Preston Family

Preston Origins

The Preston name is English in origin but also common in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.   Roxanna Preston, grandmother of Arthur Joel Bolinger, said that our Preston ancestors were of Scottish descent.  A family story was that when the first of the family came to America, after they had decided where to settle, the wife, a daughter of a Highland clan chief, went back to Scotland to sell their property.  She subsequently was traced with the money from the sale back to the returning ship but was not on the ship when it docked in America and no one would admit to knowing anything about her.

Early Years in New York

According to AJ Bolinger, the Prestons were among the earlier settlers of the Mohawk Valley in New York and didn’t leave there until the opening of the Western Reserve in Ohio, when many from that area migrated west.  He said they stayed in the Western Reserve only a few years before moving to Noble County, Indiana to the village of Ligonier (see below).

AJ Bolinger’s grandmother, Roxanna Preston, told him about the huge mica rocks (in the Mohawk Valley) on which she and her brothers and sisters played and how they would peel off great slabs of mica.  She also said that there was spring near their home where there was a huge outpouring of oil, that the Indians would go there and dip a blanket in the oil, then wring it out to get the oil for their medicines.

The ancestors for whom we have names are as follows:

Gustavus (Augustus?) Adolphus Preston (dates ?-?)

Dwight Bolinger, in a handwritten family tree, identified him as Gustavus Adolphus Preston but thinks he was a brother rather than a direct ancestor, and that he should have been listed as John Preston.  In any event, his son, in turn, was John Preston.  (Source of information: letter from A.J. Bolinger, May 15, 1950.)

John Preston (1761-1806)

John Preston served as a Corporal in Col. Van Woert’s regiment of militia in Albany and Ogdensburg, New York, during the Revolutionary War.  (A.J. Bolinger also referred to him as being named, instead, as Charles Preston, a soldier in the New York volunteer infantry during the Revolution who was later captured, imprisoned, and died of the hardship of imprisonment in the British hulks maintained as prison ships.  But those dates don’t fit what he provided about John Preston.)   Born in 1761 and died in 1806.   In 1780 he married Marie Auveris (1764-1816).  Their son was Lucius Preston, 1796-1876.  (Source: Letter from A.J. Bolinger, May 15, 1950.)

Lucius Preston (1796-1876)

Lucius Preston was born Feb. 22, 1796 in St. Lawrence County, New York, (a family history posted on Ancestry.com has him born in Otsego, Montgomery, New York) and died Feb. 12, 1876 (some records say Jan. 21, 1876).  He lived in or near the town of York.  He married Elizabeth Wiley, sister of Roxana (Roxanna) Wiley, who was born in Ogdensburg, New York Jan. 29, 1799 (?) and died May 16, 1860.  Judging from the years of birth of their children listed below, Lucius and Elizabeth could have been married as early as 1819.  (The age ranges of their children in the 1840 Census would put their marriage somewhere between 1821 and 1825.)

A notation by Dwight Bolinger, referring to Elizabeth Wiley, reads, “Kept prisoner in cellar when British crossed river on ice.”  [I hope to find more information on this .]

As mentioned above, the Prestons were among the earlier settlers of the Mohawk Valley in New York and didn’t leave there until the opening of the Western Reserve in Ohio, when many from that area migrated west.  According to AJ Bolinger, they stayed in the Western Reserve only a few years before moving to Indiana.  They settled in York Township in Medina County, Ohio.  A biography of a son of Lucius and Elizabeth, Russell A. Preston, says it was in 1834 when the family moved to Medina County, Ohio. (Counties of LaGrange and Noble, Indiana: Historical and Biographic, Part II, History of Noble County.)   However, the list of children of Lucius and Elizabeth (see below) has their daughter, Aurilla, being born in Medina County as early as 1833.

The 1840 Decennial Census lists the family of Lucius Preston as living in York Township, Medina County, Ohio.  As of that census, the family appears to have consisted of 12 persons: four sons (one under 5 years, one between 10 and 14 years, and two between 15-19 years); five daughters (one under 5 years, one between 5 and 9 years, two between 10 and 14 years, and one between 15 and 19 years); and three adults: one male 40-49, one male 50-59, and one female 40-49.  Elizabeth Wiley, having been born in 1799, and of age 41 by the time of the 1840 Census, would fit the 40-49 category.  Lucius Preston, having been born in 1796, and of age 44 by the time of the census, would have fallen into the 40-49 category.  I am guessing that remaining male, of 50-59 years, might have been the father of either Lucius or Elizabeth.  According to the 1840 Census, seven of the people in the household were employed in agriculture.  This suggests a fair-sized farm.

