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Lester Family Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

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Lester Family Papers, 1864-1934 | Eastern Kentucky University - Special Collections and Archives

By Kyle Beeler

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Collection Overview

Title: Lester Family Papers, 1864-1934Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1905-1913

Primary Creator: Lester, Mildred A. (1855-1934)

Extent: 0.23 Cubic Feet

Date Acquired: 04/05/2012

Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865., Land titles--Kentucky., Lester family.

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Lester Family Papers are comprised mostly of correspondence to Mildred Ann McAlexander Lester, of Mason County, Kentucky. She was the widow of Edras Lester and the letters are from her daughter, son-in-law, grandchildren, friends, and account holders. There is also correspondence addressed to others beside Mrs. Lester. In addition to the letters are many documents relating to a land dispute over Mrs. Lester's father's estate in Patrick County, VA. There is a sketch of property boundaries, a copy of his will, and correspondence between various people that were working on the case. Included are various forms of financial documentation from banks, personal account holders, etc. There are also documents from the Civil War, including two savings bond certificates as well as an Oath of Allegiance for a prisoner of war. Keepsakes, holiday cards, log books, memorabilia, and other items are also a part of the collection.

Collection Historical Note

Esdras Lester, son of Charles S. Lester and Sarah Hornbarger, lived with his family in Floyd County where they farmed and operated a grist mill. In 1871 Esdras married his cousin Mildred Ann McAlexander, daughter of Samuel McAlexander and Byer Lester of Patrick County Virginia. Patrick County lies directly south of Floyd County on the border with North Carolina. Byer was the sister of Esdras' father Charles. The results of the Civil War brought changes to the Lesters. While some continued to live around Floyd and Montgomery Counties, some moved to the newly created state of West Virginia and other points west. Charles Lester joined his brother Champ in Raleigh County West Virginia. It is not clear if Esdras and Mildred settled in Patrick or Floyd counties; however, their first child Cora was born in 1871 in Patrick County. Sometime before 1880, Esdras took his family to Raleigh County, West Virginia to join his father and other family members. However, it was only a temporary stop. Esdras and Mildred loaded a wagon and journeyed across the mountains to Mason or Lewis County Kentucky. This is indicated by the birth of Meade, the fourth child in Virginia in 1879; and the birth of the next son Johnnie (b. 1881) and all subsequent children in Kentucky. According to family tradition, they brought with them a glass-front pie safe which was passed down to me. It still has the wavy-glass in the doors and glass handles on the drawers. Esdras and Mildred had twelve children; nine lived to adulthood. The family appears to have lived in the Kentucky counties of Lewis, Bath, Nicholas and Mason; there were relatives in those counties. The family settled in Mason County sometime after 1900 as they are listed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census in Nicholas County, but later appear in Mason County. By 1900 the 3 oldest children of Esdras and Mildred were on their own. Esdras' eldest daughter Cora married her cousin S.W. McAlexander and lived in Mississippi in 1905. Esdras, my great-grandfather, went to visit Cora and either while he was there or on his way home he died; at this point there is no information on the specifics of his death or where he is buried. Mildred who had remained in Kentucky was now left on her own with five children still at home. As evidenced by some of the documents in this packet, Mildred was always looking for ways to provide for her family. Some correspondence indicates that she sought items to sell; other letters are about the value and disposition of land she owned (or thought she owned) in Patrick County Virginia. My great-grandmother Mildred Ann stayed around Maysville where many of her children were located. My father and her grandson George said she always smoked a corn cob pipe. A picture of her with that pipe is in this packet. Mildred Ann McAlexander Lester died in 1934 and was buried in the Wedonia Cemetery in Wedonia, KY as are three of her sons and their descendants.

Subject/Index Terms

Civil War, 1861-1865.
Land titles--Kentucky.
Lester family.

Administrative Information

Repository: Eastern Kentucky University - Special Collections and Archives

Acquisition Source: Kathleen Moats

Acquisition Method: Gift


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Box:

[Box 1],
[All]

Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Civil War Documents, 1864-1865Add to your cart.
Contains 2 savings bond certificates from the Confederate States of America as well as a certificate of release of a prisoner of war from the U.S. government for Daniel McAlexander.
Folder 2: Correspondence, 1868-1906Add to your cart.
Contains letters from various family members, physicians, and friends addressed to Mrs. Lester.
Folder 3: Correspondence from S.W. McAlexander to M.A. Lester, 1911-1912Add to your cart.
Contains numerous letters to Mrs. Lester from her son-in-law in which he relates news of the death of his family, weather impacts on farming, the hiring of help on the farm, etc. Also enclosed are locks of hair from the deceased family.
Folder 4: Correspondence to M.A. Lester, 1906-1934Add to your cart.
Contains letters from various family members, physicians, and friends addressed to Mrs. Lester.
Folder 5: Ephemeral Items, 1869-1917Add to your cart.
Contains a manuscript hymn, certificate of membership for the Fine Arts Institute of Omaha, business solicitations/advertisements, recipes, holiday cards to Mrs. Lester, and other personal keepsakes/memorabilia such as a lock of hair, and scraps of fabric with an obituary notice.
Folder 6: Financial Records, 1900-1933Add to your cart.
Includes various financial statements from banks, doctors, county clerks, and personal account holders.
Folder 7: Land Dispute Documents, 1884-1920Add to your cart.
Contains multiple types of documents to include a will in testament, diagram of property, correspondence, advertisements, and other items pertaining to the disputed estate of Samuel McAlexander.


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