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Hester ancestors were a diverse lot

Although there are Hester descendants currently residing in Covington County, their ancestors did not move into this county until the 1920s. However, the Hesters lived just north of the county line in Butler County, and there may have been some relatives who came several years earlier.

The patriarch, Jasper Newton Hester, of today's sketch was born April 10, 1832, in Tennessee most likely. On August 6, 1857, he was married in Butler County, Alabama, to Margaret J. Hobbs. Soon after their marriage, the couple moved to Texas where their first child, Charles Jacob, was born May 27, 1858. Their second son, James Samuel "Sam," was born there on January 16, 1861.

Family legend contends that Jasper enlisted in the Confederate Army from Texas early on in the war and was away from home when Margaret died circa 1862. Her death date and place of burial is still unknown.

Some records suggest Jasper was released from duty to go home to take care of his two young sons. While making his way home by foot, he went to visit his relatives in Butler County. While in the area he met members of the Beasley family who greatly needed assistance in gathering their farm crop. He remained there long enough to assist and came to know one of the Beasley daughters, Winaford "Winnie." They ended up getting married, and it appears they soon continued on his journey to get his sons in Texas.

There are military records where Jasper enlisted in the Confederate Army on May 24, 1864, at Mobile. He served as a private in Company B, 1st Alabama Battery/Heavy Artillery until his honorable discharge on April 15, 1865. He was wounded at the Battle of Manassas, Virginia, which would have been before May 24, 1864. It appears He left his new wife and two young sons in Texas during this time. The oldest one, Charles Jacob, later recounted how the family moved back to Alabama in a covered wagon circa 1868 when he was about 10 years of age. Winnie had apparently given birth to her first son by this date.

Jasper and his first wife, Margaret, had two sons: Charles Jacob, b. 1858, d. 1942, m. (1) Margaret B. "Beda" Presley (2) Lela Smith (3) Fannie ?; and James Samuel, b. 1861, m. Mary M. "Mollie" (Echols) Stuart, who had three children by her first husband: Joseph, Jasper, and Mary. James Samuel and Mollie had two children: Ruth, b. 1892; and John W., b. 1895, d. 1967, m. Alma Hilson who are buried at Red Oak Baptist Church.

Jasper and his second wife, Winnie, daughter of Enoch and Rebecca (Phillips) Beasley, had the following seven children: Enoch Hillary, b. 1865, d. 1911; Jasper W., b. 1869, d. 1946, m. Frances Boyette; Clinton B., b. 1870, d. 1951, m. Mary "Mollie" Hartley; H.C. "Mack," b. 1873, d. 1954, m. Abbigail Lee; Clara Elizabeth, b. 1877, d. 1953, m. Columbus Jefferson Lee; Frank A., b. 1880, d. 1956, m. Mertie Lee; and Newton Herbert, b. 1883, d. 1960, m. Martha Alice Bennett. Jasper died in 1907 and Winnie, in 1934, and both were buried in the Elizabeth Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in McKenzie.

Jasper's oldest child, Charles Jacob, and his wife, Margaret B. Presley, daughter of Joseph and Sarah Elizabeth (Jefferson?) Presley of North Carolina, had the following children: Joseph Newton, b. 1885, d. 1948, m. Bessie Louquina Sanford; Lou Ella, b. 1887, m. Bose Mitchell; Bessie, b. 1890, m. Newton Gorum; Charles Vernon, b. 1891, d. 1956, m. Mattie Elizabeth Gorum; Clara Dee, b. 1895, d. 1933, m. William Kelsoe; and Claude Wilburn, b. 1899, d. at age 9 years.

Charles Jacob resided primarily in the McKenzie area where he operated a general store. He also farmed some throughout his lifetime. He was appointed as Postmaster of the Thad Post Office, which was named in honor of Thad Gomillion. Charles began his service in 1922 and served for about two years. Thad Gomillion succeeded him and served until the office was discontinued in the late 1940s. Earlier, in 1900, a post office by the name of Brooks was operated in the same community, which bore the name of Brooks. It was discontinued in 1915, so the community did not have a post office until the Thad one was established in 1922.

Jasper's second son, James Samuel, resided in the Shreve community where he was appointed to serve as Postmaster for the Rat Post Office in 1899. In 1901, the name was changed to Shreve during James Samuel's tenure. He later moved to the Florala area.

Charles Jacob's oldest son, Joseph Newton, began his working life as a railroad worker. He later became a teacher and a rural mail carrier, but most of his working years were spent operating small stores with some farming on the side to supplement the family's income. His first store was in the McKenzie community, but during the 1920s he moved to River Falls where he had a small store in the heart of the little town. He later moved into Andalusia where he operated a store at the corner of Prestwood and Tisdale Streets. His store was built to face Prestwood Street.

In 1913, Joseph Newton, was married to Bessie L. Sanford in Conecuh County. They had the following seven children: Mattie Lucille, b. 1914, d. 1999, m. John Alfred Bundrick; Rudolph, b.&d. 1918; Opal Christine, b.&d. 1920; Hazel Elsie, b.&d. 1922; Lorena Victoria, b. 1924, d. 1981, m. (1) Joseph Boutwell (2) Ray Moore; Virginia Dare, b. 1931, m. (1) Hubert Bryant (2) Jimmy Ponds (3) D.C. Aspinwall; and Sidney Evans, b. 1933, m. Erma Dean Todd.

There are many additional Hester descendants currently living in Covington and surrounding counties. One of these, Jacquelyn "Jackie" (Bundrick) Hare, is currently compiling the genealogy of this family. She is eager to make contact with other relatives and to have anyone with information related to the this family to contact her at her email address: briarpatch@alaweb.com.

Appreciation is expressed to Jackie for sharing her records, which along with Gus and Ruby Bryan's Covington County History, 1821-1976 served as resources for today's column. Anyone who might have corrections or additional information to the above is requested to contact Curtis Thomasson at 21361 Rabren Road, Andalusia, AL 36420 or Email: chthom@alaweb.com

HISTORICAL MEETING:

The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 3, at the Andalusia Public Library. Guests are welcome.