married 10 Mar 1856. (http://sites.rootsweb.com/~vafloyd/Mar%20FCVA1856/FCVA1856RoopLester.jpg : accessed 2 March 2020). 
  23. Virginia Commissioner of the Revenue (Floyd County), “Personal property tax lists, 1831-1850,” (browse-only images), FamilySearch Microfilm of original records at the Virginia State Library in Richmond, Virginia, Film # 008249437, image 220 of 533, 1842 list, page 14, line 25, Jacob Lester Reps (s superscript), 0001 and line 19, Hiley Lester, 1001. [See images 83 (1835), 103 (1836), 122 (1837), 142 (1838), 158 (1839), 176 (1840),  and 193 (1841) for Jacob’s other listings. See images 251 (1843), 285 (1844), 319 (1845), and 355 (1846) for Hiley Lester’s listings.] (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CSPG-G3CQ-Q?cat=776059 : accessed 30 October 2022). 

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

5 thoughts on “52 Ancestors: #44 Jacob LESTER 1812-1842”

  1. Is it possible that Noah was a cousin or a nephew? When I researched my husband’s family, I found a similar scenario. One of his ancestors was found on a census report living with relatives that were not immediate family. It seemed that the ancestor was a helping hand on their farm. Then he moved out of state and married.
    There was a Noah L. Lester that served in the Civil War and he came from Virginia. Could that be the same person? http://civil-war-soldiers.findthebest.com/l/3281348/Noah-L-Lester

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that is the same one. The 1850 census doesn’t list relationships. 1840 doesn’t show the names of persons in a houshold other than the head. I found his marriage record on ancestry.com but not on FamilySearch (where I could have requested it through their photo duplication service). I found him in the 1860 census with his wife and 4 children. Then they disappear! But I’m not giving up.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is very interesting, as are all of your posts, and so very thoroughly researched! I’d like to see this posted on the Mountain Top families site to see if any of them have information on this family. Want me to post it there? Always great work!

    Liked by 1 person

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