Waddell's Annals of Augusta County, Virginia, from 1726 to 1871


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as captain of a company of rangers, and many of the letters of Governor Dinwiddie in that stirring time were addressed to him. When the town of Staunton was incorporated in 1761, he was one of the board of trustees. In the same year he married Susanna Smith, of Hanover county. He represented Augusta in the House of Burgesses in 1766-1768-í9, and was probably a member from Botetourt in 1774. Upon the formation of Botetourt in 1767, he removed to that section, and was one of the first justices of that county. At the first court he qualified also as county surveyor, coroner, escheator and colonel of militia. His residence was at a place called Greenfield, near Amsterdam. Fincastle county was formed in 1772, and Colonel Preston became its first surveyor. In 1773, he acquired the Draperís Meadows estate, removed his family there in 1774, and changed the name to Smithfield. He intended to accompany Colonel William Christian in his march to the Ohio, in the fall of 1774, but was detained at home by his wifeís condition. The child born to him at that time was James Preston, who became Governor of Virginia. In 1780 {typo corrected}, Colonel Preston was engaged with Colonel Arthur Campbell and Colonel Christian in their respective expeditions against the Cherokees. The legislature of North Carolina included him with Colonel Campbell in a vote of thanks for their services in protecting the frontier. Throughout the war of the Revolution he was actively employed, holding important command in Southwest Virginia, and his official papers show that he was a man of more than ordinary culture. He died at Smithfield in 1783, leaving eleven children, of whom five were sons. One of his sons, General Francis Preston, married the only daughter of General William Campbell, and was the father of William C. Preston of South Carolina.

Colonel Preston was taken ill at a regimental muster, June 28, 1783, and died the following night. He was five feet, eleven inches in height, inclined to corpulency, of ruddy complexion, with light hair and hazel eyes. His wife survived till June 18, 1823, having lived a widow forty years.

Several accounts of this numerous and prominent family are already in print, and therefore the subject is not pursued further here.


_______________

JOHN McDOWELL,

who was killed by Indians near the forks of James River in 1742, had two sons, Samuel and James, and a daughter, Martha, wife of Colonel George Moffett.

Samuel McDowell was born in 1733.—In 1773 he was a member of the House of Burgesses from Augusta. There is reason to believe that he was captain of an independent company of rangers at the battle of Point Pleasant, in 1774. In 1775-6, he and Thomas Lewis represented Augusta in the State Convention. When Rockbridge was formed in 1777, he became a citizen of that county, his residence being there. In 1781, he commanded the battalion of Rockbridge militia at the battle of Guilford. In June of the same year, he was sworn in, at Staunton, as a member of the Governorís Council, Governor Nelson qualifying on the same day at the same place.


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