top shadow

Biography - D Jestes

D. FRANK JESTES, one of the prominent farmers of Shoal Creek Township, Bond County, and a veteran of the late war, is the gentleman of whom we shall attempt a history in outline. Mr. Jestes was born October 14, 1841, in Indiana, and was one of a family of five children born to Garrison and Mary (Noe) Jestes. The other children all died when young, and when our subject was but a few weeks old his parents removed to the Prairie State and located in Clinton County, where his father died before the son was a year old. A year later he suffered the double loss of his mother.

One's tenderest sympathies are called forth at the idea of a helpless child being at the mercy of a thoughtless, unappreciative world and without friends, yet such was the state of our subject in his earliest youth. For several years he was without a home, living with different people, but finally entered the family of William File. During this time he had received little or no learning, being denied even that birthright of an American citizen, a good practical business education. He continued to live in the File family until the breaking out of the war, and on July 2, 1861, entered the service, joining Company D, of the Third Illinois Cavalry.

It would be tedious to enter into a detailed account given in chronological order of our subject's army experience, suffice it to say that he rendered loyal service to the Union, and hazarded his life in many of the engagements that now take their place among the most noted of the world's battles. He was slightly wounded in the engagement at Pea Ridge, and on August 21, 1864, was taken prisoner by Forrest's army at Memphis, Tenn. He was incarcerated in the rebel prison in Cahaba, Ala., and there spent eight months and twelve days. Only one who has endured a similar experience can appreciate the torture, privations and tediousness of rebel prison life. From January 1 to the 16th, the prison was flooded, and at no time was the water less than knee deep. His sufferings were added to in no little degree by seeing many of his comrades drowned. Upon entering prison Mr. Jestes weighed one hundred and seventy-four pounds, but when finally released the strong man was reduced to a shadow of his former self, and weighed but ninety-four pounds.

After the war, for a period of two years, our subject was unable to do any active work, but in February. 1867, he purchased a part of his present place and has made it his home ever since. He now owns two hundred and eighty acres of fertile and well-cultivated land which bears valuable improvements. The thoroughness with which all branches of his farm work are finished is a distinct characteristic of the owner.

In June of 1865, our subject persuaded Martha R. Rankins to take up with him the journey of life. She was a daughter of James E. Rankin, one of the pioneers of Bond County, who had been a school teacher for many years and who, as far back as 1829, had held the office of County Clerk. He died December 2, 1878, at the home of our subject.

Mr. and Mrs. Jestes are the parents of eight children. The eldest, W. J., is the popular Postmaster of Sorento and is besides engaged in the furniture trade. He was born March 3, 1866, and in 1887 married Miss Sallie Gill, a daughter of James Gill, of Mulberry Grove, this State. James E. is a clerk in Sorento. The other children are named as follows: Joseph Calvin, Lemuel Franklin, Winnie J., Hattie L., Sinah M., and Lula R., all of whom are living at home. Mr. Jestes is a Republican, who never lets an opportunity slip to impress upon his hearers the beauty of his party platform. He is an enthusiastic Grand Army of the Republic man, whole-souled and warm-hearted, and numbers his friends by the host.

Extracted 04 Dec 2016 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 208-210.

Templates in Time