When William Lester wrote his Last will and testament in 1843 in Barbour County, Alabama, he named his children in this order with no last names.  Son Thomas, Daughter Mary, Daughter Nancy, Daughter Susan, Daughter Dorcas, Daughter in Law Senith, Son W. B., Daughter Julia, Son Joshua, Son David, Daughter Sarah, Daughter Hester, and Daughter Charlotta. His wife, Marium, also called Mary Ann, and several grandchildren were named.  Senith is the widow of his son, Nimrod Lyster, who lived in Marion County, South Carolina and died about 1841 in Wilkinson County, Georgia.  W. B. is William Bright Lester.  He bought land in Marion County in 1820 and was recorded on the 1830 and 1840 Census Record of Marion County, South Carolina as William B. Lester.  REV. J. A. W. THOMAS called him Bright in THE HISTORY OF MARLBORO COUNTY.  William Lester lived in Marlboro County, South Carolina for over fifty years before moving to Barbour County, Alabama in 1841.  A small community in Marlboro County is named Lester, South Carolina to honor the memory of William Lester, Revolutionary War Soldier.


Thomas Lester was born in 1785 and named first.  Charlotte Lester who married William C. Kelly was born about 1816 and named last.  It is assumed that the children are named in the order of their birth.  No information has been found to confirm the ages of Mary, Susan, Nimrod, and Julia Lester.  According to the 1800 Census of Marlboro County, South Carolina, Mary was born 1784 to 1788.  Susan, Dorcas and Julia were born 1790 to 1800.  According to the 1810 Census Record of Marlboro County, South Carolina, Nimrod and W B were born 1794 to 1800.  Joshua and David were born 1800 to 1810.


Thomas, Nancy, Dorcas, William B., Joshua, David, Sarah, Hester, and Charlotte were found on 1850 and 1860 Census Records.  Their approximate birth years are determined from age given on these Census Records.


1.             Thomas Lester, 65 born SC on 1850 Marlboro Co. SC Census.  He was 75 born SC on the 1860 Macon Co. AL Census.  The Charles Manship Bible records “Thomas Lester born March 28, 1785 died March 11, 1863.”  He married Mary Elizabeth Kelly, the daughter of John Kelly who died 1845 in Richmond Co. NC. Numerous deeds and other court records prove Thomas and his relationship to William Lester and John Kelly.  He was the father of eleven children and named his first daughter, Emily Elizabeth Lester. The children of Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Kelly Lester are:  William Lester who married Asenith Pipkin, Emily Elizabeth Lester who married William Gordon, John Lester who married Nancy Willis, Ann Lester who married William Willis, Mary J. Lester who married James E. Odom, Nathan Lester, Celia Lester who married William Cloud, James M. Lester who died while serving in the Confederate States Army, Susan Easter Lester who married M. W. Phillips, Cader C. Lester, and Martha Jane Lester who married Moses T. Wright. Thomas Lester deeded land to the Trustees of the Methodist Church called Smyrna in Marlboro County, South Carolina. Researchers of Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Kelly Lester are:  John Lester of Rocky Mount, Virginia and Nancy Fisher Ewing of Fayetteville, North Carolina who are descendants of William and Asenith Pipkin Lester;  Barbara Sanders of Birmingham, Alabama who is a descendant of Emily Elizabeth Lester and William Gordon through their son, Thomas Lester Gordon;  Ruth Brimner Davidson of Hueytown, Alabama through her mother, Ruth Lester, a descendant of John and Nancy Willis Lester and Sara Kendrick Barteau of Rockledge, Florida, a granddaughter of Metta Lester, a descendant of John and Nancy Willis Lester;  Dr. Michael Daniel of Andalusia, Alabama and Butler County, Alabama who is a descendant of Ann Lester and William Willis through his grandmother, Margaret Mae Willis Gibson.  Michael Daniel is the author of WILLIS FAMILY HISTORY.  Descendants of Thomas Lester are too numerous to mention in this brief history.


