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Levin Levi JESTER and Mary Eliza CAIN


Levin Levi JESTER, son of Levi JESTER and Diademia McKINNEY. L. L. was born 6 Jan 1851, Waverly, IL. He married on 16 December 1881, Smith Co, Texas, Mary Eliza CAIN, born 14 June 1862, Wetumpka, Coosa County, AL. She was the daughter of Washington G. CAIN and Sarah Ann BUTLER. She came from Alabama to Texas with her parents during the Civil War.

Levi Jester claimed that his bank, Jester National Bank in Tyler, was the only bank in Smith County which didn't fail in the 1909 crash. In 1912 he sold the bank and his home to Judge T. B. Butler, a cousin of Jester's wife Mary Eliza or Minnie as she was better known. The Queen Anne Victorian home is one of the most historic homes in Tyler and still owned by the Clyde family, decendants of Judge Butler

In 1912 Levi moved to Dallas and organized Merchant's National Bank, one of several banks that later merged to form Mercantile Bank. He served as president of the Merchant's National Bank. In 1814 the Jesters built a home in the recently opened second addition of Highland Park located between Lakeside Drive and Hackberry Creek.

Children of this marriage:

  1. Stanley, born 1882; died 1888
  2. Herbert Whitesell, born 5 February 1884, Corsicanna, Navarro Co, Texas; married Elizabeth Ann HENRY, daughter of Lester Adagascus HENRY, Sr. and George Ella CHILTON, 12 September 1911. Smith Co, Texas Elizabeth was born 2 September 1892, died October 1976
  3. John Cain, born December 1890, Texas; died Jul 1971; married 1. Elizabeth RAMEY, 24 September 1912, Smith Co, Texas, 2. Lorna MATTISON, 1940, Lorna born 31 August 1902, died 21 August 1994
  4. Levin Levi, Jr., born February 1892
  5. Ralph, born 1902, Texas

Herbert tried ranching in West Texas but moved back to Dallas in the early 1920s. He founded the American Motors Finance Co. He and Elizabeth had two children: Martha and Bert.

John joined the banking business with his father and served as the vice president of Mercantile Bank for 13 years. He arranged an exhibition gold match at the Dallas Country Club to boost the war effort. He was able to secure Bob Hope and other dignataries and golfers to join the Dallas Victory Open Golf Tournament where they sold $3,650,825 in war bonds. He did so well that he was asked to be chairman of the Dallas County Liberty Bond Drive. He also helped organize support for Southern Methodist University's first football program.

Levin, Jr., was very outgoing and described as the Beau Brummel of Dallas. At one time he sold real estate for Flippen-Prather Realy Co.

Ralph graduated from Yale University and became an art director for movie producer and director Cecil B. DeMille. He was nominated for two Academy Awards.

The family were avid golfers at the Dallas Country Club. Minnie liked to put on the putting green in front of the grand old Tudor Clubhouse. Elizabeth became Dallas County Club's first women's golf champion in 1924 and John won the Dallas Senior Title in 1942 .

Beauford H. Jester, who was elected Governor of Texas in 1946, was the son of George Taylor Jester, a brother of L. L. Jester. George was lieutenant governor of Texas for two terms (1894-98) under Governor Charles A. Culberson

Levin Levi Jester died 11 Mar 1938 in Dallas, Dallas Co, Texas. Minnie died in 1946 in Dallas.


George Rice

Picture of L. L. Jester's Home - circa.1907

L. L. Jester - Federal Census, Smith Co, Texas - 1900 - 96-04a, 1910 - 64-06b

Dallas Morning News, Three Part Story on the L. L. Lester Family, beginning 25 December 1991.

Cemetery Records of Smith County, Texas, Vol.I, Oakwood and Rose Hill Cemeteries, East Texas Genealogical Society,1981

Marriage Records of Smith County, Texas 1846-1899, East Texas Genealogical Society, 1979

Smith County Marriage Records, Book II - 1900-1926 (Tyler, Texas: East Texas Genealogical Society, 1999)

Obituaries from the Lindale News & Troup Banner, Smith Co, Texas, Published by the East Texas Genealogical Society, P. O. Box 6967, Tyler, Texas 75711

Social Security Index - Elizabeth Jester, 463-78-09968, Herbert Jester, 456-05-4437, John Jester, 457-40-7964, Lorna M. Jester, 451-03-2127


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