Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
JAMES E. VEST is descended from
the same family as Senator Vest of Missouri. Their ancestors came
to the colonies before the Revolution and they have always been stirring
American people. He was born in Madison county, Indiana, on April
6, 1838, being the son of James and Phoebe (Corwin) Vest, natives of Alabama
and Ohio, respectively. The father was one of the old circuit riders,
whose labors accomplished so much on the then frontier of the United States.
He rode in Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. The mother was a cousin of
Thomas Corwin and was married in Ohio. Our subject was one of ten
children and received a good education, beginning his studies in the public
school house and completing the same in McKendree college. Afterwards,
he engaged in teaching until the Civil War broke out, then on the first
call, in 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Twenty-second Illinois Volunteers,
and was detailed on special service, being appointed in the adjutant general's
office. His first action was in service at Belmont, Missouri.
Then he was at Farmington, Stone river, and at the surrender of Island
No. 10. He continued in the adjutant general's office until the latter
part of the summer of 1864, when he was discharged, his term of service
being expired. After the war, he taught school in Illinois and farmed
at Greenville until 1885. In that year, he came to Sprague and then
took a homestead where he now lives, about four miles south from Waukon.
Mr. Vest always takes an active part in politics and in 1890, was elected
county assessor. He ran away ahead of his ticket and at the end of
his term was chosen his own successor.
In Boone county, Illinois, in 1862, Mr. Vest
married Miss Katherine Abbott, a native of Ohio but raised in Illinois.
To this union the following children have been born; Carrie, wife of James
Helm, a missionary at Fort Simcoe; Minnie, wife of E. J. Kelly, in Spokane;
Edwin, deceased; Martha and Mary, twins; and Mabel. Martha is married
to Wilson Monk at Tyler. Mary is married to Willis Wood of Spokane.
Mr. Vest owns four hundred acres of fine wheat
land all in a high state of cultivation and well improved. He contemplates
adding a quarter section more. He is a member of the G. A. R. and
he and his wife belong to the Methodist church. Mr. Vest is one of
the wealthy and popular men of Lincoln county, having gained this position
by virtue of his wisdom and labors which were always accompanied by uprightness
Mr. Vest came to Lincoln county practically
without means and his entire estate has been gained by the careful labors
and wise management of himself and wife. They are both estimable
people and have many friends.