Troy's Genealogue

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KESTER Family History, Part VI

November 2011

Sarah Ann (KESTER) MILLER7 (1819-1902)

125113B. Sarah Ann Kester7, the eldest daughter of John Bonham Kester, Sr.2 and Margaret Layson, was born on March 18, 1819, in Vigo County, Indiana. She married David John Miller6 in 1840 in Cedar County, Iowa. They had six children:

125113B1. Finetta A. Miller 23 Feb 1841 9 Apr 1908 (67)
125113B2. Isaac Dennis Miller7 8 Dec 1843 25 May 1896 (52)
125113B3. Margaret Elizabeth Miller 15 Sep 1854 3 Apr 1938 (83)
125113B3. John Valentine Miller 24 Sep 1856 13 Apr 1940 (83)
125113B5. Mary Jane Miller 4 Jan 1859 3 Jul 1940 (81)
125113B6. Sarah Ellen Miller 21 Mar 1861 6 Nov 1932 (71)

David John Miller died in 1892 in Table Rock, near Sam's Valley, Jackson County, in southwest Oregon, just north of Medford. He was 74 years old.

Sometime after David's death, Sarah moved to back to San Luis Obispo. There she was hospitalized at the San Luis Obispo County Hospital by 1900.[Cen 1900]

Sarah Ann (Kester) Miller died 10 years later on June 29, 1902, in San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County, California, where some of her grandchildren lived. She was 83 years old.

Sources
  • Cen 1820: 7 Aug 1820 Census, Vigo County, Indiana
  • Cen 1860: Jun 1860 Census, Side Hill Post Office, Cedar Township, Johnson County, Iowa
  • Cen 1880: 1 Jun 1880 Census, Slate Creek Precinct, Josephine County, Oregon
  • Cen 1900: 14 Jun 1900 Census, County Hospital, San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County, California

Mary (KESTER) DENNIS (1820-1841)

125113C. Mary Kester was born in Vigo County, Indiana, on October 28, 1820. She married Isaac King Dennis in March 1839 in Cedar County, Iowa, and had one daughter:

125113C1. Malinda Dennis 10 Apr 1840 Mar 1880 (39)
Isaas Dennis
It appears that my 3x-great grandfather and Mary's nephew, Isaac Dennis Miller, was named after Mary's husband in 1843.

The Dennis family remained in Cedar County where Mary died two brief years later on March 23, 1841, in Cedar Bluff. She was only 20 years old.

Isaac went on to remarry to Mary's younger sister, Elizabeth who also died only a few years after their wedding.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa

James Layson KESTER (1822-1890)

James Layson KESTER 125113D. James Layson Kester was born in Vigo County, Indiana, on April 12, 1822. He was likely named for his maternal grandfather, James Layson. He married Ruth Ann/Eddy Morse on February 22, 1845, in Johnson County, Iowa, and fathered 12 children:

125113DA. John B. Kester 30 Aug 1846 18 Apr 1847 (7 mos.)
125113DB. James G. Kester 23 Mar 1848 25 Dec 1919 (71)
125113DC. Clorinda J. Kester 1 Jan 1850 After 1905 (>55)
125113DD. Jasper Frank Robert Kester 29 Nov 1852 15 Feb 1929 (76)
125113DE. Lydia A. Kester 28 Sep 1854 9 Jan 1940 (85)
125113DF. Newton Nethanial Kester 18 Mar 1857 Mar 1904 (47)
125113DG. Ruth Kester 25 Dec 1859 18 Feb 1864 (4)
125113DH. William B. Kester 23 Aug 1862 19 Feb 1866 (3)
125113DI. Emma Jane "Ella" Kester 25 Dec 1864 --  -- 
125113DJ. Charles Henry Kester 23 Jun 1867 28 Apr 1937 (69)
125113DK. Elva Elisabeth Kester 17 Aug 1869 13 Apr 1873 (3)
125113DL. Lillie M. Kester 2 Mar 1873 --  -- 
Ruth (Morse) Kester
Ruth Ann Morse, the daughter of Nathaniel Brown Morse, was also the eldest sister of Stephen E. Morse who married into another allied family of our Kester-Miller family--the Andrews family. Their brother Abel William Gustavus Morse was one of the founders of the unincorporated village of Morse in Graham Township, Johnson County, Iowa.

