ISAAC N. PRESTON, a well known farmer and county commissioner of Montague county, Texas, was born on a farm in Virginia, April 23, 1843, son of Elisha H. and Arabella J. (Whitton) Preston, both natives of the “Old Dominion.” Stephen Preston, the grandfather of Isaac N., was a planter and slave owner in Virginia, prominent and highly respected. He died there in 1859. In his family were nine children, as follows: Elisha H., Stephen and Mrs. Mildred Nellum. The sixth son, Moses, was a prosperous and well-to-do tobacconist of Richmond, Virginia. He had two sons, William I. and Andrew, who were in the invasion of Nicaragua in Peru, and never returned until 1866. William I. came home and settled in Missouri, where, when the war of the Rebellion broke out, he raised a Confederate regiment, of which he was made colonel, and went to the front under General Price; did valiant service, was wounded and had to surrender. After the war he was president of a female institute of learning in Missouri.
Elisha H. Preston was born in Virginia, January 22, 1810, and died in that state February 22, 1848. He married, November 20, 1830, Miss Arabella J. Whitton, who died May 23, 1849. Both were church members. For six years he filled the office of high sheriff. He owned a plantation and slaves and carried on agricultural pursuits. After his death his land was sold and the estate was divided up among his children; but the war came on, they lost their father’s savings and had to make their own way in the world. His children in order of birth are as follows: Mildred, wife of J. Jarrett; Mrs. Cleopatra Lazenby; Sarah, wife of J. Bagget; Julia, wife of C. Lunsford; L. P. Preston, who died in the war of the Rebellion; Isaac N., whose name introduces this sketch; George A.; and Mariah F., wife of D. Hix, of Alabama.
After the death of his parents, Isaac N. Preston made his home with an uncle and would have received a liberal education had his plans not bee interrupted by the inauguration of the Civil war. In 1861, at the age of eighteen years, he enlisted as a member of a company called Roanoke Grays, made up of college students, with which he served until after the first battle of Manassas, when, on account of disability, he was discharged. Soon afterward, however, he volunteered again, this time as one of General Lee’s scouts. He remained with Lee until the day before the surrender. Realizing what was coming, he took “French leave” and has never yet surrendered. During this army life he had many narrow escapes, from bullets and capture, and when he returned home at the close of the war it was to find his property all gone. He had plenty of pluck and courage, however, and was not afraid to work. Going to Lynchburg, he secured employment in a commission house and remained there a year. The next two years he was a clerk in Lewisville, Tennessee. During his stay at the latter place he was “captured” for the first time. He married and settled on a farm, and continued to reside in Tennessee, carrying on agricultural pursuits, until 1870, when he came to Texas. His first stop in this state was in Grayson county. He cultivated rented land there a few years, then moved to Bowie, near which place he farmed two years, returning at the end of that time to Grayson county and spending another two years there. His next move was to the vicinity of Illinois Bend. Here he at first cultivated rented land. Afterward he bought the one hundred and fifty acres which he has improved and still owns, sixty-five acres of his farm being under cultivation, and most of it in the Red river valley.
Mr. Preston, politically, is a Democrat. While in Grayson county he served as deputy sheriff and since coming to Montague county has been made one of the county’s financiers. He was elected to fill an unexpired term as county commissioner, was re-elected to succeed himself and is now acceptably serving the county in the capacity of commissioner.
Mr. Preston married Miss Clementine Snapp, a native of Tennessee, born in 1851, daughter of Samuel and Sarah A. (Cox) Snapp, both natives of Tennessee. Mr. Snapp was a Union man, but took no part in the Civil war. After the war he engaged in general merchandising in Lewisville, and remained there until 1870, that year coming to Texas. He bought a farm in Grayson county, settled on it, and there spent the rest of his life and died. He was a Presbyterian, a Royal Arch Mason, and a prominent and much respected man in the localities in which he lived. His widow survives him, at this writing eighty-six years of age. Their children are: Mrs. Mollie Singleton, William L., Mrs. Clementine Preston, John, James, Thomas, Mrs. Minnie McCarthy and Mrs. Fannie Pierce.
Mr. and Mrs. Preston have eight children: George, Mrs. Myrta Vance, Mrs. Oriana Wade, Sally, Katie, Ernest, David H., and Gladys.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Preston are identified with the Methodist church.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 641-642.