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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1297-1299 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

Andrew Lester, immigrant ancestor, was born in England. The Lester or Leicester family is of ancient English origin and the family has produced many distinguished men. Lester came to this country and settled at Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he was elected constable, January 7, 1646, and was licensed to keep an ordinary or tavern, February 26, 1648, by the county court. He removed to Pequot, Connecticut, in 1651, and was collector of taxes and constable at that place. He died at Pequot (New London), June 7, 1669. His home was on the Neck. He had liberty to draw land in 1651-52. His first wife, Barbara, died February 2, 1653-54, the first woman whose death was recorded at Pequot. He married (second) Joanna Hempstead, widow of Robert Hempstead, and she died before 1660. By his third wife Anna he had three children. The "Widow Lester" was admitted to the New London church by letter from the church at Concord, Massachusetts, in 1670. Children of first wife, born at Gloucester:

  1. Daniel, April 15, 1642, died at Great Neck, New London, January 16, 1715-16, married Hannah Fox;
  2. Andrew, December 26, 1644;
  3. Mary, December 26, 1647;
  4. Anne, March 21, 1651, married Isaac Willey.

Child of second wife:

  1. Joanna.

Children of third wife, born at New London:

  1. Timothy, July 4, 1662;
  2. Joseph, June 15, 1664;
  3. Benjamin, mentioned below.

(II) Benjamin, son of Andrew Lester, was born at New London, about 1666-67. He and his brothers, Daniel and Joseph, settled in the vicinity of the town plot. He married (first) Ann Stedman and had nine sons and two daughters. Their descendants have been very numerous in Groton, Connecticut, and vicinity. Ann Lester, his wife, died January 27, 1711-12. He died April 24, 1727, according to the Hempstead diary, but his will was dated May 23, 1727, and he probably died May 24, not April 24. The will bequeaths to Elizabeth, his wife, Timothy, eldest son, John, Benjamin, Isaac, Daniel, Jonathan, Daniel, Ann and Hannah. The will was proved January 9, 1727-28. Children, born at New London and Groton: Timothy, John, Benjamin, Isaac, David, Jonathan, mentioned below; Daniel, Ann, Hannah, others died young.

(III) Jonathan, son of Benjamin Lester, was born at New London, July 28, 1706. He married, May 15, 1729 (vol. 2, p. 54, town records), at Groton. He and his wife owned the covenant in the Congregational church at Groton. Children:

  1. Jonathan,
  2. Deborah,
  3. Thomas,
  4. Amos,
  5. Wait, baptized with the four preceding in childhood and infancy, October 11, 1731;
  6. Simeon, baptized August 14, 1734, mentioned below;
  7. David, baptized November 7, 1736.

The eldest, Captain Jonathan, died February 12, 1797; his wife Hannah, March 5, 1776, in her forty-sixth year. A son of Jonathan, aged ten years, was killed, two other sons slightly wounded, and one escaped unhurt July 31, 1742 (town records).

(IV) Simeon, son of Jonathan Lester, was born in July, 1734, baptized August 14, 1734, in the Congregational church at Groton. He died January 30, 1777, of small-pox and is buried at Groton (N. E. Reg. 1848, p. 404). He married, at Preston, Connecticut, Mary Lester, a cousin, born July 5, 1740, died in the spring of 1813. He lived at Groton. He and his wife owned the covenant in the First Congregational Church there December 16, 1764. Children:

  1. Mary, baptized December 16, 1764;
  2. Simeon, mentioned below.

(V) Simeon (2), son of Simeon (1) Lester, was born at Groton, Connecticut, February 24, 1766, baptized September 14, 1766. He died in Lower Canada, September 14, 1809. He married, September 16, 1788, Sally Gove, born at Preston, Connecticut, December 12, 1768, died July 27, 1824, daughter of Nathaniel Gove who was a lieutenant in the Seventeenth Connecticut Regiment in the continental army during the revolution and marched under Washington, taking part in battle of Long Island where he was taken prisoner by the British and confined on a prison ship in the North river and he died of disease and hardships suffered from prison life. After the revolution he emigrated to the state of Vermont. Children:

  1. Charles Gove, born August 28, 1790, mentioned below;
  2. Maria, married Ralph Taylor.

(VI) Charles Gove, son of Simeon (2) Lester, was born in Rutland, Vermont, August 28, 1790, died in Bethesda, Albany county, New York. He was educated in his native town, and graduated from Vermont University. He subsequently became a leading merchant in Montreal but suffered severe losses as a consequence of the business failures which followed the war of 1812, and from these reverses he never recovered. He married, at Worcester, Massachusetts, Susan Wells, born July 16, 1792, at Florida, New York, died September 25, 1864, at Saratoga Springs, daughter of Ephraim Smith, of East Sudbury, Massachusetts. Children:

  1. Elizabeth Curtis, married Alambert Pond, of Saratoga Springs;
  2. Charles Smith, mentioned below.

(VII) Charles Smith, son of Charles Gove Lester, was born March 15, 1824, in Worcester, died September 17, 1904, in Saratoga Springs. At an early age he was left to the care of his mother, and was educated at Washington Academy, Salem, New York. In September, 1841, he entered the law office of Crary & Fairfield of the latter place as a clerk and removed to Saratoga Springs in October, 1843. He continued his studies in the office of his uncle, John Willard, then circuit judge and vice-chancellor of the fourth circuit. On his twenty-first birthday he was admitted as solicitor and counselor by the late Chancellor Walworth, and the following May was admitted as attorney of the supreme court. He first formed a partnership with William Cullen Baches, a talented lawyer and the youngest brother of Hon. Augustus Baches, for many years one of the justices of the supreme court of the state of New York. This partnership was dissolved a few months later by the death of Mr. Baches. In 1859 Mr. Lester was elected district attorney on the Democratic ticket by a considerable majority, although his party was then in a political minority in Saratoga county. In the presidential campaign of 1860 he was an admirer and supporter of Stephen A. Douglas, but on the breaking out of the civil war, in common with thousands of the same political faith, he cast in his lot with those who desired the maintenance of the Union, and was afterwards thoroughly identified with the Republican party. Although incapacitated from active service by a serious defect in eyesight, he assisted in the labors which devolved on those who remained at home. When supervisor he refused to pay the extravagant bounties demanded by the taxpayers of his town, and finally, with great effort and at no small personal risk, raised the necessary quota and thus saved to the town many thousand dollars. In 1870 he was elected county judge and filled the office for six years with credit to himself and satisfaction to the public. In 1875 he was nominated for justice of the supreme court and after the most hotly contested and exciting nominating convention ever known in his judicial district, was defeated by a single vote. Judge Lester had a large and varied practice in his profession. His devotion and fidelity to his clients made him a popular and trusted as well as a successful advocate. He held such public offices as supervisor of the town, president of the village, and also of the board of education of Saratoga Springs. He travelled extensively, both in this country and Europe. He was a forcible public speaker, and many of his addresses delivered on occasions of historical interest have been published. In 1854 the corporation of Yale College conferred upon him the honorary degree of A. M. He was for many years a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Saratoga Springs, and for nearly half a century one of its trustees. He married, September 20, 1849, Lucy L., daughter of Timothy Cooke, of Milford, New York. Her maternal grandfather, James Wescott, was a soldier in the revolution. Children:

  1. Charles Cooke, mentioned below;
  2. Willard, mentioned below;
  3. James Westcott;
  4. Susan, married Bernadotte Perrin, professor of Greek language and literature at Yale University.

(VIII) Charles Cooke, son of Charles Smith Lester, was born June 27, 1850. He was educated at Union College, from which he took the degree of A. B. in 1870, the youngest member of his class. He then read law in his father's office and was admitted to the bar in 1873. At this time he entered into partnership with his father and this partnership continued until the death of the latter. In 1894 he was elected a delegate to the constitutional convention from his senatorial district, and took a prominent part in its proceedings. He was surrogate of Saratoga county from January 1, 1901, to January 1, 1905. He resigned previously to the last date on account of having been appointed by Governor Higgins miscellaneous reporter at Albany and re-appointed by Governor Hughes, January, 1907. This office he still retains. For many years he has been a member and one of the trustees of the Albany Law School, and for several years an alumni trustee of Union College. He has been a member of the New York State Bar Association since about the time of its organization. He married, in 1874, Catherine, daughter of Rev. Lavalette Perrin, D. D., of Torrington, Connecticut. She died in 1886, and he married (second) December 24, 1889, Mary Lane, daughter of George O. and Sarah F. (Strachan) Tach. She was a Virginian by birth. Children of second wife:

  1. Charles Tach, born December, 1893;
  2. Bernadotte Perrin, May 13, 1896.

(VIII) Willard, son of Charles Smith Lester, was born August 21, 1852, at Saratoga Springs. He prepared for college under the tuition of Rev. Dr. James N. Cricker, who conducted a school in Saratoga Springs at that time. He entered Union College in the fall of 1869, and graduated in the class of 1873, with the degree of A. B. He then studied law in the office of his father, and was admitted to the bar in the state of New York at the sitting of the supreme court January 12, 1877. He was admitted an attorney and counselor of the supreme court of the United States December 4, 1882, and was also admitted to the bar of the District of Columbia as attorney and counselor. Outside ofhis profession he has been engaged in business not strictly of a professional character. He has been connected with the Grand Union Hotel at Saratoga Springs, Willard's Hotel, Washington, D. C., and from 1891 to 1894, inclusive, conducted the Windsor Hotel at Saratoga Springs. For twenty-five years he has also been interested in real estate at Saratoga Springs. The firm of Lester Brothers, of which he is the senior member, conducts the principal real estate business in that town, and also makes a specialty of the examination of title to real estate, conveyancing and mortgage loans. September 13, 1876, the degree of A. M. was conferred on him by Union College. He married, November 7, 1894, Jessie Louise, daughter of Albert J. Starr, of Saratoga Springs.

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