The first five children were born in Iowa, likely in Newport Township, Johnson County, near Ruth's brother Edwin K. Morse.[Cen 1850,1856] Around 1859 the family moved southwest into the Kansas Territory and settled near Fort Riley, Riley County,[Cen 1860] where daughter Ruth was likely born. They did not stay long in Kansas before continuing west to Napa County, California, about 1860. James was perhaps the first of his many siblings to move to California.

The next two children may have been born in or around Napa County before the family moved south to San Luis Obispo County in 1867 where son Charles was born. There they lived in Morro Township near Old Creek (Cayucos) to the north of Morro Bay by 1870, as did James' younger brother John.[Cen 1870]

Next the Kesters moved over the coastal mountains to Salinas Township (perhaps as far north as Paso Robles) by 1880.[Cen 1880] They reportedly lived in San Luis Obispo for a time as well.

James Layson Kester died on December 23, 1890, in Los Osos, San Luis Obispo County, California. He was 68 years old.

Ruth Ann/Eddy (Morse) Kester died six years later on August 25, 1896, in San Luis Obispo.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 21 Oct 1850 Census, Newport Township, Johnson County, Iowa
  • Cen 1856: 1856 Iowa Census, Newport Township, Johnson County, Iowa
  • Cen 1860: 21 Jul 1860 Census, [Fort Riley], Riley County, Kansas Territory
  • Cen 1870: 6 Jul 1870 Census, Old Creek Post Office, Morro Township, San Luis Obispo County, California
  • Cen 1880: 7 Jun 1880 Census, Salinas Township, San Luis Obispo County, California

Cynthia Ann (KESTER) THOMPSON (1823-1860)

125113E. Cynthia Ann Kester was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, on October 3, 1823. She married Lewis H. Thompson, Jr. in October 1848 and raised four children, all believed to have been born in Johnson County, Iowa, likely in Cedar Township:[Cen 1860]

125113E1. Horace William Thompson 28 Dec 1849 --  -- 
125113E2. John Thomas Thompson May 1852 (<1860) (<8)
125113E3. Lewis Wayman Thompson 25 Jan 1855 --  -- 
125113E4. Adelia Ann Thompson 1 Nov 1857 (<1860) (<3)

Cynthia Ann (Kester) Thompson died on September 14, 1860, in Cedar Bluff, Cedar County, Iowa, at the age of 36. She is buried at the Gunsolus (Evergreen) Cemetery, Cass Township, in Cedar County.

Lewis went on to remarry Harriet A. between 1860 and 1862. He was in his late-30s and she in her late teens. They had four children in Cedar Township[Cen 1870].

--  James M. Thompson (1862-1863) --  -- 
--  George M. Thompson (1863-1864) --  -- 
--  Mary C. Thompson (1865-1866) --  -- 
--  Nellie M. Thompson (1867-1868) --  -- 

Harriet A. Thompson died on February 27, 1871, at the young age of 27. She is buried in Cass Township, Cedar County, Iowa.

August 2011 Lewis remarried a third time to Sarah W. Knight around 1871. She had a son from her previous marriage and they had two more sons together in Cedar Township:[Cen 1880]

--  George W. Knight (1861-1862) --  -- 

--  Robert Thompson (1871) --  -- 
--  Frank Thompson (1877-1878) --  -- 

Lewis H. Thompson, Jr. lived to the age of 59 and died on April 6, 1883. He is buried at the Gunsolus (Evergreen) Cemetery, Cass Township, in Cedar County.

Sources
  • Cen 1860: 1 Jun 1860 Census, Side Hill Post Office, Cedar Township, Johnson County, Iowa
  • Cen 1870: 8 Jul 1870 Census, Solon Post Office, Cedar Township, Johnson County, Iowa

Elizabeth Ann (KESTER) DENNIS (1826-1854)

125113F. Elizabeth Ann Kester was born on February 20, 1826, in Montgomery County, Indiana. She married her elder sister Mary's widower, Isaac King Dennis on August 23, 1848. Isaac had one daughter with Elizabeth's sister Mary, and Elizabeth and Isaac had two children together:

125113C1. Malinda Dennis 10 Apr 1840 Mar 1880 (39)

125113F1. Martha Margrete Dennis 27 Jun 1849 30 May 1892 (42)
125113F2. Walter William Dennis (1850-1851) --  -- 

Isaas Dennis
It appears that my 3x-great grandfather and Mary and Elizabeth's nephew, Isaac Dennis Miller, was named after her husband in 1843.

