52 Ancestors: #44 Jacob LESTER 1812-1842

52ancestors“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.

52 Ancestors: #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 (copyright 1996) 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 Apr 1775-14 Jan 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, Virginia.[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.

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:

  • Child 1: Hulen “Hugh” LESTER (1803-1880) 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 [–?–] LESTER (1814-1870) before 1847 in Shelby County, Indiana. They were the parents of 3 children. Hulen died 1880 in Shelby County, Indiana.
  • Child 2: Matilda LESTER (1805-1826) born about 1805. Matilda married Archelaus WEDDLE (1799-1870) on 23 September 1825 in Montgomery County. She died bet. 1826-1829 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) born about 1807. Malinda married Riley BOOTHE (1801-1870) on 26 May 1831 in Floyd County (marriage bond). They were the parents of 3 children, one died young. She died bet. 1890-1900 in Floyd County.
  • Child 4: John LESTER (1808-1852) born 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 1 April 1852 in Floyd County, Virginia.
  • Child 5: Amos Terry LESTER (1810-1890) born 30 November 1810. Amos married Susannah Jane LESTER (1814-1888) on 19 March 1835 in Floyd County. They were first cousins and parents of 10 children. He died on 14 February 1890 in Brown County, Indiana.
  • Child 6: Jacob LESTER born about 1812. More about this child below.
  • Child 7: Bird LESTER (1815-1864) born 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) born 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 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 in 1844-1845. He was a prominent and influential citizen, a successful farmer, a large land owner, and a slave owner.[8]

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 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.[9]

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:

Floyd County, VA DB A, pg. 417:
9 May 1836 between George Reed and Nancy his wife of Floyd County, VA and Champain Lester of Patrick County, VA for $350 land containing 145 acres on the gap fork of Beaver Creek, a branch of Little River bounded . . . on Andrew E. Reeds line. In presents of: And. E. Reed, Amos T. Lester, Jacob Lester signed: George (his x mark) Reed, Nancy (her __ mark) Reed (left blank) recorded: Floyd June Court 1836.[10]

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 Census
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.

“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.” [11]

Two other sources also refer to the appraisal of Jacob LESTER’s estate being made in March 1844.[12], [13]

*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 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.”[14]

The abstract of the will of John LESTER proved October 1851 names wife Mary; children Malinda Booth, Katherine Booth, Noah L., Hewline, John, Amos, Bird and William; grandchildren, George Washington and Emmeline Lester (children of deceased son, Jacob); two daughters of his deceased son Hewline and his first wife, Margaret; and Juliann Weddle (daughter of Matilda Weddle).[15]

Was Noah a son of Jacob?

This abstract brings up the question: Who is Noah L. LESTER? Some people believe that he was a son of my 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 years old daughter Susan, and Cynthia’s daughter Emaline from her marriage to Jacob LESTER.

However in the 1840 census Jacob had only one son listed in his household. His father John had a young male in his household in 1840 who could have been Noah who was born abt. 1834. A copy of the will needs to be obtained, or a true wording of the document, to determine the relationship of Noah to John and Polly. Marguerite Tise does 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. By 1860 Noah was married with 4 children. Polly was living with her son William T. LESTER, one of the executors of John’s estate. Polly died 14 February 1862 in Floyd County. Noah and his family have not been located after 1860.

Jacob’s Name

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

FDCJacobSo 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.com.

The 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? So 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.”

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

[1] Jerry Lester, 28 Jan 2005, online http://jerrylester.com/Tise%20Introduction/
[2] Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia  (Copyright 1996 Marguerite Tise, P.O. Box 343, Floyd, VA 24091-0343).
[3] Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia (1996)
[4] Land Office Grants No. 51, 1802-1803, p. 113 (Reel 117); Luster, John Jr.; Library of Virginia; online http://lva1.hosted.exlibrisgroup.com/F/?func=file&file_name=find-b-clas30&local_base=CLAS30.
[5] “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XR8V-MQT : accessed 02 Nov 2014), John Lester and Polly Terry, 05 Oct 1802; citing Montgomery County, Virginia, reference P 95; FHL microfilm 32633.
[6] Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia (1996)
[7] Jerry Lester, 28 Jan 2005, online http://jerrylester.com/Tise%20Introduction/
[8] Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia (1996)
[9] Floyd County, Virginia, Marriages 1831-1900; transcribed by Barbara Reininger from images copied from microfilm by Rena Worthen; FCVA1834_0002; FCVA1834_0048. Register: 2. Page: 128. online http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/Female_S.htm. Note: Barbara Reininger lists: Jacob (Jacob Hiley) Lester. Cannot tell if she transcribed the middle name from the marriage register or got it from another source.
[10] Susan M. Jurban, Reed Land Deeds – Montgomery County, VA from LDS films 0032611, 0032612, 0032613 read & transcribed  April, 2001. Shared on Barbara Reininger’s site Families of Floyd Co., Virginia, online http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/zz_research_reed_land_deeds.htm.
[11] Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia (1996); page 20
[12] Abstracts From Floyd Co, Virginia Will Book I, Barbara Reininger’s Families of Floyd County, Virginia site, online http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/zz_will_fcva_abstr_book1.htm
[13] Anne Lowry Worrell, Over the Mountain Men: Early Court Records in Southwest Virginia,  (1962), page 53
[14] Marguerite Tise, comp., The Lester Family of Floyd and Montgomery County Virginia (1996)
[15] Abstracts From Floyd Co, Virginia Will Book I, Barbara Reininger’s Families of Floyd County, Virginia site, online http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~barbr/zz_will_fcva_abstr_book1.htm

© 2014 Cathy Meder-Dempsey

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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