John Estes




John Estes (1800-1859)

John Estes was born about 1800 in Kentucky as the second child of Moses Estes and Elizabeth Riley. He had nine siblings, namely: Elizabeth, Mary, Roseanna, Lewis, Nancy Ann, Sarah, Dorcas, Absalom, and Thomas Harvey. As a child, he moved with his parents from Kentucky to Tennessee. Sadly, his parents died and John was orphaned when he was only about 15-years old. John probably moved to Callaway County, Missouri, around that time because his uncle, who was also named John Estes, had moved there.

When he was 30, John Estes married Jane about 1830. Unfortunately and with great frustration, we don’t yet know Jane’s last name or the names of her parents. [17 March 2022 Update: John Estes married Jane Calvin.]

John Estes and Jane had the following children:

  1. William Riley Estes was born in 1833 in Callaway, Missouri.  He married Margaret A. O’Donnell on 26 Aug 1855 in Callaway, Missouri. He married Sarah Hill about 1866 in Callaway, Missouri. He died in 1880 in Sedalia, Pettis, Missouri.
  2. James A. Estes was born in 1834 in Callaway, Missouri. He died in Dec 1860 in Callaway, Missouri (Age: 25).
  3. Moses Patrick Estes was born in Oct 1835 in Callaway, Missouri. He married Isabel Blankenship on 17 Oct 1858 in Callaway, Missouri. He died on 28 Feb 1905 in Callaway, Missouri (Age: Abt 69).
  4. Thomas H. B. Estes was born in 1838 in Callaway, Missouri. He died before May 1859 (Not listed as heir to his father’s estate).
  5. Mary Elizabeth Estes was born in 1841 in Callaway, Missouri.

John Estes bought up many parcels of land in Callaway County, Missouri. He eventually owned about 240-acres very near the Missouri River.

John Estes, land in Callaway County, Missouri.

By the beginning of the 1850s, John and Jane were apparently doing well. They had four growing boys and a young daughter to raise, and John had accumulated 200 acres of land to farm. But then, life took a turn. Jane died sometime between the 1850 census and 1853. The exact date of her death and her place of burial have not been determined. Their son, Thomas H. B. Estes, also died sometime between 1850 and 1859. We don’t know exactly when Thomas died, but do know that when his wife died, John was left a widower with children to finish raising.

On 30 Jan 1853, John remarried to Cynthia Ann Martin in Callaway County. Note that in the 1850 Federal Census, Cynthia was living with the Henry Perry family next door to John and Jane Estes. When they married, Cynthia was about 28-years old and John was about 53

Cynthia Ann Martin and John Estes. [Photo credit: Rosalind Sonnen.]

John Estes and Cynthia Ann Martin had the following children:

  1. Harvey J. Estes was born on 24 Jul 1853 in Callaway, Missouri.  He married Susan Ann Kronk on 16 Sep 1880 in Callaway, Missouri. He married Sarah Charlotte Atkins on 04 Jul 1902 in Steen Prairie, Maries, Missouri. He died on 31 Dec 1925 in Willow Springs, Howell, Missouri.
  2. Lucinda Catherne Estes was born in 1855 in Missouri, She married William Pierson on 05 Mar 1876 in Callaway, Missouri.

John and Cynthia remained on his land where he farmed and they raised the children. But, sometime around 1856, John contracted tuberculosis (T.B.). His probate file was filled with receipts from the doctor and listed many medications that he was prescribed. At the time, there was no known cure for T.B., or consumption as it was called then. John probably wasted away and suffered greatly in the last years of his life. Many of the medications may have done more harm than good.

John Estes, medical bill.

By the time he died, the medical bills had piled up. John Estes died on or about 12 May 1859 in Callaway, Missouri. The doctor saw him on 11 May 1859 and the estate was billed for a coffin on 13 May 1859, so the 12th is a likely death date. He was around 59-years old at the time of his death.

Though he had to have known that he was dying, John didn’t make a will. John died intestate leaving heirs William R., James A., Moses Patrick, Elizabeth, Harvey, Lucinda, and widow Cynthia Ann Estes. The family chose a neighbor, Marshall Gibson, to be the administrator of the estate. It took over nine years, from 27 May 1859 to 16 Nov 1868, for the estate to be settled. A series of records, many of which are in the files of the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Museum in Fulton Missouri, documented the settlement of his estate.  The personal property of his estate was appraised at $894.43. Many of the items were common to farming at the time, but there were also many items that indicate that John Estes was involved in logging. Unfortunately for his heirs, John’s debts exceeded the value of his estate, so some of his property had to be sold. Had John lived longer and paid off his mortgages, his children may have started their adult lives in a better financial position.

John Estes, estate appraisal (page 1).

There are many more details to share about John Estes that have been included in The Estes Family book. See below for how to get your copy.

Where is he in the tree?

Relationship chart, Thomas Leland Estes to John Estes.
Pedigree chart, John Estes.


How do I find out more?

The Estes Family

  • Publication date: January 2019
  • Pages: 740
  • Formats:
  • This book traces our Estes family from our earliest known Estes ancestor, Nicholas Estes, who was born about 1495 in England. His descendants, beginning with our immigrant ancestor, Abraham Estes, lived through all the major events in American history. Detailed biographies are included for twelve generations of ancestors from Nicholas through the family of his 9th great-grandson, Thomas Leland Estes. Thousands of descendants have been identified and are listed.

Selected Sources:, Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002 (Provo, UT, USA, Operations Inc, 2007),,

Estate of John Estes, Dec. (1859-1868). 1859. Bundle 7, Box No. 94 [File stored at the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Museum, Fulton, Missouri] (Callaway County Missouri, May 27). Accessed September 20, 2017.

Estes; Callaway County Missouri; Deed records; Index to deeds, inverted v. 1 1821-1870; image 131 of 436; page 122 ( : accessed 16 Jan 2018), Family Search – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussion list (

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