According to the biography of Russell A. Peterson, they remained in Medina County, Ohio for eleven years until 1845 when they moved on to Swan Township, Noble County, Indiana.  (Information from AJ Bolinger has them settling in the village of Ligonier in Perry TownshipNoble County, Indiana.  But they must have moved on to Swan Township fairly soon judging from the proliferation of records putting them in Swan Township.)

The 1850 Census shows a household consisting of Lucius, age 54; Elizabeth, age 52; and two daughters, Orvilla, 16, and (Harriet) Adilia, 13, both of them born in Ohio and attending school.  The value of the real estate was $600, or $19,326 in 2019 dollars.  Note that three of the daughters and all four sons had left by then.

By the 1860 Census, the household consisted of Lucius Preston, 65, and Elizabeth, 63 (sic, see below).  There was also Jane Preston, probably one of their daughters, age 40 and married to Joseph Bishop.  Lucius and Elizabeth were now living in the Bishop household.  Joseph Bishop apparently was prospering.  He was a farmer whose real estate was valued at $2000 (or $60,538 in 2019) and personal estate valued at $300 ($9,080 in 2019).  Other members of the household were Alpha Bishop, 10; Lucy Downing, 17; and Asberry Lobdel, 13.

Elizabeth Wiley Preston died July 29, 1860, age 61, in Swan Township and is buried in Swan Cemetery.  Lucius Preston remarried on Dec. 4 (7), 1861 to Martha Shellner.  In the 1870 Census, they are show living in Swan, Noble County, Indiana.  He was 74 and she was 70.

He died on July 21, 1876, age 79.

Posted on Ancestry.com, thanks to Karen Preston, is a list of the children of Lucius Preston and Elizabeth Wiley:

  • Unidentified (23 Oct. 1827, DeKalb, St. Lawrence, N.Y.)
  • Unidentified male (1835, York, Medina, Ohio)
  • Alon (23 Oct. 1829, DeKalb, St. Lawrence, N.Y. — ?)  (Apparently a twin of Alvah.)
  • Alvah A. (23 Oct. 1829, DeKalb, St. Lawrence, N.Y. — about 1893, Michigan)  (Apparently a twin of Alon.)
  • Anson (1823 — 6 Feb. 1898, Swan, Noble, Indiana)
  • Aurilla Elizabeth (26 Aug. 1833, York, Medina, Ohio — 29 July 1860 or 1916?)
  • Francis Emory (11 Nov. 1838, York, Medina, Ohio — 1840, York, Medina, Ohio) (Died as a child.)
  • Francis M. (10 Oct. 1831, DeKalb, St. Lawrence, N.Y. — 1834, DeKalb, St. Lawrence, N.Y.)  Died as a child.
  • Harriett Adilia (30 April 1837, York, Medina, Ohio — 1911)
  • Jane Leonard (1819 — 1900, Villa Grove, Saguache, Colorado)
  • Mary Mariah (1825 — 20 March 1883, St. Joseph, Indiana
  • Orvilla (1834, York, Medina, Ohio — ?)
  • Roxanna (also known as Ann) (Oct. 23, 1830 (1827?), DeKalb, St. Lawrence, N.Y. — Apr. 19, 1902 [or 1901], Eureka, Greenwood, Kansas
  • Russell Ayers (1821 — 26 Feb. 1898, Swan, Noble, Indiana)

AJ Bolinger, in a letter July 10, 1963, remembered Roxanna having “at least six sisters (Aurilla, Elvira, Delia (Tibbits), and probably some others.”

  • Grave marker for Elizabeth Wiley Preston, 1799-July 29, 1960.  Source: Find-A-Grave.

Lucius Preston was described in his son, Russell’s, biography as “an intelligent, public-spirited man, and during his lifetime filled many positions of honor and trust.”  (From Counties of LaGrange and Noble, Indiana: Historical and Biographical, Part II.  History of Noble County.)

Lucius Preston. Bolinger family photos.
Lucius Preston.  Source: Bolinger Family photos.
Lucius Preston. Source: Bolinger family photos.
Elizabeth Wiley Preston.  Source: Bolinger family photos.
Lucius Preston grave stone, Swan Cemetery, Swan, Noble County, Indiana.  Died 21 Jan 1876 (aged 79).  Source: Find-A-Grave.

Roxanna (Roxana?) Preston

Roxanna Preston. She preferred to be called “Ann”. Judging from her apparent age, this photo may have been taken in the 1850s.  Note the pink hand-tinting on her cheeks, lips, and broach done by the photographer.  Bolinger family photos.

