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Below is a family biography included in History of Union County, Iowa published by S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., in 1908.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Not far from the village of Arispe lies the farm of B. H. Kester on section 12, Grant township, who for thirty-six years has made his home in Union county and has thus been an interested witness of the many changes which have occurred, participating also in the transformation that has brought the county from a pioneer condition up to its present state of prosperity and improvement.

Mr. Kester was born in Crawford county, Ohio, February 2, 1844, a son of Levi and Sarah (Breman) Kester, both of whom were natives of Pennsylvania but their marriage was celebrated in the Buckeye state. Subsequently they removed westward to Cedar county, Iowa, where the father developed a new farm and carried on agricultural pursuits for many years, spending his last days there. In the family were ten children.

B. H. Kester was but seven years of age when his parents left Ohio and came to Iowa. His youth was spent in Cedar county and his experiences were those which usually fall to the lot of the farmer boy who enjoys the educational advantages offered by the public schools, while in the summer months he works upon the home farm. He remained under the parental roof until he had attained his majority save for the period of the term of his enlistment in the Civil war. He enrolled his name at Tipton, Iowa, as a member of Company I, Forty-sixth Iowa Infantry in 1864 and was with General Grant’s forces at Memphis. He served for five months and was then mustered out and honorably discharged at Davenport.

Following his return from the war Mr. Kester began farming on his own account by operating rented land for four years. In the meantime he was married, on the 6th of June, 1867, to Miss Rhoda Simmons, a native of Richland county, Ohio, and a daughter of Sem Simmons, who removed from Ohio to Cedar county, Iowa, during the pioneer epoch in its history. For six years after his marriage Mr. Kester continued to cultivate rented land, after which he came to Union county in 1873 and invested his savings in forty acres of raw prairie. This he at once began to develop and improve, and as the years have passed he extended the boundaries of his place until it now comprises one hundred and twelve acres of rich and productive land. The entire farm is under cultivation and good crops are annually harvested. He has also added many improvements to his place, which is now equipped with all the conveniences and accessories of a model farm. His life has been one of untiring activity and diligence and the secret of his success is found in his unremitting labor.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Kester have been born six children: G. Eston, who married Clara Hammans, a daughter of S. G. Hammans, of Afton, and is now engaged in farming in Grant township; Mina, the wife of Hudson Banning, a carpenter, residing in Shannon City; Minnie, the wife of Park Cox, a resident farmer of Sand Creek township; Anna, the wife of John Hittle, who carries on general agricultural pursuits in Grant township; Benjamin, who married Lillie Tuttle and is a farmer of Grant township; and Eva, the wife of Oliver Coat, a resident farmer of Grant township. There are now nine grandchildren.

The parents are earnest Christian people, who enjoy in large measure the good will and friendship of all with whom they have been brought in contact. They are members of the Evangelical church, which they joined on its organization and in the work of which they have been actively and helpfully interested to the present time. Mr. Kester has served on the official board and has been a generous contributor to the church work. His political allegiance is given to the republican party and he has been a delegate to the county conventions. He has served as school director and as road supervisor and is always actively and helpfully interested in everything pertaining to the welfare and progress of the community along the lines of material, social, intellectual and moral development.

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This family biography is one of 247 biographies included in The History of Union County, Iowa published in 1908.  For the complete description, click here: Union County, Iowa History and Genealogy

View additional Union County, Iowa family biographies: Union County, Iowa Biographies

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