A native of Kentucky, Mr. Lake was born in Hancock County, July 15, 1825, and is the son of Lord H. and Jane (Branham) Lake, the father a native of Pennsylvania and the mother of Virginia. His paternal ancestors were of German and French origin, while the mother traces her lineage to England and Ireland. John Branham, a maternal great-uncle of our subject, served as a soldier in the Revolutionary War, going into the army when a lad of fourteen years.
In 1845, when a young man of twenty years, Mr. Lake emigrated with his parents from Kentucky to Illinois and settled in Cass County, where the father died shortly afterward. Jesse remained with his mother until ready to establish a home of his own, and was married in Cass County, April 9, 1848, to Miss Harriet, daughter of Henry and Patsy (Brown) Phelps. Of this union there were born six children only two of whom are living - Isaac and Jesse, Jr. The deceased were Harrison, Henry, Martha and Lindsay.
Mr. Lake came to Morgan County in 1867, and settled upon his present farm where he has since lived. He has effected most of the improvements upon it, and like his brother pioneers labored early and late during his younger years in order to establish himself upon a solid foundation, financially. In the meantime he has seen the country grow up around him and the wild prairie give place to cultivated fields and pleasant homesteads. At the time of his coming here deer were quite plentiful, and in the winter the trees were loaded with prairie chickens. He has been essentially the architect o f his own fortunes, having received no assistance from other men except their friendship and good will, which he has gained by his upright life and steady adherence to the principles of honesty and integrity.
Mr. Lake is not a member of any church organization but believes in religious institutions and especially in the advocacy of temperance. He usually supports the Democratic party, except in local elections, when he believes in choosing the men who will best serve the interests of the people. Both he and his estimable wife are still in their prime and able to enjoy the fruits of their labors. They have gathered around them many friends, and their home is one of the pleasantest places of resort in the township. The education of Mr. Lake consisted of three months' attendance at the district school, but he will be readily recognized as an intelligent man, and one well posted upon the current events of the day.