Roxanna (Roxana) Preston was born Oct. 23, 1830 (some sources say 1827) and died Apr. 19, 1902 (or 1901).  She appears to have been named after her mother’s sister, Roxanna (Roxana) Wiley.

Find A Grave’s page on Joel Hostetter (born June 2, 1827) says that Hostetter “married Miss Roxana Preston June 11, 1846 in Legenoir, who survives him. Five children, two sons and three daughters were born to them, of one son, Elmer Hostetter of Kansas City, Kansas, and two daughters, Mrs. Julia Anderson of Kansas City, Missouri and Mrs. Adelia Bolinger of Eureka, survives.”

Joel Hostetter. Bolinger family photos.

For the full text of an article from the Eureka Herald of May 14, 1897 about Joel Hostetter, see the following:

“At the home of his daughter, Mrs. Julia Anderson, in Kansas City, Missouri, Friday evening, May 7, 1897, from apoplexy, Mr. Joel Hostetter.

“Deceased had been ill from an attack of apoplexy for several months and a few weeks ago went to Kansas City in the hope of an improvement in his condition, but a second attack followed which resulted in his death at the time stated above. His wife, daughter, Mrs. Julia Anderson, were the only near relatives present at his death. The remains were brought to Eureka Saturday evening and funeral services, conducted by Rev. J.S. Gould, pastor of the Congregational Church, were held from the home of Wm. Bolinger, Sunday at 2 p.m. Interment was in the Greenwood Cemetery.

“Joel Hostetter was born in Hocking County, Ohio, June 4, 1825. When a boy he emigrated with his parents to Legenoir, Indiana.

“He married Miss Roxana Preston (see photo above) June 11, 1846 in Legenoir, who survives him. Five children, two sons and three daughters were born to them, of one son, Elmer Hostetter of Kansas City, Kansas, and two daughters, Mrs. Julia Anderson of Kansas City, Missouri and Mrs. Adelia Bolinger of Eureka, survives.

Julia Hostetter Anderson. Bolinger family photos.

“Mr. Hostetter came to Kansas in 1868, and engaged in the dry goods business at Ottawa. Two [years] later he removed to Thayer, Kansas, where he was engaged in farming and in the coal business. He came to Eureka in 1889. His business association while in Eureka were most agreeable and he was held in high regard by all, and his death is the source of profound regret among all who knew him.”

AJ Bolinger described Roxanna as follows: She was “always an addict to what information she could get.  I can remember her with a text book propped open on top of the old big chest of drawers, reading a paragraph, then going about her house work and mulling it over, and catching a moment to go back and read another paragraph and so on.  She had a most remarkable mind that soaked up information like a sponge and was then eagerly out in search of more.”  (Letter to Dwight Bolinger, Mar. 25, 1955.)

Their daughter, Ada Adelia Hostetter, married William Bolinger and their son was Arthur Joel Bolinger.

By the time of the 1900 Census, Roxanna was 71 and living with the family of her daughter, Ada Adelia (Delia) Bolinger, age 47, in Eureka, Kansas.  Other members of the household were Ada Adelia’s husband William Bolinger, 51, and their son Arthur, 19.

According to Find A Grave, Roxanna died April 19, 1901 (Dwight Bolinger said it was 1902).  She is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Eureka, Greenwood County, Kansas.

4. Ada Adelia Hostetter

Ada Adelia Hostetter as a young girl. If you look closely, you can see that she is wearing a polka dot dress.
Ada Adelia Hostetter

Preston Family Antique Gaming Table

An antique gaming table from the Preston branch of the family was one of the few things saved when the home of Arthur J. Bolinger was destroyed by fire.  There are scorch marks from the fire on the underside of the table. The top of the table rotates.  According to A.J. Bolinger, in a letter written Sep. 1, 1969, it is a cherry wood games table made in 1814 for Lucius Preston by a country carpenter in Wayne County, Ohio where Preston was then living.  (An appraisal done in 1988 described it as being “constructed from Fruitwood.  The apron is a sawtooth scallop design, and tapered legs, each spool turned.  The top, hinged in the middle, folds over to facilitate the seating of four people.”  It was estimated as having been made around 1855-1865.)
The top of the gaming table being rotated.
Antique gaming table in the closed position when it was at the home of Dwight and Louise Bolinger in Palo Alto, California.

For more on William Bolinger, see the Kansas Branch of the Bolinger family.