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Henry C. Preston
Born December 7, 1831


Henry C. Preston, the owner of a valuable and well improved farm of one hundred and fifty-five acres in Madison township, has now made his home within the borders of this county for forty-five years. His birth occurred in Defiance county, Ohio, on the 7th of December, 1831, his parents being William C. and Acenath (Butler) Preston, the former a native of New Hampshire and the latter of Michigan. Locating at Fort Defiance, the father there conducted a trading post for ten or twelve years, on the expiration of which period he removed to Williams county, Ohio, where he entered a quarter section of land and turned his attention to general agricultural pursuits. This farm afterward became the site of the town of Edgerton. The death of William C. Preston there occurred in 1837, when he had attained the age of fifty-two years. His political allegiance was given to the Whig party and he served for two terms as sheriff of Defiance county. He was a worthy exemplar of the Masonic fraternity and the weight of his influence was ever given on the side of right, truth, justice and progress. His widow, long surviving him, removed westward in 1854 and throughout the remaining years of her life made her home among her children in Iowa. She lived to attain the ripe old age of eighty-five years, passing away in April, 1888. At the time of Hull's surrender she was a resident of Detroit.
Henry C. Preston was reared amid rural surroundings, in a sparsely settled and still undeveloped district. The schoolhouse in which he obtained his education was a primitive log structure with slab benches and puncheon floor. He lost his father when but five years of age and was thus early thrown upon his own re sources, working for neighboring farmers when a little lad of ten years. He was employed as a farm hand and also in other capacities until 1856, when he was married and the following year started out as an agriculturist on his own account. The young couple began their domestic life in an old log cabin, their furniture consisting of a Jewsharp stove, a half dozen handmade chairs with split bottoms, a bed and some minor effects. The farm on which he located, consisting of fifty acres in Williams county, Ohio, had been purchased prior to his marriage. There he carried on the work of the fields energetically and successfully for eight years and in the spring of 1864 made his way to Iowa, locating in Madison township, Jones county, where he has since continued to reside. The farm which he now owns and occupies came into his possession in 1880 and has been his place of abode from that time to the present. It is a very productive and valuable property and indicates in its neat and thrifty appearance the practical and progressive spirit of the owner, who has long been numbered among the substantial and respected citizens of the community.
Mr. Preston has been twice married. In 1856 he wedded Miss Helen Parker, of Bridgewater, Ohio, who was called to her final rest in the year 1870. Unto them were born four children, three of whom still survive, namely: Estella, the wife of William Stingley, of Center junction, Jones county; William H., who operates the home farm; and Helen A., the wife of Eugene Woodburn, of Jersey City, New Jersey.
In April, 1884, Mr. Preston was again married, his second union being with Mrs. Olive Collier, the widow of Joel Collier. Her parents, Horace and Humility (Evans) Bartow, came to Iowa from the state of New York in 1854 and took up their abode on Bear creek in Madison township, this county, on a land grant which had been given the father in recognition of his services as a soldier in the war of 1812. Subsequently he entered more land until his farm in Madison, township comprised two hundred and forty acres, while he also owned a quarter section in Tama county, Iowa. He passed away in 1880, at the age of eighty-five years, and two years later his wife was also called to the home beyond, being at that time eighty-two years of age. The family has been a patriotic one, Mrs. Preston's father not only served in the war of 1812, but her maternal grandfather, Benjamin Evans, fought for American independence in the Revolutionary war, and her brother served two years and eight months in the Civil war, being a member of Company G, First Iowa Cavalry, and was discharged at Davenport. By her first marriage Mrs. Preston became the mother of four children, three of whom are yet living, as follows: Henry, a resident of Center Junction, Tones county; Ida, the wife of George Andrews, of Madison township, this county; and Ella, the wife of William H. Preston, who operates his father's farm.
Politically Mr. Preston is a stalwart advocate of the democracy, while his religious faith is indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal church, with which his wife is also identified. He has now passed the seventy-seventh milestone on life's journey and receives the veneration and respect which should ever be accorded. one who has traveled thus far on this earthly pilgrimage and whose career has been at all times upright and honorable.

Source: History of Jones County, Iowa, Past and Present, R. M. Corbitt, S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., Chicago, 1910, p. 92.

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