Who was Lester?

I’m a student at UMD working on a story about who Lester was. I’m working with Mark Atkinson to trace the history of who this original settler was. Anybody have information on this?

13 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

I assume this must be in reference to the Lester who lived at the mouth of what we now call the Lester River.

You will find a morsel of information in, oddly enough, this old lost dog post:

Lost Dog at Lakeside Super One

But that's pretty much all that's known.

magus

about 9 years ago

The article below reported that a man named George Leicester claimed he had a cabin at the river and it should be rightly called the Leicester River, since he was there first. But we all know we can't believe everything we read in the newspaper, right?

Duluth News Tribune
January 27, 1901, p. 16

Tony D.

about 9 years ago

I don't know for sure, but believe HBH is working on it.

Here's something from Woodbridge & Pardee (1910):

The portion of the city now called Lester Park had been homesteaded by a man after whom the park was called. There were a number of gardens and the settlers were growing vegetables of nearly every kind.
Not much of a clue. There was a story that it was named after a boy who drowned in it, but that is not believed to be true. There is also very little known about Charles Chester, namesake of Chester Park, an early settler who left before Duluth became a city in 1870.

adam

about 9 years ago

Well then, was Chester the Molester a reference to (a) that guy who used to hang out in front of the old Wabasha Bookstore on Superior Street and expose himself to people, or (b) a reference to the Old Man and his bookstore?

hbh1

about 9 years ago

I've got nothing more than what's in Woodbridge/Pardee. That bit is from an interview/letter written by the Reverend John M Barnett, who left Duluth in 1861. 

The Leicester story is an interesting addendum, and doesn't seem impossible, considering that whomever it was named for obviously didn't stick around long enough for people to know anything about him. 

If you have any luck finding a Lester without a first name through geneaology, I'll be duly impressed. There's nothing on the old maps that give a clue--at least not the maps I've seen.

JKrienke

about 9 years ago

Thanks for all of the feedback everyone.

Paul Lundgren, do you know anything more about this cabin? How did you get this article?

Paul Lundgren

about 9 years ago

Magus posted the article, not me.

JKrienke

about 9 years ago

I'm sorry, Magus, is this all you know about Lester Park's early history? 

Paul, thanks for pointing me to that post.

The Big E

about 9 years ago

In that case, I'll feel all the more justified in just imagining Lester was named for Lester Hayes.

magus

about 9 years ago

JKrienke that article is all I know about Leicester. I just came across it yesterday. (To state the obvious: Leicester, a British name, is pronounced "Lester.") If anyone else finds anything, I'd be glad to know about it.

markryan

about 9 years ago

I tried for a long time to track down the origin of the Lester name but came up with next to nothing. I think magus is on to something with this Leiscester article. Thanks for posting it.

markryan

about 9 years ago

After some further investigation, here's some additional and relevant information:

George Leicester's claim to the name "Lester" seems valid. The 1-27-1901 news clipping states Leicester resided in the area "one winter before the treaty was ratified with the Indians." That treaty would have been the LaPointe Treaty which was ratified in January of 1855. So this places Leicester in the area a good year before Mark Atkinson's earliest found mention of the name Lester for the river, as does Leicester's claim to have built the first framed dwelling in Superior. In a Google search, the phrase "George V. Leiscester of Baltimore, MD" comes up with one interesting mention of a person by that name in an 1897 issue of Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography who is compiling a history of the Lester name.  The following query appears in the Notes and Queries section at the end of the magazine:

LESTER family descendents and the allied names of Lister, Lyster, Leister, Leicester, or any name resembling these, whose ancestors settled in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and the West. Write to George V. Leicester, 1120 Cathedral Street, Baltimore Maryland, who is compiling the Lester genealogy of England and America.
This query's date (1897) certainly correlates close enough with that of the aforementioned newspaper article (1901), and the fact that the Leicester in the magazine is searching out the origin of the name Lester gives further validity to the newspaper subject's claims. Hopefully, someone will be able to locate Mr. Leicester's original 1901 letter and subsequent paper in the historical society files in Duluth, but as far as I'm concerned I think the mystery has been solved.

Shane

about 9 years ago

Say Lester to Siri and see what comes up.

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!
Read previous post:
Where to have VW Jetta TDI oil changed?

I'm just wondering if anyone has any good places to go get an oil change for a 2010 VW Jetta...

Close