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William Preston III family page

Pioneer Sketches

William Preston III, Major, Family - father of "the old sheriff"

Compiled by William L. (Bill) Smith

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.
Go to Pedigree Page

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

Main Menu

Introduction and background

The William Preston III family

The Land Transactions

Pension File Information

Census Records Reviewed


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Introduction and background

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 you help?

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.

Bill Smith, Compiler, June 1998

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The William Preston III family

William Preston III, Major, was born in 6 Jul 1755 [5], 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 [5]. He second married Mary Herbert in 21 Jan [6]1808 [5].

Elizabeth was born 22 Jul 1760 and died 19 Jun 1807 [5]. She is buried in the Rumney Depot Cemetery, Rumney, Grafton Co, NH [5].

William Preston III died 17 Jan 1842 [5]. He is buried in the Rumney Depot Cemetery, Rumney, Grafton Co, NH [5].

Children of William and Elizabeth Preston:

1. William Preston IV, b. 30 Dec 1780, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4] (for now, see this family at Preston family history site)

2. Collins Preston, b. 23 May 1782, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; d. 1837; bur. Rumney Depot Cemetery, Rumney, Grafton Co, NH. [5]

3. Benjamin Preston, b. 1 Apr 1784, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; m. Ann Williams; d. 1828 [5]; bur. Rumney Depot Cemetery, Rumney, Grafton Co, NH. [5]

4. Elizabeth Preston, b. 23 Apr 1786, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; m. 17 Nov 1808 Samuel Frazer [5]

5. Henry D. Preston, b. 16 Feb 1788, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; m. 15 May 1808 Persis Bodwell, Methuen, MA [5]

6. John Preston, b. 5 Dec 1789, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; ?m. 1811 Mary Cook, Gloucester, MA [5]

7. Michael Preston, b. 4 Jul 1792, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]

8. Wells Preston, b. 4 Mar 1794, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]

9. Joseph Preston, b. 6 May 1796, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; 1m. 1816 ? [5]; 2m. Nov 1819 Elizabeth B. Burnham [5]; 3m. ? Roxanna [5]; d. 1868, bur. Rumney Depot Cemetery, Rumney, Grafton Co, NH.

10. Hannah Preston, b. 6 May 1796, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; d. 4 Mar 1797 [5]

11. Washington Preston, b. 26 Sep 1798, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; d. 5 Sep 1825 [5]

12. Adams Preston, b. 16 Jun 1801, Rumney Twp, Grafton Co, NH [5][4]; m. 15 Feb 1827 Jane Parkingson, Caterbury, NH [5]; d. 1878? [5]

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The Land Transactions

(Details to be added later)


Pension File Information

Pension file information, click here

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Census Records Reviewed

Federal Census Records for 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).

1810 - William Preston (Graf 467 Rumney)

(more to come)

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[1] 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.

[2] Genealogical Dictionary of First Settlers of New England, Vol. 1 - IV, James Savage, Genealogical Publishing Company, Baltimore, 1860-62, Reprinted 1965.

[3] History of Chester, New Hampshire, Vol I & II, Benjamin Chase, Heritage Press, 1869, Reprinted in 1992.

[4] 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!

[5] From Gene Preston, Jan 1998.

[6] 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 married.

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This page created 7 Jun 1998. Last updated 19 Oct 2004, by William L. (Bill) Smith.