Col. William Preston Memorial dedicated in Botetourt County

Published: Jun. 11, 2022 at 7:55 PM EDT
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BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) - William Preston is well known to many across southwest Virginia. In the area where he once lived, around 100 people went out Saturday to the dedication ceremony of his memorial.

“He would have been humbled. Embarrassed, but thankful of you all here today,” said Tommy Moore, Botetourt County Clerk of Court.

John Bradshaw and Dr. Rupert Cutler are on the Preston Memorial’s Organizing Committee and have been working toward this milestone for more than a decade.

“We’ve been pleased to work for 14 years now to provide this memorial,” said Cutler.

Each thanked the many organizations that helped make the day possible, including Botetourt County leaders, the Virginia Society Sons of the American Revolution and Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution, to name a few.

“I have to commend Botetourt County and the administration, of the support they have given us on this,” said Bradshaw.

“This is an opportunity to do something that both the SAR and the DAR talk about, bringing the Sons of the American Revolution and the Daughters of the American Revolution together in a patriotic project to honor one of our most important founding fathers,” said Cutler.

Some of Preston’s descendants were also in attendance. They were excited his history can continue to be shared.

“I think that this monument is an educational monument. You can really come here, and really learn quite a bit about the location, and the person and I think that’s really what counts,” said Edward C. Preston.

It’s a history that included the enslavement of African Americans on the family’s Greenfield Farm, something Botetourt County Supervisor for the Amsterdam District, Steve Clinton, and Virginia Tech’s Dr. Daniel Thorp dove deeper into.

“Everything about this country that’s great today came at a cost and it’s important that we understand that. That we honestly acknowledge the contributions of all of the people and the cost to all of the people, and to recognize all of the people who helped build this nation, even those who did so unwillingly. This does not diminish William Preston and his contemporaries, it simply puts them in context and completes the story,” said Thorp.

It’s a history that will continue to live for generations.

For more information on Col. Preston, you can learn a little more about him from the press release below:

“Colonel Preston served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and was a colonel in the militia during the American Revolutionary War. He was also one of fifteen that signed the Fincastle Resolutions. A licensed surveyor, he with his wife Susanna, established a farm at Greenfield in 1762 where they employed enslaved Africans to raise hemp. He held every major office in Botetourt County when it was created in 1770.”

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