2.             Mary Lester also called Mary Ann Lester was born about 1787 in South Carolina. She was named as a child in Will of William Lester.


3.        Nancy Lester was born about 1789/90 in South Carolina.  Her age was given as 59 born SC on the  1850 Marlboro County, SC.  She married May 9, 1816 Charles Manship who was born September 20, 1795 and died January 23, 1859.  Nancy Lester Manship died August 20, 1862. No birth date for Nancy was recorded in the Charles Manship Bible but the other dates were recorded.  Nancy and Charles and other family members are buried in Manship Cemetery located on property deeded to Charles Manship by William Lester.  Nancy and Charles Manship had six children.  She named her first daughter, Mary Ann Manship.  Charles Manship was the son of Aaron and Sarah Bland Manship.  It is possible that Nancy had a child before Mary Ann was born in 1820 but no name was found in the Manship Bible Record.  Reverend Charles Manship was a Methodist Minister. The children of Nancy Lester and Charles Manship are: Mary Ann Manship who married Andrew Breeden, Travis Manship who married Elizabeth Tart, Aaron Manship who married Eliza Newton, Charles Manship who married Caroline Gaddy, Martha Ann Manship who married W. W. Newton, and Laura Manship who married John Newton. Travis Manship and Aaron Manship both died while serving in the Confederate States Army. The Manship Family Association is active and hold an Annual Reunion every year.  Manship Farmstead located on land purchased by William Lester in 1813 and deeded to daughter, Nancy, and her husband, Charles Manship,  was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Purvis Bedenbaugh, Jr. and his children own Manship Farmstead.  His wife, Mary Ann Manship Bedenbaugh, deceased and one of the Founders of Manship Family Association, inherited the old Manship Farmstead. .Descendants in 2000 are too numerous to mention but Gilbert Lytch is the 1998-2000 President and the Reunion is to be held 3 June 2000 at Midway Presbyterian Church in Maxton, North Carolina.  The compiler and her sister have attended the Manship Reunion in years past.


Oral Family History reports that Mary Ann Gates married William Lester in Guilford County, North Carolina.  The 1790 Census of Marlborough County, South Carolina records William Lister over age 16 with two males under 16 and two females.  This information indicates that the mother of the first three children was deceased and that perhaps another son had been born.  No information has been found to prove this statement. Since we can not prove the marriage to a Miss Gates or Mary Ann Gates, we have not shown her as a wife.  Research continues to try to prove that William Lester did marry Miss Gates in North Carolina.


4.             Susan Lester was born about 1792 in South Carolina.  She received a special bequest in William Lester’s will of $50.00.


5.               Dorcas Lester was born about 1794 in South Carolina. She married Shadrach Easterling and had  

Six children:  Joel L. Easterling who married Mary Turnage, William A. Easterling who married Anne E. Weatherly, David Stewart Easterling who married Celia Kelly, Elizabeth Easterling who married Isaiah Weatherly, Bennett L. Easterling and Susannah Easterling who married Thomas Stuart Daniel Gilchrist.. JoAnn Jones Beagle who lives in Sacramento, California is a descendant of Mary Ann Elizabeth Gilchrist who married James Franklin Jones and their son, James Edgar Jones.  His son, James Addison Percy Jones married Beatrice Voncile Creel and they are the parents of JoAnn Jones who married Ronald Gerard Beagle.  JoAnn and Ronald Beagle are the parents of Patricia Elizabeth Beagle who married Archibald Morrison, Ronda Jean Beagle who married James Syring,  and Joseph Charles Beagle.  Ray Kennedy who lives in Havana, Florida is a descendant of Elizabeth Easterling and Isaiah Weatherly and their son Daniel Eleby Weatherly who married May Lillan Shelfer. Their daughter, Hilda Emma Weatherly married Clarence Ross Kennedy and they were the parents of Raymond Ross Kennedy.  Ray Kennedy married Shirley Marie Devlin and they are the parents of Kimberly Rae Kennedy and Christopher Ross Kennedy. who married Tara Jean Nolet.


