Letter Signed By General George Washington Preserved-Orders Signed By Dunmore Still There
From the 1938 centennial edition of The Times-Register
In the early history of this section the name of Col. William Preston plays a prominent part for there was scarcely an activity in which he was not one of the central figures. His first home in this section was at Greenfield about eighteen miles north of Salem and one mile off the Fincastle road.
Here, Alfred Preston, a direct descendant of the famous colonel lives; the Preston’s have continued to make this place their home for seven generations. Even a part of the old home of Colonel Preston is still used and while some alterations have been made, and a large addition to one side of the home was built some years ago, part of the old colonial structure is still used.
Here Alfred Preston lives among relics, countless old records and mementoes of bygone days. On the walls of this historic old place are citations received by the Preston family from governors and other officials. A letter written by George Washington adorns one wall and while most of this letter cannot be read and the name of the person to whom it is addressed cannot be deciphered, part of it is legible. It refers to a land transaction which involved George Washington and Andrew Lewis.
On record of historic interest on the walls is an order signed by Governor Dunmore directing the surveyor of Fincastle county to lay out 3,000 acres of land for Col. Preston as compensation for his useful service in the early wars against the Indians. The order was dated December 17, 1773, and is merely signed “Dunmore.” William Preston had moved his residence from Greenfield to Blacksburg by that time and the 3,000 acre grant in Fincastle county was probably some place in the vicinity of Blacksburg. Fincastle county was only in existence for four years.
John Preston, son of Colonel Preston made his home at Greenfield and his descendants have lived on the place continuously.
To be seen on the walls of this home is an order making William Preston a Colonel in a Virginia regiment. This order was signed merely “Botetourt” but in large letters at the top of the citation was printed “Norbonne Baron de Botetourt”. This was signed in 1769 by the man who was governor of the colony at that time.
Alfred Preston has in his possession one of the original land grants made on sheepskin to his illustrious ancestor, Colonel William Preston.
Many of the family records at this place of historic importance have been placed in a New York museum while others have been sent to the state of Wisconsin.
This old home is one of the most historical sites in this vicinity and is one of the few remaining landmarks that are a link between the past and the present. Besides having a home here, Colonel Preston erected a fort there in the early days and many white settlers took refuge there during the time the Indians were raiding this section. Alfred Preston has gathered almost a hundred arrow heads from the field about the home, which are evidence that Indians were there in numbers at one time.
The ancestral home of the Preston’s is located in Botetourt county about ten miles above the Roanoke county line.
-Prepared by Lisa King