Hester S. (Martin)
Cheshier, the 16th child of John
Martin, Jr., and the fourth born to John’s second wife,
Lavina (Plowman) Martin, was born 21 Feb 1869 at Camargo,
Douglas County, Illinois. Although Hester never had any
children of her own, she apparently spent much of her life
raising other people’s children.
The 1900 census shows Hester as a single head-of-household in Camargo, looking after the two sons of her deceased sister Laura Perkins. The boys then were ages 13 and 11. Ten years later, with those boys grown and out on their own, Hester, then 40 years old, agreed to marry William Oscar Cheshier (known as Oscar), and thereby became stepmother to the six children he had from a previous marriage.
Oscar had been born 22 September 1874 in Fayette County, Illinois, the son of James L. and Mary H. (Brown) Cheshier, and in fact he had been married twice before. He first married Laura Bell Oldham in Fayette County on Christmas Day 1894. She gave him one child, who lived only 5 weeks, and Laura herself then passed away 14 August 1896. Oscar then married his second wife, Mary Jeanette Richardson, on 22 February 1898 in Fayette County. He and Mary moved to Macon County, IL, where their six children were born over the course of the next nine years. Sometime after the birth of their youngest child in April 1907, the marriage ended. Most likely, Mary died, although I have not found any record or her death or burial. On the other hand, neither have I found any record of a divorce, and I see no listing for Mary in the 1910 or any subsequent censuses.
I do not have the exact date when Oscar married Hester Martin. The 1910 census shows them living in Newman Township of Douglas County and records that they have been married “0 years”; hence that marriage must have occurred earlier in 1910 or perhaps late in 1909. Three of Oscar’s children (Alma, Floy, and James) are shown in the household with them; the other three (Zelma, Ray, and Mary) were living with various of William’s relatives in Fayette and Marion Counties.
Oscar and Hester apparently remained in Douglas County the rest of their lives. The 1920 census shows them in Sargent Township, although they were back in Newman Township for the 1930 and 1940 censuses. Hester passed away 2 January 1942 and was buried at Albin Cemetery.
Following her death, in 1943, Oscar married Ella (Mitchell) Martin, the widow of Hester's brother Wilson (who had died in 1938). However, when Oscar subsequently died, in 1951, he was laid to rest next to Hester at Albin Cemetery, and several years later, 1967, Ella was buried next to Wilson at Fairfield Cemetery under the name Ella Martin, not Cheshier.
If you can suggest any corrections to the information above or provide any further details about the lives of Hester and William, please contact me at the address shown in the image below: