Jonathan Esrey

In the Prairie State, Jonathan Esrey was born December 2, 1831, and when he was about ten years old he went with his father's family to Missouri, where he completed such education as was available to him and lived until 1852, gaining meanwhile a practical knowledge of farming He was a member of a party which crossed the plains to California with ox-teams in the year last mentioned and after mining for a while at Placerville and at Sacramento, -he came in the early '60s to Tulare county and went into the stock business. Later he took up farming and in time developed an important dairy interest He pre-empted land along the line of the railroad, a mile and a half northwest of the present site of Lemoore, for which he was later Com­pelled to pay the railroad company a good price. Eventually he sold this property and in 1878 he bought four hundred acres three miles from Lemoore and by later purchases he increased his holdings in this vicinity to nine hundred acres. He sold off tract after tract until he had only one hundred and sixty acres, a fine ranch two miles and a half northwest of Lemoore, twenty acres in vineyard, most of the remainder in alfalfa. Here he established an important dairy busi­ness, which his widow has conducted since his death.

In 1871 Mr. Esrey married Miss Sarah A. Winsett, a native of Missouri and a daughter of Robert and Nancy (Schooler) Winsett, natives of Tennessee. She came -to California in 1870 and her par­ents came seven years later and lived in central California until they passed away. She made her home in the vicinity of Lemoore during her marriage. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Esrey: George lives on the family homestead; Kate married L. L. Follett and died November 20, 1908; Robert is conducting a ranch four miles from Lemoore; and Justin died April 7, 1912. Mr. Esrey was a man of well-defined public spirit who did much in his time to advance the interests of his community, and he was well known as a friend of education. While not particularly active as a politician, he was influ­ential in local affairs. He was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and for several years was a trustee and deacon of the church at Lemoore.

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