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William Preston III family page
William Preston III, Major, Family - father of "the old sheriff"
This page includes sketches I have compiled from my family history research for
my own use. I am posting them on the Internet in the interest of sharing this
information with interested parties. If you appear to be directly related, based
on the information in the the sketches, or have comments to share with me about
these sketches, I would be happy to hear from you. I do not do research for others,
nor am I particularly interested in speculative relationships or unrelated surname
discussions. There are many other worthy sites for these activities. I hope you
enjoy reading some of these interesting stories.
This story of our ancestory, as it appears here, now, has been established
through individual contributions of Gene Preston, Elena Anderson, and Bill
Smith during the May-June 1998 period, based, necessarily, on works of many
others, largely anonymous, over the years. We, of course, are just beginning
to assemble pieces of the true story, bit by bit, as we scrape away the
sediment of time. The true story happened. We can but reveal as much of
this truth as is still available, in the records, both oral and written,
for us to find.
Bill Smith, Complier, 7 Jun 1998
The search for the parents of "the old sheriff," William Preston,
of Defiance, OH (elected first Williams Co, OH, Sheriff in 1824) had been
going on for some time. Mari Preston and Bill Smith had collaborated to
put together their individual research on Defiance history in the summer
of 1997. Bill had been working to reconstruct the life of James P. Preston,
son of William. Mari was doing this, also, as well as beginning an in-depth
study of his wife, Ellen Miller. James and Ellen had been married in Williams
Co, OH, in 1871.
LVene Thomas (Bill's aunt), of Coon Rapids, IA, had gathered and compiled
a good deal of ancestory on Ellen Miller, but almost nothing on James P.
Preston. She shared this with Mari (LVene had mentioned it to Bill, he had
a copy, but had yet to do follow-up research on it), who became very actively
involved in confirming and extending this line, including searching for
Preston roots, of course. During 1997, then, quite a bit of information
was uncovered about William and Asenath (Butler) Preston and their family.
Nothing could be found, however, that even hinted at the parentage of William.
Correspondence with other cousins, Shirley Stanley, in Iowa, and George
Hudon, in California, had provided much information on other children of
William and Asenath, but little useful insight into earlier generations.
In the Fall, a new Preston web site was located, operated by Fred Preston.
Bill put in a query. When it was posted, the query right beside it seemed
to be asking the very same question. Bill, therefore, came into contact
with Tom Preston, in Marion, IA, a direct descendant of another son of William.
Tom opened communication (for Bill and Mari) with another cousin, Gene Preston,
of Michigan, who had visited many of the same Williams Co sites and corroborated
much of the information gathered to that day. In addition, however, Gene
had found a land transaction between William Preston and a Collins Preston
in Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH, and, had compiled a Family Group sheet on
the parents of Collins in that community. He shared that with Bill early
in 1998 and the search for related information has continued.
The most interesting aspect of this family was that there was a William
Preston IV, born at the same time as "the old sheriff" - 1780
(30 Dec); and, a John Preston, neither of which had any information suggesting
they had remained in Rumney, whereas most of the rest of the family had
stayed there during their adult lives, it appeared. Bill has now (May/June
1998) found enough circumstantial evidence to feel "comfortable"
that this family is very likely the family of "the old sheriff."
Solid evidence remains to be found. Can
Bill has also examined in detail recorded Preston families in Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania, Virginia, and throughout New England during the period in
question, with no success in finding a match, or even a close possibility.
Then, in May 1998, Bill received an e-mail from Elena Anderson, in California,
that she had compiled her family information that appeared to have much
in common with what we were looking for. Further sharing and additional
confirmatory research seems to demonstrate that her earlier generations
do fit as the earlier generations of the family in Rumney. Of course, we
continue to seek confirmation and/or disconfirmation of each of these families
and their vital record details. Can
you help? Thank you!
Assuming this works out as I expect, the reason I couldn't find earlier generations
was that earlier generations went by surnames Presson, Presbury, and sometimes
Presbyter or Praesbitery, as well as Preston! See discussion
of this in the sketches of these earlier generations.
William Preston III, Major, was born in 6 Jul 1755 , the son of William
Preston, Jr (also known as William Presson II) and Hannah Healey. William
III first married Elizabeth (possibly Elizabeth Cynthia Lord - not confirmed)
10 May 1779 in NH . He second married Mary Herbert in 21 Jan 1808 .
Elizabeth was born 22 Jul 1760 and died 19 Jun 1807 . She is buried in the
Rumney Depot Cemetery, Rumney, Grafton Co, NH .
William Preston III died 17 Jan 1842 . He is buried in the Rumney Depot Cemetery,
Rumney, Grafton Co, NH .
1790 - William Preston (Rumney Town), includes 1 male of 16 (William, the
father) and upwards incl HH; 5 males under 16 (William IV, Collins, Benjamin,
Henry D., John); 2 Females (Elizabeth, the mother, and Elizabeth).
 Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, Sybil Noyes,
et al, Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., Baltimore, 1979, pp. 567 -
568, and, interpretation by Elena Anderson.
 Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, Vol. 1 - IV,
James Savage, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1860-62, Reprinted
 History of Chester, New Hampshire, Vol I & II, Benjamin Chase, Heritage
Press, 1869, Reprinted in 1992.
 IGI files at Midcontinent Library, Independence, MO, viewed and copied
by Bill Smith, June 1998. Note: the first four children were separately
listed as both Preston and Presson. Beginning with the 1788 birth, all the
children are listed as Preston!
 From Gene Preston, Jan 1998.
 The New England Genealogical Record, Vol. 6, 1909, p. 161. under Chapter
titled: First Congregational Church Records, Concord, N.H. (1730-1905):
21 Jan 1808. William Preston of Rumney & Mary Herbert of Concord were