After their marriage, the Dennis family next door to Elizabeth's mother and her five younger siblings in Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa.[Cen 1850]

Unfortunately, Elizabeth died only five and a half years into their marriage on March 27, 1854, in Johnson County, Iowa. She was only 28 years old.

After Elizabeth's death, Isaac remarried for a third time to Mary Ann Haynes/Haines on June 23, 1857, in Johnson County, Iowa, and had one son:

-- John M. Dennis (1857-1858) --  -- 

The Dennis family lived in Cedar Township, Johnson County, next door his sister-in-law Cynthia (Kester) Thompson.[Cen 1860] Later in the 1860s they continued north to Putnam Township, Linn County, near Cedar Rapids, where daughter Malinda and her husband Samuel Fackler had settled after they married in 1860. There Mary Ann's 71-year-old mother, Catharine Haynes, lived with them.[Cen 1870]

The Dennis family continued their wanderings, this time back-tracking to Big Grove Township in Johnson County by 1880. Mary Ann's mother continued to live with them.[Cen 1880]

Isaac King Dennis died on June 18, 1886, at the age of 66. He is buried at the Fackler's Grove Cemetery in Johnson County.

Mary Ann (Haynes) Dennis died five years later in Johnson County and is also buried at the Fackler's Grove Cemetery.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa
  • Cen 1860: 1 Jun 1860 Census, Side Hill Post Office, Cedar Township, Johnson County, Iowa
  • Cen 1870: 1870 Census, Cedar Rapids Post Office, Putnam Township, Linn County, Iowa
  • Cen 1880: 10 Jun 1880, Big Grove Township, Johnson County, Iowa

John Bonham KESTER, Jr. (1829-1921)

125113H. John Bonham Kester, Jr. was born in Montgomery County, Indiana, on September 19, 1829. He married Sarah Jane Chord, nine years his junior, in Cedar County, Iowa, on April 10, 1854. They had eight children:

125113H1. John Chord Kester 7 Jun 1855 20 Apr 1932 (76)
125113H2. Willard Ward Kester 6 Feb 1857 20 Dec 1927 (70)
125113H3. Margaret Ann Kester 1 Oct 1859 --  -- 
125113H4. Upton Frank Kester 22 Sep 1861 29 Mar 1947 (85)
125113H5. Edwin James Kester 14 Sep 1866 27 Feb 1914 (47)
125113H6. Charles Decater Kester 14 Sep 1871 18 Dec 1948 (77)
125113H7. George Kester (4) Dec 1874 23 Dec 1875 (1)
125113H8. Felix Kester 6 May 1877 27 Aug 1948 (71)

The first two children were born in Johnson County, Iowa, and about 1859 moved briefly to Collin County, Texas, where their third child, Margaret, was born. By the 1860 census they returned to Graham Township, Johnson County, Iowa, but not long after moved west to California in 1863. By 1866 they had settled in Napa County, as did John's eldest brother James did several years earlier, where Edwin James was born. The family then moved south to San Luis Obispo County and settled near John's eldest brother James in Cayucos, Morro Township, by 1870.[Cen 1870]

Sarah Jane (Chord) Kester died on January 13, 1881, in Cayucos and was buried at the Cayucos-Morro Bay District Cemetery.

John is said to have later served as the San Luis Obispo County Supervisor from 1890 to 1898. He also served as the census taker for Morro Township in 1900.

John Bonham Kester, Jr. lived another 40 years and died on July 17, 1921, in Cayucos at the age of 91. He is also buried at the Cayucos-Morro Bay District Cemetery.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa
  • Cen 1870: 11 Jul 1870 Census, Old Creek Post Office, Morro Township, San Luis Obispo County, California

William KESTER (1831-1894)

125113I. William Kester was born August 19, 1831, in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana. He married Harriet D. Andrews on March 5, 1854, in Johnson County, Iowa, and raised five children:

125113I1. Dulcena Estell Kester 4 Apr 1855 --  -- 
125113I2. Homer K. Kester 31 Dec 1857 Bef. 1945 (<88)
125113I3. Emma Kester Apr (1860) --  -- 
125113I4. Eunice Lillian Kester 2 Jul 1860 25 Nov 1946 (86)
125113I5. Herbert Harlow Kester 15 Jun 1863 --  -- 

California Migration
My 3x-great grandparents, William's nephew Isaac Miller and Harriet's niece Candace Andrews were wed in 1868 prior to moving to California.

