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Lester Family

The Lester family lived and farmed northwest of Hack­ney.
William D. Lester was born April 3, 1815, in Richmond, Virgin­ia, but the family moved to Hart County, Kentucky, where the family resided many years. He was reared and schooled in his native county, and until 1874 pursued the vocation of a farmer there. In 1874, he moved his family to Beaver township, Cowley County, where he owned and cultivated 240 acres of good farming land. In Hart County, Kentucky, he married Eliza Bowling who was born November 4, 1823. They had five children: John W. Lester, who remained in Hart County; Sally Lester Murray, who was residing in Winfield in 1901; Anna B. Lester Wright, who resided in Beaver township in 1901; Molly Lester Sprunes, who died in 1901; Samuel Lester, who resided in Kay County, Oklahoma, in 1901; Gaines R. Lester, of West Bolton township, who married Flora May Sumpter; and Harry B. Lester of Cowley County, Kansas.      William D. Lester died March 31, 1882, and his wife, Eliza Bowling Lester, died November 2, 1912.
Harry B. Lester was born May 7, 1862 in Kentucky. and moved with his family to Cowley County in 1874. From the age of 12 on, Harry Lester spent his life on the family homestead. On September 8, 1896, he married Alice Kent. He was 34 and she was 23, and it was the only marriage for each of them.
Winfield Courier, March 23, 1882.
                                                      Another Whiskey Case.
The case of the State vs. Wm. Ogden came up for trial Tuesday afternoon before Justice Buckman. A great number of witnesses were summoned. MILO HART, of Beaver Township, a bright-looking young man, was the first witness called. He testified in a straight forward manner, with no attempt to conceal anything or screen himself. He testified that he had purchased liquor from the defendant, which he called “sea-foam,” but which was in reality beer, that the bottle was labeled beer, and that it made him tight. Thomas Poor and Harry Lester, of Beaver, both honest appearing boys, testified substantially to the same facts. The State rested its case on this testimony, and as we go to press the defense is putting on its witnesses. We will give the result next week.
LATER! The jury returned a verdict of guilty and Ogden was sentenced to sixty days in the county jail and to pay the costs. This is the most vigorous way of dealing with refractory beer-sellers yet inaugerated and will have a wholesome effect.
Winfield Courier, April 6, 1882.
 DIED. Mr. Lester, one of the oldest residents of Beaver Township, died last week. He was a man honored and respected among all his acquaintances, and the neighborhood sustains a great loss through his death, but we console ourselves in the knowledge of the fact that “what is our loss is his gain.” He leaves quite a large family, over whom this dark cloud will long cast a deep shade of sorrow. In this their hour of bereavement, we extend to them our heartfelt sympathy. We did not learn of the death in time to attend the funeral, a fact which we very much regret.
Winfield Courier, April 6, 1882.
                                                            Tannehill Items.

DIED. Died in Beaver Township, on Thursday night last at 10 o’clock p.m., Mr.
W. D. Lester, of long lingering disease of over three years standing. Although severely afflicted, Mr. Lester was not confined entirely to his bed until about three weeks previous to his death. He was one of the old settlers of Beaver Township, and had quite an extensive acquaintance in Cowley County; he was loved and respected by all who knew him, always ready and willing to accommodate his neighbors to the extent of his ability, a peaceable, honest, and upright man in all his dealings, a kind and affectionate parent, and agreeable husband. Mr. Lester will be very much missed by his friends and neighbors. As an evidence of this a large congregation collected at his residence to hear the funeral discourse which was very ably delivered by Rev. F. M. Rains, of Winfield, after which a large procession followed his remains to their last resting place at Beaver Township Cemetery. Mr. Lester was a consistent member of the Christian Church for several years. We extend our deep sympathy to the friends of the deceased who mourn the loss of so kind a friend.

Alice Kent was the daughter of Philo Kent and the grand-daughter of Daniel Kent. Daniel Kent died in 1865 and his wife, whose maiden was Allen, passed away in February of 1877. Philo Kent was one of a family of 12 children, with five half brothers. The following three were living in 1901; Elizabeth Kent Myers of Sedgwick county, William Kent of Florence and Daniel of the Cherokee strip.
Philo Kent was born near Plain City, Ohio in 1836. In 1854 at the age of eighteen years, he left home and spent several years in Illinois, Iowa and Minneso­ta. In 1862 he enlist­ed in Company D, 9th Reg., Minn. Vol. Infantry. After the war he returned to his native state, and while there was married to Maggie Clark in 1865. She was a native of England who came to the United States when a girl of seven years. The first three years of his married life were spent in farming, in part­nership with his brother, but in 1869 he located on a farm at Paola in Miami County, Kansas. Remaining there but a short time, he took up a claim in 1871, in Beaver Township, Cowley County, comprising the northwest quarter of section 10, township 33, range 3 east. They had five children living in 1901. They were Henry, married and living 6 miles north of Winfield; Effie Kent McClung, who lived three miles south of her father’s farm, in Beaver township; Alice Kent Lester, who lived in Beaver township; and Howard and William, who were at home, assisting their father in cultivating the farm. Philo Kent died Saturday, October 31, 1903.
Harry Lester lived on and worked the family farm until his health began to fail. On Octo­ber 1943, he and his wife moved to Winfield. He died Febru­ary 27, 1944. He was survived by his wife, Alice B. (Kent) Lester, one sister, Mrs. Alice B. Wright of Winfield, and one brother, G. R. Lester of Arkansas City.
Alice B. Kent was born March 22, 1874, the fifth and last child of Mr. and Mrs. Philo Kent. She died Febru­ary 29, 1960, and was buried beside her husband in Tannehill cemetery. They had no children.
The family is best remembered for the 1916 Ford touring car that Harry Lester bought new from the Stuber Brothers Ford automobile agency in Winfield. They traded the car back to the Stuber brothers Ford agency in 1938.

In the picture of the automobile, you will notice a crank hanging below the brass radiator. There is nothing wrong with the automobile. In 1916 the self starter had not yet been invented so every car had to be cranked to be started. This practically eliminated women as drivers.
Another feature is the headlights and side lights just in front of the windshield. These are not electric but are gas lights. On one of the fenders was mounted a small bottle of compressed “Prestolite” gas. “Prestolite” was a compressed acetylene gas. The gas was con­nected to a tubing system going to the lights. The lights had to be lit with a match.
The top is convertible. It could be folded down but was usually left up. There were side curtains that could be fastened by snap fasteners to the top and to the body to convert the car to a closed style for use in inclement weather.
The Stubers kept the automobile in good repair for publicity purposes and it became a feature of many of the Winfield parades. We have no record of its disposition when Stuber Brothers quit business. It was and still is a collectors’ item so we suspect it is still in existence, lovingly cared for, and still running for special occasions.
Arkansas City Republican, September 20, 1884.
G. R. Lester, while threshing, was standing near a wagon loaded with wheat, engaged in serious thought. The writer approached him cautiously. He was soliloquizing thus: “One thousand bushels of wheat at one dollar a bushel and couldn’t I sail through--get married--go on a wedding tour. But only fifty cents a bushel. Ah, me!”
Arkansas City Republican, October 11, 1884.
BIRTH. H. B. Lester has a brand new boy at his house. The writer was standing in a field ten rods from the road, when the happy young father came riding by, exclaiming at the top of his voice: “Get out of the way, here comes Dad.”
                                                          NOVUS HOMO.
Arkansas City Republican, February 20, 1886.
Harry Lester and wife will start for Los Angeles, California, next Monday. His object is to locate if he is satisfied with the country. His brother, Ron, will manage the home farm and doubtless take unto himself a help-mate.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum