Preston

My Preston story begins in 1635 when Roger Preston came over from England on the “Elizabeth” to Massachusetts.  There is various as to the origins of the family name as well as Roger’s possible.  Most of what I know about the family comes from the book Descendants of Roger Preston of Ipswich and Salem Village by Charles Henry Preston, published in 1931.  Roger Preston was a tanner.  He was born about 1614, which made him about 21 years old when he immigrated to this country.  He settled in Ipswich, MA in 1639 and in 1642 he married his wife Martha.  Martha’s maiden name is unknown, although there is various  about what that might be as well.

Roger and Martha Preston had children born in Ipswich and Salem between 1642ish and 1662.  In 1660, Roger Preston sold his lands in Ipswich and moved his family to Salem, MA, one of the most important villages in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.  His youngest son, Levi, appears to have been born there in 1662.  He leased the Downing Farm in Salem.  It was there that his son Thomas married Rebecca Nurse, daughter of the Rebecca who was hanged during the Salem Witch Trials.  

Roger Preston died in 1666, according to the Essex County Probate Records.  His widow, Martha married Nicholas HOLT in May 1666 in Andover, MA.  

Roger’s son Samuel Preston was born in 1651 in Ipswich, MA.  He was about 15 years old when his father died and probably went to Andover with his mother when she re-married shortly thereafter to Nicholas Holt.   He married on 27 May 1672 in Andover to Susannah Gutterson.  They had about 11 children born between 1673 and 1695.  I have seen different accounts of his second marriage.  In the Genealogical Dictionary it says he married 2nd to Sarah Bridges abt 1695.  In the Descendants of Roger Preston it says that he married 2nd to Mary Rowlandson.  Regardless, it appears that Susannah Gutterson died before her husband.  According to the Descendants of Roger Preston, Samuel owned “land near Ballardvale in Andover now known as Preston’s Plain.”  He died in Andover on 10 July 1738.

Samuel’s son John Preston was born in 1685 in Andover, Essex Co., MA.   He married on 10 Jan 1706/07 to Mary Haines.  A story from Mary’s childhood indicates that as a child, she and three of her brothers were captured by Indians.  After their marriage, John and Mary moved to Killingly, Windham Co., CT sometime before 1716 where they are mentioned in church records in Putnam Heights, Killingly.   They had 12 children, all born in Connecticut.  John is mentioned several times in the history of Windham Co., CT between 1709 and 1726.  He died in 1733 and his is said to be the oldest grave in Hampton Cemtery, in what used to be Windham Village.

John’s eldest son John Preston was born about 1708 in Killingly, Windham Co., CT.  He married Eleanor Stiles about 1731 in Windham Co., CT.  They had 7 children born in Ashford.  They were admitted to the 2nd Church in Windham Village (now Hampton, CT) and admitted to the Ashford Church in 1742.  In 1747 he was dismissed from the Ashford church to the Litchfield Church.   He bought land in Harwinton, Litchfield Co., CT in 1756. The time and place for the deaths of John and Eleanor Preston remains a bit of a mystery.   The last record of John Preston in Litchfield is in 1775 and “it was said that he and his sons Asa, Stephen, and Jonathan moved to Sheffield, MA,”  just across the border.

John’s son Stephen Preston was born in 1743 in Ashford, Windham Co., CT.  Stephen’s birth as well as his wife’s name and children’s births and deaths all appear in the family bible.  However, it has proven difficult to find records for them.  While several of Stephen’s siblings appear in Litchfield Co., CT records, Stephen does not.  According to the family bible, he married Thankful Hopkins and her parentage has been much debated.  Stephen’s and Thankful’s children consistently list their birth place as Connecticut in later census records, so it appears that the couple married in Litchfield Co., CT and that their children were born there between about 1770 and 1788.  His oldest daughter, Rhoda, was married in Cornwall, Litchfield Co., CT in 1790.

 1790:  Stephen is likely the Stephen Preston living in Litchfield Co., CT with 1m16+, 2m-16, and 5f in his household.

1800:  Stephen had definitely moved north and west by this time as he is found in Canaan Township, Columbia Co., NY.  Next door to Stephen is his son-in-law Theodore Abbott (who married Stephen’s daughter Rhoda).  Stephen died in New Lebannon, Columbia Co., NY in 1801 and the rest of the family moved on.