6.             Nimrod Lyster was born about 1796 in South Carolina and died about 1841 in Wilkinson County, Georgia. He married Cenith (also called Sineth) Bethea.  They named their first daughter Ann Elizabeth Lyster.  Nimrod was on  the 1830 and 1840 Marion County, South Carolina Census and Cenith Lyster was on the 1850 Wilkinson County, Georgia Census. There is a Lyster Cemetery in Wilkinson County, Georgia. They had seven children, including son, Thomas Lyster who married Sabrina Fountain and had Mitchell Lyster who came to Alabama.  The children of Nimrod and Cenith Bethea Lyster are: Ann Elizabeth Lyster who married James Stephens, Thomas Lyster who married Sabrina Fountain, Mary Lyster who married Peter Roach, William L. Lyster who married E. E. Stubbs,  Martha Lyster who married Joseph Stephens, Margaret Lyster who married Barney McAdams, and John C. Lyster who married Mary Barefield.  Nimrod and his descendants chose to spell their name, LYSTER. Matthew “Matt” Lyster of Birmingham, Alabama, William F. “Bill” Lyster of Panama City, Florida and Scott Summer of Knoxville, Tennessee are all descendants of Nimrod Lyster.


7.             William Bright Lister was born about 1798 in South Carolina.  He was recorded on the 1830 and 1840 Census record of Marion County, South Carolina with nine children in 1840.  He married Sallie Davis in South Carolina. We think that he may have been married to another wife before Sallie Davis. The 1840 Census of Marion County, SC shows the wife to be born between 1800 and 1810.  This is a younger wife than the one on the 1830 Census Record. We know that she was Sarah “Sallie” Davis born 1805 in SC. He moved to Pulaski County, Georgia about 1848 and the youngest child, Mary J., was born there in 1849. Where he lived later became Dodge County and Lister Cemetery is located there. One of his sons was Neal (Cornelius) Lister born 1836 in South Carolina. Neal had a daughter,  Sallie Lister who married William E. West and had a son, Ollie B. West who had a daughter Beatrice West born 1918 in Georgia who married William R. Pounds and they had a daughter, Mae Cleone Pounds who married Robert H. Dodd and lives in Jacksonville, Florida.  Mae Dodd supplied some of this information in 1999. The children of William Bright Lister are: Sarah J. Lister who married Charles M. Rozar, Isobel Lyster who married James W. Rozar, Susan Lister who married Washington J. Floyd, Gregory S. Lister who married Sarah Giddens, John Lister, Aaron B. Lister who married Rebecca Rawlings, Neal L. Lister who married Leanna Mullis, Harriett Ann Lister who married James Hodges, Daniel A. Lister who married Nancy E. Horne, Hugh L. Lister. Margaret Lister who married Benjamin Davis, James Lister, Job Lister who married Amanda Grimsley,  and Mary J. Lister.  Bright Lister chose to spell his name LISTER. Gary Lister of Cochran, Georgia, Donald Floyd of Griffin, Georgia, Lister Harrell of Eastman, Georgia and Mae Pounds Dodd of Jacksonville, Florida are descendants of William Bright Lister.


8.             Julia Lester was born about 1799 or 1800 and recorded on the 1800 Census of Marlboro County, SC in the household of William Lester. She was named in her father’s will.


