JAMES LESTER was born in Adair County, Ky., September 15, 1810. His father, Thomas, was from Pittsylvania County, Va., and mother, Isabella (Hay) Lester, was also from Virginia. The father was a farmer and surveyor, and came to Kentucky in 1792, where he married. He was deputy sheriff, and under his brother-in-law, Dryden, assisted in the survey of the Cumberland River, and later farmed in Clark and Washington Counties, Ind., where he died. His widow died a few years later. They were parents of ten children, three living. James is the fourth child. At seventeen, he began learning the stone-cutter's trade, at Louisville, after completing which, in 1829, he went to the lead mines in Galena, Ill., through the Black Hawk country; then returned to Louisville, worked on a canal for a season, and then in line of his trade, finished the portico on the State capitol at Frankfort. He next engaged for four years in the liquor business; then in the dry goods business at Mississippi County, Mo. The flood of 1844, compelled him to move his stock on a store-boat, with which he came to Eddyville, in 1846. He rented a room in which he moved his stock. In his business undertakings he met with eminent success, now being one of the largest property owners in Eddyville. May 11, 1837, he united in marriage with Mary Jane Applegate, of Clark County, Ind. They were parents of eleven children. Of these, George C., who was born in Norfolk, Mo., March 20, 1842, is now in business with his father; he was married June 23, 1861, to Julia Cable, of Louisville, Ky. She was exceedingly proficient in music, and a true Christian lady. She passed away January 18, 1884. George Lester is a Presbyterian. Mary M. I. Lester, present postmistress of Eddyville, married Edward Baker, an Englishman, who came to America in 1857. During the war, Mr. Baker served in Company B, Third Kentucky Cavalry, Federal service; was severely wounded, and died October 4, 1876, from the effects. They had four children. The Lesters, senior and junior, were stanch Republicans, and Union men during the war. The father, through his influence with the Federal authorities, saved the city from a bombardment, and was of great service in many ways to his country. The son, although a cripple, recruited a company, but was not permitted to enter the service.
Source: J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin, & G. C. Kniffin. Kentucky. A History of the State. Louisville, KY, Chicago, IL: Battey, 1885. Page 857.