Person:William Preston (58)

m. 1724
  1. Margaret Preston1728 - 1802
  2. Letitia Preston1728/9 - 1797
  3. Col. William Preston1729 - 1783
  4. Ann Preston1739 - 1813
  5. Mary Preston1740 - 1814
  6. James Preston1741 -
m. 17 Jan 1761
  1. Elizabeth Preston1762 - 1837
  2. John Preston1764 - 1827
  3. Gen. Francis Smith Preston, Esq.1765 - 1835
  4. Sarah Preston1767 - 1841
  5. Anne Preston1769 -
  6. Maj. William Preston1770 - 1821
  7. Susanna Preston1772 -
  8. Gov. James Patton Preston, 20th Governor of Virginia1774 - 1843
  9. Mary Preston1776 - 1824
  10. Letitia Preston1779 - 1852
  11. Thomas Lewis Preston1781 -
  12. Peggy Preston1784 -
Facts and Events
Name Col. William Preston
Gender Male
Birth? 26 Dec 1729 Newton Limavaddy, Londonderry County, Northern Ireland
Military[1][6] 1754–1763 Augusta, Virginia, United StatesCaptain of a Company of Rangers
Marriage 17 Jan 1761 Hanover, Virginia, United Statesby Rev. Patrick Henry
to Susannah Smith
Occupation? 1765 and 1766-1768 Augusta County, VirginiaBurgess
Reference Number? Q8017063?
Occupation? 1769-1771 Botetourt County, VirginiaBurgess
Occupation? 1772-1776 Fincastle County, VirginiaCounty Lieutenant, Sheriff and Surveyor
Residence[3][6] 1773 Blacksburg, Montgomery, Virginia, United Statespurchased Draper's Meadows estate, changing the name to Smithfield
Property[2] Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky, United States1,000 ac Preston's Cave Spring
Occupation? 1776-1783 Montgomery County, VirginiaCounty Lieutenant, Justice, and Surveyor
Military? 1776 VirginiaRev War - Colonel of Virginia State Militia from Montgomery County
Death[1] 28 Jun 1783 Montgomery County, Virginiadied while attending a muster of Montgomery County Militia (possibly at Smithfield)
Probate[7] 5 Aug 1783 Montgomery County, Virginia
Burial[1] Preston Cemetery at Smithfield Plantation, Blacksburg, Montgomery, Virginia, United States

Col. William Preston was one of the Early Settlers of Augusta County, Virginia


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Early Land Acquisition in Augusta County, VA


William Preston's land (Beverley Manor NE, 334 acres, 1749 & 365 acres, 1749 (shown as 320 acres on Hildebrand Map)) as shown on the map meticulously drawn by J.R. Hildebrand, cartographer. This map is copyrighted©, used by permission of John Hildebrand, son of J.R. Hildebrand, April, 2009.

Acquisition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 680.—2d March, 1749. Same (From William Beverley) to Wm. Preston, 334 acres in Beverley Manor. In Beverley Manor, John Maxwell's line; Col. Lewis' line.
  • Page 683.—2d March, 1749. Same to same (From William Beverley to Wm. Preston), 365 acres. In Beverley Manor, on Lewis Creek, above Court House; Col. Beverley's Mill Place line. (listed just after transaction above).
  • Page 33.--17th November, 1752. James Brown and Agness to Wm. Preston, 277 acres on second Fork of Thorney Branch of North River of Shanandore; Smith's land. From Repentance Townsend, who patented it in 1749, 5th September. Teste: John Walter and James Trimble.
  • Vol 3, pp 30-49 Page 84.--18th November, 1754. William Preston, Assistant Surveyor, enters 400 acres below the survey made on the Forks of John's Creek; 200 acres above the uppermost survey on South Fork of John's Creek; 200 acres above the survey made on the North Fork of said creek; two 400-acre tracts between Bradshaw's survey and Adam Looney's land; 200 acres called the sugar land; 200 acres called the Mill place joining Jacob Patton's old place; 200 acres at a spring below Henry Holston's joining Frederick Hartsough's land; two 400-acre surveys between the Spreading Spring Draft and George Burdwell's; 400 acres at the Poplar Spring joining Dayley's land; 200 acres on the west end of Dayley's; 200 acres between John McGowin's and Nathaniel Evans' land; two 400-acre tracts below the Laurel Gap on Pott's Creek; 400 acres on the next large bottom above said Gap; 400 acres on Purgatory Creek on north side of James River; 200 acres on east side of the Long Bottom; 400 acres between William Hutchinson's and James Moore's on the Path; 400 acres between Priscilla Reese's and James McAfee's land; 200 acres at head spring of little Catabo.--James Patton.
  • Vol. 1 - 1768-9. - William Preston entered, 30th December, 1767, 250 (acres) between Gilbert Marshall and James Alexander on Back Creek; 400 (acres) joining lands of Jasper Torry, James Neely and Andrew Wilson; 400 (acres) on Potts Creek, above the Paint Bank Survey.

Disposition of Land from Chalkley's:

  • Page 384.--1st June, 1751. William Preston to Alexander Wright, merchant, 334 acres in Beverley Manor; John Lewis's line; Maxwell's line. Teste: Henry Murray, Robert Scott.
  • Page 728.--10th November, 1764. William Preston and Susannah to Peter Cockran, £7.10. 32 acres on James River; Givens' corner. Delivered to Ephraim Richardson. 15th October, 1765.

