Garra E. Lester (1872-1945)
Posted By: Karon Velau (email)
Date: 11/26/2022 at 18:14:51
Garra E. Lester
(September 23, 1872 -1945)
One of the most progressive and enterprising young business men of Knierim is the gentleman whose name introduces this sketch — the junior member of the firm of Welden & Lester, well known general merchants of that place. He was born in Huron County, Ohio, September 23, 1872, and is son of Gurdon P. Lester, who was born in New York state, April 27, 1837, and was the third in order of birth in a family of four children, all now deceased. At the age of eleven years the father removed from New York to Ohio and settled in Huron County. In 1855 he came to Iowa, and after spending five wars in Clayton County crossed the plains to the gold fields of California, being one of a large company. The journey was made with oxen and proved a very interesting one to Mr. Lester. There was a preacher in the company who held services every Sunday during the six months it required to make the trip. Mr. Lester located at what is known as Gold Run, Placer County, California, where he remained until 1866, and then returned home by way of the Isthmus of Panama. After spending a short time in New York he made a trip to Montana, where he spent about a year, and then traveled extensively over the west for some time. In Huron County, Ohio, Mr. Lester was married January 12, 1869, to Miss Minerva F. Foote, who was there born, January 27, 1845. Her parents, Henry J. and Maria (Wilkinson) Foote, were natives of Massachusetts and New York, respectively. In their family were seven children. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Lester were born two children, of whom our subject is the younger. His sister, Edna I., is an accomplished musician and a vocalist of marked ability, having studied under such eminent professors as Senor Carpi while in Chicago, and under the great composer Niedlinger of New York. Coming west in 1869 the family first located near Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where they spent about a year, and then removed to Cherokee County. There the father bought a tract of wild, unbroken land, which he at once commenced to improve and cultivate, and to the operation of that farm he continued to devote his time and attention until 1879, when he moved to Cherokee, the county seat, residing there until called to his final rest October 22, 1898, leaving a widow and two children to mourn his loss. His life was exemplary in all respects, and he was a loving husband and father, entirely devoted to his family. He was well informed on general topics, and being very progressive and enterprising always kept abreast with the times.
G. E. Lester received his early education in the public schools of Cherokee, Iowa, which he attended until thirteen years of age and then commenced clerking in a mercantile establishment of that place. In the spring of 1892 he went to Chicago and entered the employ of Marshall Field & Company, with whom he remained five years. At the end of that time he returned to Iowa, and took charge of a dry goods store at Humboldt, with which he was connected during the years 1896 and 1897. He then went to Iowa Falls with William Welden, remaining until March, 1S98, and from March, 1898, until 1899 was in the employ of L. O. Bliss of that place. The following year was spent at Fort Dodge with the Larson Dry Goods Company, and in June, 1900, he removed to Knierim, where he opened a general store under the firm name of Welden & Lester. He now has a well established trade, and is regarded as one of the most progressive as well as one of the most reliable business men of the place. His political support is given the Republican party and its principles. He served as a member of the city council in a most creditable and acceptable manner, and was elected, April 10, 1902, to the office of City clerk. He is a member of the Elks Lodge, at Fort Dodge: Masonic order, of Manson, Iowa; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Yeomen, of Knierim, Iowa. [Source – Biographical Record of Calhoun County, Iowa, by S.J. Clarke, 1902, p.469]
Calhoun Biographies maintained by Karon S. Valeu.
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