Francis Preston

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Francis Preston (August 2, 1765 – May 26, 1836) was an American lawyer and politician.[1] Born at Greenfield plantation, in Botetourt County, Virginia, he studied law with George Wythe at the College of William and Mary, where he graduated in 1783.[2] Settling in Abingdon, he was admitted to the bar, and practiced law in Montgomery and Washington Counties.

Preston was a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1788 to 1789 and, in 1793, he married Sarah Buchanan Campbell. He served Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1793 to 1797. Retiring from Congress, he settled at the "Saltworks," where he built Preston House, and resumed the practice of law, but in 1810 he returned to Abingdon.[3] Preston returned to the House of Delegates from 1812 to 1814, and was commissioned a colonel of volunteers in the War of 1812, rising to a brigadier-general of the Virginia militia in 1820. He served in the state Senate from 1816 to 1820.

Preston died at the age of 70, at the home of his son in Columbia, South Carolina. He is buried near Seven Mile Ford, Virginia.


  1. Walter Lynwood Fleming, ed., The South in the Building of the Nation, vol. 11, Biography (Richmond, VA: Southern Historical Publication Society, 1909), 312.
  2. Office of History and Preservation, "PRESTON, Francis, (1765 - 1835)," Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-Present, accessed October 26, 2016.
  3. Lewis Preston Summers, History of Southwest Virginia, 1746-1786, Washington County, 1777-1870 (Richmond, VA: J.L. Hill, 1903), 755-56.