1810-1840:  In 1810 we find Stephen’s son, Lewis Preston for the first time as head of household in Hamilton, Madison Co., NY where the family would stay for the next 50 years.  Lewis’ brother Stephen also moved to Hamilton, NY and is found in the census there.  For a family that seems to move a little further west every couple of years, this settling down seems significant.  Lewis was born in 1786 in Connecticut.  He married in 1808 in Hamilton, NY to Susannah Snow.  They had 6 children, all born in Hamilton.  By 1840 Lewis’ son Loring Porter Preston also has his own household in Madison Co.  Loring was born in 1812 in Hamilton, NY and in 1832 married Lousia Maria Crane .  They had three children, two of whom lived two adulthood.

1850:  Lewis Preston age 64 is listed in Hamilton, Madison Co., NY this year with wife Susanna (64).  In this census he lists his birthplaces as Connecticut.  The children listed in the census with him are not all his own, but I do not know how they connect to the f8amily:  Rexville (25), Marcia (22), Josephine (2), and Jefferson (14).  Jefferson is most likely his grandson Thomas Jefferson, born 1836, who is also listed with his mother.   Lewis Preston is surrounded by nieces and nephews, the children of his sisters Rhoda and Althea as well as  his brother Stephen and his children.  There are also members of a Hopkins family from Litchfield Co., CT living in Hamilton and I have wondered if they were relatives of Lewis’s mother, Thankful.  Louisa Preston, wife of Loring Porter, is also listed as head of household in Hamilton with her two sons Jefferson (14) and Lewis (7).   Her husband is absent.  Sometime after the start of the 1848 Goldrush in California, he went West.  He can be found in the 1850 census in Placerville, El Dorado Co., California along with his younger brother Lewis Orlando.  Presumably, the brothers returned in 1856 by way of Panama.  Loring’s sisters Julia (who m. Damon RICHMOND) and Susan Maria (never married) both die before 1860 in Hamilton, NY.  I am unsure what happened to Lewis Orlando.

1860:  Lewis Preston dies in the spring of 1860 and is not listed in the census.  Sometime before his death the family joined Lewis’ sister Eunice and her family in Avon, Livingston Co., NY, moving north and west again.  Lewis’ widow, Susannah Snow Preston is listed there, age 74, in the household of her son Lyman and his wife Louisa.  Roger HACKLEY and his wife Eunice can be found in Avon 1850 – 1870.  Althea and Stephen remain in Madison Co.., NY with their children where they die between 1870 and 1880.  Lewis’ son Loring Porter Preston returns from California and is listed as the head of his household in Avon, Livingston Co., NY.    Thomas Jefferson Preston has left home by this time and is missing from the census.  He continues the family tradition of slowly moving west, possibly joining the Pony Express,  which started in April of 1860.

1870:  Susannah Snow Preston dies in 1862 in Avon, NY.  Their son Loring Porter and Louisa Maria Crane Preston remain in Avon, NY, now with several extranneous members to their household which do not include their children.   Loring’s brother Lyman also remains in Livingston Co., NY with his family until his death in 1904.

1880:  By 1880 Loring’s son Thomas Jefferson Preston has reappeared, now in Stanberry, Gentry Co., MO very near St. Joseph, the eastern terminus of the Pony Express trail.   His father Loring is included in his household, age 68, as well as his wife Mary Elizabeth TRUAX , age 35, and their two young boys Edward and Frank.  Loring’s wife Louisa did not come to Missouri.  The family bible places her death as 1901, but her whereabouts after 1870 remain unknown.  For his part, Loring Porter is listed as widowed in 1880.  I have a note that says she died in Indiana in 1875, so perhaps she died en route to meet her son’s new family in Iowa or Missouri.  Thomas Jefferson’s brother Lewis (another Lewis Orlando) appears to have died in Texas, leaving his wife and young son living with her parents in Livingston Co., NY.

1900 and beyond:  By 1900, and again in 1910, Thomas Jefferson and Mary Elizabeth Truax Preston are with their family in Hutton Valley, Howell Co., MO.   Thomas dies there in 1915.  Mary Elizabeth Truax Preston continues to be listed in Hutton Valley in 1920.  She dies in Cape Girardeau, MO in 1928.  Their children and grandchildren continued to live in Missouri.

Sources:

The Decsendants of Roger Preston

Family Data Collection – Ancestry.com

Genealogical Dictionary of the First New England Settlers

Essex County Probate Records

Preston Genegalogy:  Records of Ancestors and Descendants of John Preston

US Census Records