9.                    Joshua Lester was born 1804 in South Carolina and died 1868 in Barbour County, Alabama.  He was married first to Martha Beasley and second to Diana Simpkins.  Recorded on the 1850 and 1860 Census of Barbour County, Alabama with Diana in 1850 and Ann in 1860.  Diana and Ann may be the same person. Joshua was the father of seventeen children.  His first daughter was named Caroline, his second daughter was Mary, and his third daughter was Martha.  Their mother was Martha Beasley.  One of his daughters by Diana was named Elizabeth Frances. Francis Marion Lester was administer of his father’s estate in Barbour County, Alabama. The children of Joshua and Martha Beasley Lester are: Thomas B. Lester who married Melissa Burke, William P. Lester who married Mary Jane Dansby, Samuel K. Lester who married Nelly Hartley, Crawford Lester, Caroline Lester, Mary Lester who married Needham Hudson and Martha Lester who married Joseph B. A. Bell. The children of Joshua and Diana Simpkins Lester are: Cleopatra Lester who married a Johnson and then married John B. Bell, Elizabeth Frances Lester who married John Wallace, K. David Lester, Sarah Lester, George Washington Lester, Francis Marion Lester who married Barbara Catherine McRae, Penelope Jane Lester who married James Allen Tew, Celia A. Lester, John W. Lester, and Hester A. Lester who married Isaac J. Tew.  Thomas B., William P. Samuel K., Crawford, K. David, George Washington, and Francis Marion Lester all served in the Confederate States Army.  William P., Samuel K., Crawford, K. David, and George Washington Lester all  died while serving in the Confederate States Army.  Billy Peters, son of John Williams and Mildred Nadine Wiggins Peters, lives in Winter Haven, Florida..  John Williams Peters is the son of  Daniel Newton Peters and Willie Anne Lester, the daughter of Francis Marion and Barbara Catherine McRae Lester.  Billy Peters, born in Ozark, Alabama, was married to Peggy Jo Fitzgibbon.   Their children are John William Peters who married Mi Ae Park, Pamela Dawn Peters who married James Peter Koch, Timothy Warren Peters who married Erika Mohrlang, and Sonja Susan Peters. Billy and Peggy Peters live in Winter Haven, Florida. Kim Lester Anderson lives in West Columbia, South Carolina.  She is daughter of Don Lee Lester who is a descendant of Francis Marion Lester through his son, George Washington Lester.


The wife of William Lester was Elizabeth Lester on February 5,1802 when she signed a dower release on land sold in Marlborough County by William Lester.  She is believed to be the mother of the six children born from 1792 to 1804 and probably the mother of the first three children.  See note about Miss Gates.



The wife of William Lester was Marium, Meriam,  or Marian Lester on October 20, 1807 when he sold land in Marlborough County and she signed a dower release.  From this information we can conclude that Elizabeth Lester died sometime after 1804 when Joshua Lester was born and October 20, 1807 when Marium Lester was the wife of William Lester. Marium or Mary Ann is believed to be the mother of the four youngest children of William Lester.


10.                 David Lyster was born about 1808 or 1809 in South Carolina.  He died in Hopkins County, Texas. The 1850 Census of Harrison Co. TX recorded David Lyster’s age as 40 and born in South Carolina.  The 1860 and 1870 Census of Hopkins Co. TX gave his age as 53 and 62 and born in South Carolina.  David Lyster came to Pike County, Alabama about 1825 with his brother, Joshua. The 1830 Pike County, Alabama Census, the 1833 Census of Barbour County, Alabama and the 1840 Census of Barbour County, Alabama and many Court Records of Barbour County, Alabama confirm he lived in Alabama and married Priscilla Early, the daughter of Jesse Early. David and Priscilla had one child born before 1830. Other Records prove that they had eight known children.  The 1833 and 1840 Census Record recorded two other children but no information was found for them. Their daughter, Mary J. Lyster, born in Alabama and married Gilbert Martin, died in Oklahoma. David Lyster signed his name, using the spelling LYSTER, on many deeds in Barbour County, Alabama. The other children of David and Priscilla Early Lyster are: James H. Lyster who married Caroline Green, Thomas Lyster, William Lyster, Franna “Tex” Lyster who married James Henderson Miller, Julia Lyster, and Josephine Lyster. Frances Earleene Ferguson Saueressig who lives in Olpe, Kansas supplied much of the information on the children of David Lyster. Margaret Martin,  daughter of Mary J. Lyster and Gilbert Martin married Thomas Dickerson and had a daughter, Lillian Frances Dickerson who married Thomas Riley Payne.  Their daughter, Hermione Earleene Payne married first Gordon A. Tatum and had two sons, Clarence Gordon Tatum and Lester Dean Tatum.  She married second Leon Dean Ferguson and had two daughters, Frances Earleene  Ferguson and Cheryl Jean Ferguson.  Frances E. Ferguson married Bill D. Saueressig and had one son, Timothy Martin Saueressig who lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.


