Col. William C. Preston

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Col William C. Preston

Birthdate: (53)
Birthplace: Newtown-Limavady, County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland
Death: June 28, 1783 (49-57)
Smithfield Plantation, Blacksburg, (Present Montgomery County), Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of John Preston and Elizabeth Preston
Husband of Susanna Preston
Father of Elizabeth Madison; Gen. John Preston; Brig.-Gen. Francis Smith Preston, Esq.; Sarah Buchanan McDowell; Susanna Hart and 7 others
Brother of Letitia Breckinridge; Margaret Brown; Ann Smith; Mary Stone Howard; James Preston and 1 other
Half brother of Margaret Shirley

Managed by: Lani Dickson McCoy
Last Updated:

About Col. William C. Preston

Col William Preston BIRTH 25 Dec 1729 County Donegal, Ireland DEATH 28 Jun 1783 (aged 53) Botetourt County, Virginia, USA BURIAL Preston Cemetery at Smithfield Plantation Blacksburg, Montgomery County, Virginia

A Patriot of the American Revolution for VIRGINIA with the rank of COLONEL. DAR Ancestor # A092992

married by Rev. Patrick Henry

Col. William Preston (December 25, 1729 – June 28, 1783) played a crucial role in surveying and developing the colonies going westward, exerted great influence in the colonial affairs of his time, ran a large plantation, and founded a dynasty whose progeny would supply leaders for the South for nearly a century. He served in the Virginia House of Burgesses, and was a Colonel in the militia during the American Revolutionary War. He was one of the thirteen signers of the Fincastle Resolutions, a predecessor to the United States Declaration of Independence.


Only son. Came to US w/parents 1738. Built his home "Smithfield" in what is now Blacksburg, Virginia (original name of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Was first named Olin and Preston Institute - then Virginia A&M - finally Virginia Tech.

William1 Preston (John2, Archibald3), son of John Preston and Elizabeth Patton, was born in Newtown-Limavady, Donegal, Ireland December 25, 1729. William died June 28, 1783 in Botetourt Co., VA, at 53 years of age.

He married 17 Jan. 1761, Susanna Smith, daughter of Francis and Elizabeth (Waddy) Smith who was born 23 Jan. 1740, Hanover Co., Va. and died 19 June 1823, "Smithfield," Montgomery Co., Va. William Preston received a rudimentary education during the early years of his mother's widowhood but was later placed by his uncle, Col. James Patton, with the Rev. John Craig, pastor of Tinkling Spring Church. Because of his advanced age, a classical education was not attempted, but he was instructed in history, mathematics, and penmanship. When Col. Patton was sent in 1752 to Log Town, sixteen miles below Pittsburgh, to make a treaty with the northwestern Indians, William went along as his uncle's private secretary. In 1750 he became clerk of the Vestry of Augusta Parish, and he continued to hold that office until 22 Nov. 1766.

William Preston's death occurred while attending a muster of the Montgomery County militia in company with Gen. Evan Shelby and his son John Preston. The day was warm and after several hours on the reviewing field, near Michael Price's house about three miles from "Smithfield," he complained to his son of a severe pain in his head and desired to lie down on a bed at Price's. Shortly afterward he attempted to mount his horse to return home but fell back into his son's arms and was again laid on a bed at Price's house. He lost the power of speech but made motions to be bled. His wife was sent for and was recognized by him but shortly after this his breathing became labored and about midnight he died.

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Col. William C. Preston's Timeline

December 25, 1729
Newtown-Limavady, County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland
May 31, 1762
Age 32
Augusta County, Province of Virginia
May 12, 1764
Age 34
Botetourt County, Province of Virginia
August 2, 1765
Age 35
Greensfield, Botetourt County, Province of Virginia
May 3, 1767
Age 37
Greenfield, Botetourt County, Province of Virginia
February 12, 1769
Age 39
Botetourt County, Province of Virginia
February 12, 1769
Age 39
Botetourt County, Province of Virginia
September 5, 1770
Age 40
Botetourt County, Province of Virginia
October 7, 1772
Age 42
Fincastle County, Province of Virginia