Biography of George W. Preston

George W., son of Abner Preston, was born in Hancock, New Hampshire, December 13, 1804. His father was in his younger days an industrious and successful man, but after his life in the army he lost his property. The son was bound out to a farmer, after the custom of the times, to serve until he cane of age, when he was to receive a hundred dollars and a suit of clothes. He had scarcely any schooling, insufficient clothing, and no shoes. He used to tell of going to milk the cows in the pasture when the ground was white with frost, and of standing on the ground where the cows had lain, in order to warm his feet. He was obliged to eat at a second table with the hired man, and his supper was usually mush and milk, while the family had always a variety of good food, especially when there was company. One night he was exasperated by this meanness and refused to eat anything. After breakfast the next morning his master asked why he had refused to eat his supper, and the boy replied, because he could not have as good as the rest. His master boxed his ears and sent him to dig potatoes. When he cane of age he took his money and clothes and went to the home of his brother at Webster. In Hopewell he found employment with a man named Higbee, at Martins Mill, near Chapinsville. New York, where there was a woolen mill and also a saw mill. In summer he had to run the saw mill half the time, two shifts being used and the mill being operated night and day. William Bryant was at that time employed in the woolen mill, and later lived at Shortsville, where he worked at the same trade. In the winter seasons Mr. Preston was employed with others, by Mr. Higbee, in cutting timber for the mill. It was the custom to take their ox teams and cooking outfit to the forest, then known as Italy Hills, build a cabin or bungalow, log boats, oxbows and yokes, and to work in the woods all winter, cutting the logs and dragging them to the steep bank of Canandaigua Lake, whence they rolled them into the water. In spring the logs were made into rafts and floated to the mill at Chapinsville.

Mr. Preston was married, in 1832, at Chapinsville, to Eliza Bristol, born April 14, 1811, and settled on a farm which he had bought in Webster. About 1836 he sold this place and bought another in the town of Ontario, on which he spent the remainder of his life. He died there November 14, 1868. His wife died October 17, 1887. While living in Webster he was “converted to Christianity,” and to the day of his death remained a faithful and honored member of the Presbyterian church. From his own hard experience in youth he learned to he a kind father, and all his children called him blessed. Children, born at Webster: 1. Delia C., born April 19, 1834. 2. Jane E., born May 11, 1836, died February 2, 1911. At Ontario : 3. George H., mentioned elsewhere. 4. Julia A., October 14, 1840, died October, 1891.

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