Research Notes

  • The inventory of his estate included 273 books. His was one of the largest libraries in Virginia.
  • Most of the papers of William Preston were collected by Lyman Draper and are portion of the Draper Manuscripts known as the William Preston Papers.
  • A well written account of William Preston can be found online at Osborn, Dr. Richard. Journal of Back Country Struggles. "William Preston in the American Revolution" 1990. Univ. of MD dissertation directed by Professor Emory Evans. Dr. Osborn is President of Pacific Union College. This fully annotated work details his life from about 1753 through 1774.
  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Grave Recorded, in Find A Grave.

    [Includes photos of memorial plaques erected after his death and historical marker.]

  2. Historical Marker, in Kentucky Historical Society. Historical Marker Database [1].

    Preston's Cave Spring
    Marker Number 1557
    County Fayette
    Location 1937 Dunkirk Dr., Lexington
    Description The stream in this valley emerges from a cave. It was part of l,000-acre Cave Spring Tract, on waters of South Elkhorn Creek, owned by Col. William Preston. The water is connected underground with sinking spring of William McConnell. Colonel Preston was official surveyor for Fincastle Co. who directed military surveys in Kentucky for colony of Virginia. Presented by Lexington-Fayette Co. Historic Commission.

  3. Historical Marker, in Source Needed.

    KG-9 Smithfield, Montgomery, Virginia
    "One mile west is "Smithfield", old home of Col. Wm. Preston, who materially guided the destiny of the Virginia frontier from the French and Indian War through the Revolution. On this estate two Virginia Governors were born: James P. Preston, 1816-19; John B. Floyd, 1848-52, the latter was the son of another Virginia Governor, John Floyd, 1830-34, who while in office advocated before the Legislature abolition of slavery in Virginia."

  4.   Biography, in Johnson, Patricia Givens. William Preston and the Allegheny patriots. (Pulaski, Virginia: B.D. Smith], c1976).
  5.   Property Records, in Chalkley, Lyman. Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish settlement in Virginia: Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County, 1745-1800. (Rosslyn, Virginia: The Commonwealth Printing Company, 1912-1913 in Three Volumes).
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mentioned, in Waddell, Joseph A. (Joseph Addison). Annals of Augusta County, Virginia: with reminiscences illustrative of the vicissitudes of its pioneer settlers biographical sketches of citizens locally prominent, and of those who have founded families in the southern and western states : a diary of the war, 1861-'5, and a chapter on reconstruction by Joseph Addison Waddell. (Staunton, Virginia: C.R. Caldwell, 1902).

    William Preston was the only son of John Preston, and was born in Ireland in 1730. He was therefore about ten years old when he came with his father to the Valley. For most of his education he was indebted to the Rev. John Craig, near whose residence he lived, according to the testimony of his daughter, Mrs. Floyd. His first regular appointment was posting the books of the Staunton merchants and aiding his uncle, Col. Patton, in his extensive business. He was deputy for Wallace Estill, when the latter was High Sheriff of Augusta. He was also clerk of the Vestry of Augusta Parish and clerk of the Court-Martial of the county. Step by step he rose to higher employments. During the Indian wars he became quite prominent as captain of a company of rangers, and many of the letters of Governor Dinwiddie in that stirring time were addressed to him. When the town of Staunton was incorporated in 1761. he was one of the board of trustees. In the same year he married Susanna Smith, of Hanover county. He represented Augusta in the House of Burgesses in 1766-1768-9, and was probably a member from Botetourt in 1774. Upon the formation of Botetourt in 1767, he removed to that section, and was one of the first justices of that county. At the first court he qualified also as county surveyor, coroner, escheator and colonel of militia. His residence was at a place called Greenfield, near Amsterdam. Fincastle county was formed in 1772, and Colonel Preston became its first surveyor. In 1773, he acquired the Draper's Meadows estate, removed his family there in 1774, and changed the name to Smithfield. He intended to accompany Colonel William Christian in his march to the Ohio, in the fall of 1774, but was detained at home by his wife's condition. The child born to him at that time was James Preston, who became Governor of Virginia. In 1480, Colonel Preston was engaged with Colonel Arthur Campbell and Colonel Christian in their respective expeditions against the Cherokees. The legislature of North Carolina included him with Colonel Campbell in a vote of thanks for their services in protecting the frontier. Throughout the war of the Revolution he was actively employed, holding important command in Southwest Virginia, and his official papers show that he was a man of more than ordinary culture. He died at Smithfield in 1783, leaving eleven children, of whom five were sons. One of his sons, General Francis Preston, married the only daughter of General William Campbell, and was the father of William C. Preston of South Carolina.

  7. Will Abstract of William Preston, in Worrell, Anne Lowry. A brief of wills and marriages in Montgomery and Fincastle counties, Virginia, 1773-1831. (Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1957), 52.

    Preston, William. Will probated Aug. 5, 1783.
    Names wife, Susannah, and children: Elizabeth Madison, John, Anne, Francis, Sarah, William, Susannah, James, Patton, Mary and one unborn. Says he has no brother.