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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:

Index to All Families | Index to Families by County: Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 1591-1592 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.]

This name is a corruption of Leicester which as a surname is taken from the locality of that name and has been borne by some of the most powerful nobles of Great Britain. The first authentic record in New England is of Andrew Lester, 1648, although in June and July, 1635, John Lester was master of the ship "Blessing." As early as 1623, Thomas Leister, aged thirty-three, was living at or near "James Cittye," Virginia. Andrew Lester first appears at Gloucester, Massachusetts, where he was licensed to keep a house of entertainment by the county court, February 26, 1648-49. The births of four of his children are recorded at Gloucester. He removed to New London, Connecticut, in 1651, where he was constable and collector in 1668. He died June 7, 1669. His first wife, Barbara, died February 2, 1653-54, and is the first death of a woman recorded at New London. He married (second) Joanna, believed to be a daughter of Isaac Willey and widow of Robert Hemstead. She died without issue prior to 1660. He married (third) Anna ————, who survived him and married (second) Isaac Willey, died 1692. Children by first wife:

  1. Daniel, born April 15, 1642, settled in Bolton, Connecticut;
  2. Andrew, born December 26, 1644, married Lydia Bailey;
  3. Mary, born December 26, 1647, married Samuel Fox;
  4. Anna, born March 21, 1651, married Thomas Way.

Children by third wife:

  1. Timothy, born July 4, 1662;
  2. Joseph, born June 15, 1664;
  3. Benjamin, of further mention.

(II) Benjamin, youngest child of Andrew and Anna Lester, was born in New London, Connecticut. He was an inhabitant of New London all his life, and died there in 1737. He married Ann, daughter of Thomas and Hannah (Isabell) Stedman. She died January 27, 1711, "after living with her husband twenty-two years, left nine sons and two daughters." Only six children are found recorded at New London. Timothy, John, Ann, Benjamin, Isaac and Jonathan. Where the other five were born, or if in New London, why they were not recorded cannot be explained. One of the five was undoubtedly Simeon, born early in the year 1700.

(IV) Simeon, grandson of Benjamin and Ann (Stedman) Lester, removed to Lester Junction, Vermont, where he married Sally, daughter of Captain Nathaniel Gove, of Vermont, a descendant of Major Nathan Gove, of Fairfield, Connecticut, assistant 1657-95, a "Gentleman" of high reputation in New England. His son Nathan (2) was long engaged in the public service, was recorder of the town of Fairfield for many years, assistant 1694-1723; lieutenant-governor, 1698, chief justice of the supreme court of Connecticut, 1712, Captain Nathaniel Gove was an officer of the revolution. Children of Simeon and Sally (Gove) Lester:

  1. Charles Gove;
  2. Maria, married Ralph Taylor, of St. Albans, Vermont.

(V) Charles Gove, only son of Simeon and Sally (Gove) Lester, was born 1780, died in Bethlehem, Albany county, New York, 1836. He was a graduate of Middleburg [Middlebury?] College, Vermont, and was for a long time engaged in mercantile business at Montreal, Canada. Later he settled in Albany county. He married Susan Wells Smith, born in Massachusetts. Children:

  1. Charles Smith, of further mention;
  2. Elizabeth Curtis, married Alembert Pond, of Saratoga Springs, New York, a lawyer and member of the New York constitutional convention of 1867-68.

(VI) Charles Smith, only son of Charles Gove and Susan Wells (Smith) Lester, was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, March 15, 1824, died at Saratoga Springs, November 17, 1904. He was educated in the public schools and at Washington Academy, Salem, New York. In September, 1841, he entered the law office of Crary & Fairchild as a clerk, and in October, 1843, removed to Saratoga Springs where he continued his law studies with his uncle, Judge John Willard, then circuit judge and vice-chancellor of the fourth district. He was admitted to the bar as solicitor and counsellor in chancery at the age of twenty-one years, and in 1845 to practice in the supreme court. He established his practice in Saratoga and quickly won popular favor. In 1859 he was elected district attorney on the Democratic ticket, although that party was then in the minority in Saratoga county. He held the office three years, and then retired to private practice. In 1870 he was elected county judge, holding the office six years, and after quitting the bench again retired to private practice. He had a large and varied practice and was especially noted for his fidelity and devotion to his clients. He was an orator of high order, direct, forcible and logical in his argument, yet pleasing and happy in his lighter vein. As a judge he was noted for his quick dispatch of business and the justice and impartiality of his decisions. He held many positions of honor and trust other than those mentioned. He was supervisor of the town; president of the village corporation; president of the board of education; president of the commercial bank and business agent for A. T. Stewart, the merchant prince of New York City, after his purchase of the Grand Union Hotel in 1872.

Judge Lester possessed literary merit of a high order, in recognition of which Yale College conferred upon him in 1854 the degree of A.M. He married, in 1849, Lucy L. Cooke, of Otsego county, New York, born 1828, daughter of Timothy Cooke. She survives her husband and is now (1910) a resident of Saratoga Springs. Children:

  1. Charles Cooke, of further mention.
  2. John Willard, a graduate of Union College.
  3. Susan, married Professor Bernadotte Perrin, of Yale University.
  4. Colonel James W., born at Saratoga, September 8, 1859, a graduate of Union College, A.B., class of 1881; Columbia Law School; served in the New York National Guard, entering as private, and rising through the intervening ranks to colonel, second Regiment, served in the United States army during the Spanish-American war as major, Second Regiment New York Volunteers, May 2, 1895, to October 25, 1898. He is a member of the law firm of C. S. & C. C. Lester, of Saratoga Springs, and secretary of the United States Hotel Company; member of the State Bar Association. He married, Bertha North Dowd. Children:
    1. James Dowd;
    2. Charles Willard,
    3. Dudley Gove,
    4. Ralph Westcott.

(VII) Charles Cooke, eldest son of Judge Charles Smith and Lucy L. (Cooke) Lester, was born at Milford, New York, June 27, 1850. He was educated in the public schools of Saratoga Springs and was graduated from Union University, A.B., class of 1870, entering at the age of sixteen years, receiving the A.M. degree three years later in 1873. He decided upon the legal profession and began his studies with his father. In 1873 he was admitted to the bar, and at once formed a partnership with Judge Lester under the title of C. S. & C. C. Lester, the firm continuing until the death of his father in 1904. He was a member of the constitutional convention of 1894, and in 1901 was elected surrogate of Saratoga county, serving until January 1, 1906, when he resigned. In November, 1905, he was appointed miscellaneous reporter by Governor Higgins; reappointed to same office by Governor Hughes, January, 1907. He is the author of the law framed in 1904, simplifying the proceedings for the sale of real estate of decedents for the payment of debts and funeral expenses, also of the bill providing for recording agreements for the settlement of estates. He is a learned lawyer and a skillful practitioner. He is a member of the State Bar Association; has been a trustee of Union College; representing the Alumni; trustee of Albany Law School; member Phi Beta Kappa fraternity; State Historical Society, and Saratoga Club of Saratoga. He married (first) 1876, Catherine Perrin, died 1886, daughter of Dr. Lavelette Perrin, a member of Yale University Corporation. He married (second) December 24, 1889, Mary Lane, daughter of George O. and Sarah (Strachan) Tuck, of Petersburg, Virginia. Children:

  1. Charles Tuck, born December 14, 1893;
  2. Bernadotte Perrin, May 19, 1896.

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