The Puzzling Photo of Lester Vining


The family has a vintage photo of Lester Vining. There he is, dressed in his best outfit, looking solemn for the camera. The only problem is we’re having trouble figuring out which Lester Vining to attach the picture to.

Is this Lester Vining, the son of Francis Vining?

Is this Lester Vining, the son of James and Jane Vining? We think it is.

There are 3 who share that name on our family tree. Here are the candidates:

►Lester Vining was the next to the youngest child of the ill-fated Francis and Nora (Leonora) Hawkins Vining. The couple was killed in a car-train accident on March 28, 1934, leaving 10 children. Francis was one of my grandmother, Ruth Vining McGhee’s older brothers. Lester Lloyd Vining was born on 19 Mar 1930 probably in Jefferson, Oklahoma and died on the 12 September 2005 in Amado, Santa Cruz, Arizona, U.S.
The children were divided among relatives with Ray Dean and Melvin Dale staying with my grandparents. The 1940 census shows three of the children (Roy, Lester and Flossie) living with their older sister Sylvia and her husband, Dale Lewis.

►Another Lester Vining was the oldest son of Charles Augustus “Fiddlin Jake” Vining and Laura Elizabeth Keeling. Lester R. Vining was born in 1912 or 1914 in Garbor, Missouri and died the 26 Jan 1998 in Branson, Taney, Missouri, United States. If you’ve ever been to Branson and saw the Shepherd of the Hills pageant, Lester’s father was the Fiddlin’ Jake of that story.

The final Lester Vining was the second son of James and Jane Vining. James came from Connecticut when his father James and mother Almira settled in the eastern part of Kansas Territory. Earnest Lester Vining was born in 1879 in Wilson County, Kansas.

Our Vining genealogy group on Facebook discussed the three possibilities. The first Lester born in 1930 is too recent to match the photo. The clothing is from an earlier era.

My sister pointed out that the man in the photo is in his 20s or 30s, so it is unlikely to be the son of Fiddlin’ Jake.

One Lester is my grandmother’s first cousin and the other is a second cousin. It’s possible that she would have a photo of either Lester. We finally settled on the Lester Vining born in 1879. I sure would like to find further documentation on it.


3 thoughts on “The Puzzling Photo of Lester Vining

  1. I know we worked on this before, but it seems to me that the clothing is more turn of the century (#3) than late 1930s (#2) or 1950s (#1). I’m making the assumption that the young man is +/- 20.


  2. Mike vining

    My name is Mike Vining. I believe you are referencing my great grandfather who was killed in the car/train wreck. This occurred near the Kansas/ Oklahoma border in Oklahoma. Some of the 10 children lived with relatives while my grandfather, (Alfred,”Jack” Vining), and brother Oscar went off to work in CCC camps sending money back yo their siblings.
    Alfred eventually settled in Pleasant View, Colorado marrying Cleda Lancaster. They had 3 children. My dad, Efton “Duane” Vining, Edith, and Marshall. They eventually moved to Kansas near Wichita then to Independent ce, kansas in their later years.
    my father, Duane married Jan Craig in Wichita and 3 kids. Myself, Julie, and Mark. We grew up in Caney, kansas very close to where my great grandfather was killed in the train wreck near Wann, Oklahoma. I now live with my family in Cassville, missouri. 45 miles from Branson, mo.
    My email is:
    please keep me informed on your news.

    Mike Vining


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