From the Vertical Files, Tennessee Room, Jackson-Madison County Library


Land now privately owned and located between Roberts Lane and Hart's Bridge Road west of Lester Chapel Methodist Church in Madison County, Tennessee, approximately three miles from Jackson, Tennessee.

On June 14, 1970, the above burial ground was visited by this researcher, C. Doran Lester, and his wife, Anelia, at which time the cemetery was situated some 300 feet behind the residence of Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Roberts, the owner. The cemetery, being designated as such by barbed wire attached to trees, undoubtedly many years ago, perhaps by Felix David Lester (1856-1932) who inherited that portion of the Lester farmland from his father, John Madison Lester (1811-1877), was of irregular shapel and according to information given to this researcher by his deceased Aunt Ophelia Lester Griffith (1892-1973), the area was thought to be about one acre in size.

Although the cemetery is said to have been used for less than twenty-five years, there are reportedly a number of Lesters and their relatives buried therein. However, in 1970 only two graves could be positively identified, as named below, but numerous depressions were noted in the cemetery and were assumed to be graves without markers. For all intents and purposes, the Lester Second Cemetery appeared to have been abandoned and without care for many, many years. There may very well have been graves therein identifiable by tombstones but because of the extremely dense overgrowth, particularly in the summer, it was impossible to examine the burial ground thoroughly for such purpose. The two graves referred to below, were for two of the first three husbands of Nancey E. Lester (1840-ca1903):

  1. "T C E'": Tombstone for her first husband, Thomas C. Edwards, whom she married soon after the close of the Civil ‘War in 1865, and he was said to have been a Captain in the Union Army. TCE died on the Lester farm property, where he made his home after marrying Nancey, the date of his death being unknown at this time. [Later handwritten addition: Thomas C. Edwards, born Aug. 4, 1841, Died Dec. 26, 1878] [HTML editor's note: as described, this probably is a footstone to a missing headstone]
  2. The tombstone for Nancey's second husband, whom she married on June 18, 1880 and was a former Private in the 6th Tennessee Infantry during the Civil War, was placed next to the grave of her first husband, TCE, and reads as follows:
    Loftin Brown, born Dec. 15, 1823, died Nov. 9, 1888
    What to us is life without thee
    Darkness and despair alone
    When with sighs to seek to find thee
    This tomb proclaims that thou art gone.

The above two graves were found within the low wire enclosure . . . in 1970, and found to be still in existence during a second visit to this cemetery in June, 1983.


Individuals Possibly Interred Herein 1877 to 1899
(conjecture of C. Doran Lester)

  1. John Madison Lester, born March 25, 1811, died February 6, 1877, husband of Elizabeth (Anderson) Lester (1818-1892).
  2. Elizabeth (Anderson) Lester, born circa 1818, died May 3, 1892, wife of John Madison Lester (1811-1877).
  3. Thomas C. Edwards, born Aug. 4, 1841, died December 26, 1878, husband of Nancey E. (Lester) Edwards (1840-____), who was a daughter of John Madison Lester and Elizabeth (Anderson) Lester (tombstone is inscribed T C E).
  4. Loftin Brown, born Dec. 15, 1823, died Nov. 9, 1888, second husband of Nancey E. (Lester) Edwards (1840-____), whose tombstone is appropriately inscribed, is buried next to Thomas C, Edwards.
  5. Samuel C. "Kit" Lester, born circa 1860, died 1893, unmarried son of John Madison Lester and Elizabeth (Anderson) Lester.
  6. Thomas L. Lester, born January 31, 1849, died 1884, husband (widower) of I. A. Lester (dates unknown), about whom nothing is known to date. "Tom" was a son of John Madison Lester and Elizabeth (Anderson) Lester.

In the will of Samuel C. Lester, dated December 12, 1892, proven at the October 1893 Madison County Court, he stated that "out of the said property I direct that he caused to be erected over the gravesd of my mother and myself suitable tomb stones. . .