11.                 Hester Lester was born about 1812 in South Carolina.  She was married to William Hartley and moved to  Butler County, Alabama.  According to the 1840 Butler County, Alabama Census there

were three children but only one child, Ellie, found in 1850.  Nelly who married Samuel K. Lister, son of Joshua and Martha Beasley Lester is believed to be the daughter of Hester and William.   S. K. Lister died 1862. Nelly Lister and her three children were living with Hester and William Hartley in 1870.  Date of death not found for Hester Lester Hartley but she died sometime after 1870 and before 1880 in Butler County, Alabama. A deed found in Butler County Courthouse from Nelly Lister proved she sold land that originally belonged to William and Hester Lester Hartley. Samuel K. Lister chose the spelling of his name to be LISTER.  Jean Graves of Ft. Walton Beach, Florida is a descendant of Nelly Hartley and Samuel K. Lister.


12.           Sarah Lester was born about 1814 in South Carolina.  She married Hiram Hartley about 1835 and moved to Butler County, Alabama. Sarah and Hiram were the parents of seven children.  Sarah Lester Hartley died April 14, 1889 in Butler County, Alabama. See HARTLEY FAMILY HISTORY. The children of Sarah Lester and Hiram Hartley are: Mary A. Hartley who married Thomas Waller, Sarah A Hartley who married John H. Leonard, Elizabeth Ellen Hartley who never married, William H. Hartley who married Sarah M. Hurston, Joseph R. Hartley who married Martha A. Whittle and E. D. McQueen, Joshua David Hartley who married Rachel I. Whittle, and Ennis Thomas Hartley who married Florence Augustus Price. Hiram and Sarah Lester Hartley were members of The Baptist Church of Christ at Ft. Dale in Butler County, Alabama. Emmie Mae Hartley, daughter of Ennis Thomas Hartley, married Ernest Bryan and had Olive Jeanette Bryan who married Henry Grady Cadenhead in Butler County, Alabama.  Olive Cadenhead is one of the authors of HARTLEY FAMILY HISTORY and a very active member of Butler County Historical and Genealogical Society.




13.                 Charlotte Lester was born about 1816 or 1817 in South Carolina.  She married William C. Kelly, son of John Kelly who died 1845 in Richmond County, North Carolina.  The 1850 Census of Barbour County, Alabama and the 1860 Census of Choctaw County, Alabama gave the age of Charlotte Kelly as 34 born SC in 1850 and 43 born SC in 1860.  Charlotte and William C. Kelly had ten children recorded on the census records.   One of their daughters, Celia Kelly was named in will of her grandfather, William Lester.  She married David S. Easterling, son of Dorcas Lister Easterling, in Barbour County, Alabama. The other children of Charlotte Lester and William C. Kelly are:  James D. Kelly, Charles Kelly, Daniel C. Kelly, John J. Kelly, Mary J. Kelly, George W. Kelly, Cade W. Kelly, Charlotte Kelly, and William N. Kelly. We have no contact with any descendant of Charlotte Lester Kelly.


The compiler has done extensive research to contact descendants of all thirteen children of William Lester, Revolutionary War Soldier.  Our aim is to complete all the families.  Additions, Corrections and New Information are requested.


 Compiled by

Ruth Brimner Davidson

111 Kenilworth Road

Hueytown, AL 35023-2240

May 17, 2000

Amended November 11, 2002


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