LYON COUNTY GENEALOGY
CHARLES GAGE. SR.
Charles Melvin Gage was born at Streator, Illinois in 1865. He came to the Lester area in the spring of 1889. He settled on a farm three fourths of a mile east of the present day cemetery. They had to drive across the fields to get to Lester, as there were no roads. Some of his farm land was still unbroken prairie; so in the early spring he planted the acres that had been broken. Then he would break prairie until July 1 and plant it to flax. He followed this procedure until all of the land had been broken. He married Rezina Ewer the same spring he came to Lester. She was born in Brookfield, Illinois. They had four daughters; Maude* (Mullins, Spencer); Lois (Grimm); Mildred* (Stokes); Rezina* (Christenson). His wife, Rezina, died in 1894, soon after the birth of their fourth child and just shortly before her 26th birthday.
In 1898 he married Minnie Kehm who was teaching a rural school near Larchwood. She was from the Mason City area. They had three daughters: Melva* (Haegele); Aletha* and Lyola (Baker). A new farm house was built in 1900 (presently occupied by a son, Charles). The carpenters lived in the cattle barn while the house was being built. It took them a year to complete it. The total labor cost was $1,000.00. (No wonder they call them the good old days.) During this period he enlarged his farm operation to include raising pure bred Short Horn cattle. Once a year they would set up a huge tent from which they held a cattle sale. Buyers came by train from great distances. The young girls in the family prepared sack lunches in the family kitchen. and distributed them to the buyers. The more affluent buyers were treated to dinner in the family dining-room. His second wife died in 1915 following surgery.
He married Mattie Barnes in 1917. She was from the Cedar Rapids area and was a teacher in the Lester Public School. They had two sons: Charles and Duane. Both live near Lester. In later years the sons took over the active farming but Charles, Sr. and Mattie continued living on the farm. He died there in 1954 at the age of 89. Mattie stayed on the farm until ill health forced her to move to a nursing home where she died in 1972 at age 87. Both Charles and Mattie were active and interested in the Lester Methodist Church.
He told his children and grandchildren how he and others from the congregation drove their teams and wagons to a rock quarry near Rowena, South Dakota. They loaded the wagons with rock, then to Lester for the foundation for the foundation of the new Methodist Church. It seemed fitting that his funeral took place in that same church.