JEFFERSON COUNTY IL 
OBITUARIES

JOHN S. HESTER, son of John S. and Martha P. HESTER, was born in 
Elk Prairie, Jefferson County, Illinois, September 4, 1847. He died at the 
home of his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs. Evan E. KELLEY, at 
Mt. Vernon, Illinois, August 13, 1939 at the age of 91 years, 11 months and 9 days. 

He was the youngest of a family of four and the last to go. His father died before he 
was born and he remained with his widowed mother and took care of her until she died. 
Reaching the age of young manhood he married Susan BEAN, a fine young lady of his 
community. They lived happily together about two years when the young wife who had 
become a mother closed her eyes in death and a few months later was joined by her 
infant daughter. 

In March 1889, some 20 years after the death of his first wife, he was united in marriage 
with Mrs. Adelaide BAGSBY whose maiden name was JOY. This union continued until 
June 1st, 1935 when death again invaded his home and took his companion. To this union 
were born one son and four daughters all of whom survive except one daughter who died 
in infancy. The surviving children are: Gordon HESTER, Elgin, IL; Mrs. Ed IHMELS of 
East. St. Louis, IL; Mrs. Niles JOHNSON of Benton, IL; Mrs. Evan KELLEY of 
Mt. Vernon, IL and one step-son Charles BAGSBY of El Paso, IL and seven grandchildren. 
About 42 years ago he accepted Jesus as his Lord and Savior, united with the Elk Prairie 
Christian Church and remained true and loyal to his faith until death. "Uncle John" as he was 
affectionately known to a host of friends and relatives grew old in years but was always young 
in spirit. He was the soul of good nature and cheerfulness. He was always glad to meet his 
friends and often delighted them by recounting some of the remarkable events of his live 
a life extending far beyond the common lot of men. The greater part of his life was passed 
on the little HESTER homestead in Elk Prairie. Here he cleared the primitive forest, cultivated 
the rugged soil with crude implements of the day, wresting a meager sustennance from his little 
field fenced with rails and brush. 
Through toil and hardship and poverty were his lot, he murmured not, neither was he cast down 
when drought, or flood or pest destroyed the prospect of his daily bread. Honesty and sincerity 
in word and need were as natural to him as perfume to a rose, and though his lot was cast among 
the lowly and humble, yet his life was such that all the world can say, 
"Here lies the noblest work of God - an honest man." 

Copied from published obituary in scrapbook of Martha (HESTER) IHMELS 
submitted by: Kay 
Sept 1, 1997 

 
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