A One-Name Study
for the BARNUM/BARNHAM Surname
Notes for Marshall Barnum LESTER
From Portrait and Biographical Record of DuPage and Cook Counties, Illinois, Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the County
, Lake City Publishing Company, 1894 - DuPage County (Ill.): Marshall B. Lester was born on the farm where he still resides, on section 9, Addison Township, DuPage County, the date of his birth being December 8, 1849. He comes of an old New England family of Welsh origin, and his grandfather, Edward Lester, was a native of Long Island. The parents of our subject were Marshall N. and Levantia N. (Barnum) Lester. The father was born in Clinton County, N. Y., in 1810, and the mother, a distant relative of P. T. Barnum, the showman, was born in Shoreham, Vt., in 1817, and was of English descent. Her father, Cyrus Barnum, was also a native of the Green Mountain State, and became one of the pioneers of DuPage County in 1837. His brother, Truman Barnum, graded six miles of the first railroad built out of Chicago. The brothers died within two days of each other, of cholera, in 1848. The paternal grandfather of M. B. Lester came to DuPage County in 1835, and took up land from the Government in what is now Addison Township, but at that time the land was unsurveyed. His son John had come to the county the previous year and had made a claim in Addison Township. The father of our subject came to DuPage County in 1835, in his twenty-fifth year, and also secured Government land before it was surveyed. Here he married Miss Barnum in 1840, and the young couple began their domestic life upon the farm which is now the home of our subject. A small block house was built, and while the wife cared for the little home the husband engaged in the cultivation of the fields. As the years passed his labors made the farm one of the best in the county, and upon it he continued to reside until his death, which occurred in his eightieth year. He was a Republican in politics, and was a prominent and influential citizen. His wife passed away in 1876, at the age of fifty-nine. They had a family of eight children, five sons and three daughters, of whom our subject is fourth in order of birth.
M. B. Lester was born in the block house which was the pioneer home of the family, and the days of his boyhood and youth were spent in work and play upon the farm, to the cultivation of which he has devoted his manhood's labors. In early life he conned his lessons in the district schools, but afterwards pursued his studies in the schools of Wheaton, Elgin and Dixon. Later he engaged in teaching school, being thus employed for eight terms in DuPage County. In his work as an instructor he was very successful.
In 1880, in Addison Township, Mr. Lester married Hattie C. Lake. Her parents were natives of England. She died, leaving a daughter, Leva C., and Mr. Lester has been again married, his second union being with Eliza M. Dohle, a native of Cook County, born August 19, 1846. They have one child, Elma.
Mr. Lester, who is one of the leading Republicans of this community, is a stalwart advocate of the principles of the party, and was secretary of the Republican Club. He is now serving as Postmaster of Salt Creek. Socially, he is connected with Itasca Lodge No. 764, M. W. A., of which he is Commander. He has been a prominent and progressive citizen, who has manifested commendable interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of the community, and has done all in his power for its upbuilding. Besides carrying on general farming, other business interests have occupied his time and attention. In 1888, he began dealing in live stock, and now makes extensive shipments. In 1892 he shipped seventy-two carloads to Chicago. In connection with his brother, Cyrus B., he was for three years proprietor of a meat-market in Itasca. His farm comprises one hundred and seventy-seven acres of rich land, and upon it are two good residences and all the improvements, accessories and conveniences of a model farm. Mr. Lester is a public-spirited and progressive man, an enterprising farmer and a valued citizen, whose hearty support and co-operation have been important factors in the upbuilding of the community.
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