John L. Vestal John Vestal

    John L. Vestal was born in 1852, in Decatur, Illinois and moved to Portland in  1880.

    He became a drug clerk in the Skidmore Drug Store owned by Mr. Sitton, a member of the Portland School Board. 

    At this time John Vestal became acquainted with William F. Woodward, who later became the head of Woodward Clarke Drug Co. 

    John Vestal married a Portland teacher late in his life. When he died in March    1925, at the age of 73, his will indicated that the bulk of his property would be  donated to the District No. 1 Portland Schools to be used for the best educational interest of the Portland school children. This generous donation was most likely the influence of Mr. Sitton and Mr. Woodward as well as his wife, who was a teacher.He loved children and no child could come into his store without receiving a smile and candy or gum. The Portland School Board were amazed at the gift and named the new Montavilla School after him.

    John L. Vestal's contributions were invested in bonds. The interest and part of the principal have been used for the many needs of the schools. A great deal was used during the Great Depression(1929-1939) when money was so scarce. 




    The  Journal of March 22, 1925, says: "He was so modest and quiet that he was little known". 


    The Telegram of March 20, 1925, says: "When he was a drug clerk almost any child could acquire a piece of candy or a stick of gum by the proper kind of overture. He remained, in death, the most openhanded friend the children of Portland have ever known".