By the time of Harriet's mother's death in 1879, the Kesters had moved to Stockton, San Joaquin County, California. By the 1900 census they moved further north to the Pitt River district in Lassen County.

William Kester died on December 27, 1894, in California at the age of 63.

Harriet (Andrews) Kester died nine years later on October 6, 1913, in Pittville, (Shasta/Lassen County), California. She was 80 years old.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa

Naomi (KESTER) WORKMAN (1833-1885)

1251131J. Naomi Kester was born on September 7, 1833, in Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana. She married Stephanas Workman on November 27, 1853, and raised six children:

125113J1. Chloe M. Workman 25 October 1854 23 Jun 1874 (19)
125113J2. Jane M. Workman 6 May 1857 15 Nov 1884 (27)
125113J3. John Frank Workman 11 Jul 1859 --  -- 
125113J4. Isaac M. Workman 7 Apr 1864 23 Feb 1893 (28)
125113J5. Electra R. Workman 14 Feb 1867 --  -- 
125113J6. James E. Workman 27 Jun 1867 --  -- 

Naomi (Kester) Workman died on March 18, 1885, at the age of 51.

Stephanas Workman lived 16 years longer and died on April 17, 1901, at the age of 72.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa

Eliza Jane (KESTER BALDWIN) BRIGGS (1836-1888)

Eliza Jane (KESTER BALDWIN) BRIGGS 125113K. Eliza Jane Kester was born in Mercer County, Illinois, on February 17, 1836. She married David Vance Baldwin about 1854 and had four children before he died in 1871:

125113K1. David Wilbert Baldwin 5 May 1855 --  -- 
125113K2. Alfred Chester Baldwin (1857-1858) 1868 (11)
125113K3. Edgar Dighton Baldwin 2 Aug 1861 After 1904 (>43)
125113K4. Elma Eliza Baldwin 12 Oct 1869 4 Aug 1929 (59)

--  Joseph Briggs (1873-1874) --  -- 

The Baldwins lived in Cass Township, Cedar County, Iowa, near Cedar Bluff, where David was a merchant. While in Cass Township, the Baldwins took in Eliza's niece, Martha Dennis, whose mother had died in 1854, by 1860.[Cen 1860]

In 1863 they packed into a horse-drawn covered wagon and set out from Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa, on the Oregon Trail and resettled in Scio, Linn County, Oregon, where David worked as a photographer.[Cen 1870]

David Baldwin died on February 20, 1871, at the age of about 38.

Eliza remarried five years later to Albert L. Briggs, who had four children from an earlier marriage. Their marriage ended in divorce by 1880 and Eliza and her children, including Albert's son Joseph, lived with the elderly Edward and Ann Loat couple in Scio.[Cen 1880A] In 1880, Albert lived nearby on Mill Street as a boarder with the M. Alexander family. He worked as a sign painter[Cen 1880B] and went on to remarry to Lucinda Francis (Bilyeu) Mack, a widow with seven children, in 1881. They lived about 8 miles north of Scio in Stayton, Marion County, Oregon.[Cen 1900] They had four more sons.

Eliza and children Edgar and Elma moved to California, probably in the mid-1880s.

Eliza Jane (Kester Baldwin) Briggs died on December 20, 1888, in Monterey County, California. She was 52 years old.

Albert L. Briggs died of cancer on October 30, 1913, at his home in West Stayton, Marion County, Oregon. He is buried at Lone Oak Cemetery in Stayton. He was 72 years old.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa
  • Cen 1860: 25 Jun 1860 Census, Cedar Bluff Post Office, Cass Township, Cedar County, Iowa
  • Cen 1870: 13 Sep 1870 Census, Scio Precinct, Linn County, Oregon
  • Cen 1880A: 29 Jun 1880 Census, Scio, Linn County, Oregon
  • Cen 1880B: 29 Jun 1880 Census, Mill Street, Scio, Linn County, Oregon
  • Cen 1900: 15 Jun 1900 Census, Stayton, Marion County, Oregon

Francis Marion KESTER (1838-1920)Blue Star

125113L. Francis Marion Kester was born in Cedar Bluff, Cedar County, Iowa, on July 1, 1838. He married Mary RATE on September 1, 1862, in Johnson County, Iowa, just days before enlisting in the Union Army during the Civil War. They are not known to have had any children. He later remarried to Mary Ruth Mathews, 25 years his junior, on September 9, 1882. They had nine children:

125113L1. Mary Margaret Kester 27 Aug 1883 13 Sep 1883 (2 wks)
125113L2. Annie Aquila Kester 19 Nov 1884 (< 1910) (< 25)
125113L3. Albert Francis Kester 25 May 1886 (< 1910) (< 23)
125113L4. Sarah Ann Kester 3 Feb 1888 (< 1910) (< 22)
125113L5. Chester Abot Kester 2 Apr 1890 --  -- 
125113L6. Myron Sidney "Skip" Kester 18 Mar 1892 20 Oct 1960 (68)
125113L7. Melissa Elizabeth Kester 20 Nov 1894 --  -- 
125113L8. Walter Marion Kester 17 May 1902 --  -- 
125113L9. Ruth Myrtle Kester 10 Dec 1907 26 Nov 1993 (85)

Civil War

Francis enlisted as a private with the 22nd Regiment Iowa Volunteer Infantry, Company A. The 22nd Iowa Infantry was organized in Iowa City, Iowa, and mustered in for three years on September 9, 1862. It served in General Ulysses S. Grant's campaign against Confederate Lieutenant General John C. Pemberton at Vicksburg, Mississippi, where it engaged at the Battles of Port Gibson (1 May), Champion Hill (16 May), Big Black River Bridge (17 May), and the Seige of Vicksburg. The regiment is known for being the only Union unit to breach the defenses of Vicksburg, during the May 22, 1863, assault.

The following year the regiment went north to Virginia and participated in General Philip H. Sheridan's Army of the Shenandoah and Valley Campaigns against Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal A. Early. It engaged rebels at the Battle of Opequon Creek (19 Sep 1864), Battle of Fisher's Hill (21-22 Sep), and Battle of Cedar Creek (19 Oct).

The regiment mustered out on July 25, 1865. Francis mustered out at the rank of Second Corporal.

Family

Francis married Mary Rate on September 1, 1862[Mar 1862], just days before enlisting in the Union Army. Their marriage ended (reason unknown) by 1880 and Francis worked as a farm laborer for the A[s]el (Asahel) D. and Mary L. Wallace family in San Simeon Township, San Luis Obispo County.[Cen 1880]

Francis remarried to Mary Ruth Mathews, who was 25 years his junior, on September 9, 1882, perhaps in San Simeon Township, San Luis Obispo County, where both were enumerated two years prior in the census.[Cen 1880] He 44 years old and she only 19 years old. They had nine children, likely all born in San Luis Obispo County.

The Kesters settled in Morro Township, San Luis Obispo County, by 1900, when Francis' brother John served as the township census taker.[Cen 1900]

Tragedy appears to have struck in the 1900's when by 1910 Ruth is noted to have only five children surviving at the time--the five youngest. At the time they were living in Paso Robles Township, in the Salinas River Valley of San Luis Obispo County.[Cen 1910]

The Kesters were enumerated along Las Pilitas Road, Pilitas Precinct, Santa Margarita Township, further up the Salinas River Valley of San Luis Obispo County, in 1920.[Cen 1920]

Francis Marion Kester died on March 8, 1920, at the county hospital in San Luis Obispo. He was 81 years old.

In the late 1920s, Mary lived with her son-in-law and daughter, Harry and Ruth McNeil, along Pozo Road in Santa Margarita Township.[Cen 1930]

His widow Mary Ruth (Mathews) Kester died 15 years later in Atascadero, San Luis Obispo County, California, on December 31, 1935. She was 72.

Sources
  • Cen 1850: 17 Sep 1850 Census, Center Township, Cedar County, Iowa
  • Mar 1862: Iowa Marriages, 1851-1900, 1 Sep 1862, Johnson County, Iowa
  • Cen 1880: 11 Jun 1880 Census, San Simeon Township, San Luis Obispo County, California
  • Cen 1900: 10 Jul 1900 Census, Morro Township, San Luis Obispo County, California
  • Cen 1910: [20] Apr 1910 Census, Paso Robles Township, San Luis Obispo County, California
  • Cen 1920: 28 Jan 1920 Census, Pilitas Road, Pilitas Precinct, Santa Margarita Township, San Luis Obispo County, California
  • Cen 1930: 26 Apr 1930 Census, Pozo [Road], Santa Margarita Township, San Luis Obispo County, California