Kester Avenue

Tenant farmer John Hambleton Kester (c. 1828-1898) was in the San Fernando Valley for less than three years. But Kester Ranch – even though Isaac Lankershim and Isaac Van Nuys actually owned the land – kept his name until 1911, when Valley subdividers anointed Kester Avenue. John H. Kester was born near Buffalo, NY. He, his wife Sarah (c. 1830-1888), and his mother Anna (c. 1805-1885) came to California in 1858 and settled in Napa County, where I presume they first met Lankershim and Van Nuys. A few years after Lankershim bought up half the Valley from Pío Pico, the Kesters came down here in 1876, grew thousands of acres of wheat and barley (probably near present-day Van Nuys), then decamped for Tehama County in 1879. They later lived in Colusa County, but after the deaths of his mother and wife, John Kester spent his final days in San Francisco: he was felled by a heart attack in that city’s Chinatown.