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 John Preston

John Preston

Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 4 Mar 1728 (aged 41)
South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA
Memorial ID 17802747 · View Source
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History of the burial location: According to Lavisa Ferrin Hollinger (genealogist 1907-1916 era), in early 1728 John Preston offered to this new settlement (South Hadley, Massachusetts) part of the grant of land he had received for his services in the French and Indian Wars in which he had been a soldier. This lot was to be the burial ground. It was on what is now College Street, just across from Mt. Holyoke College. Before his offer was accepted, he was called away. While he was away, a child died and men came for him to locate the ground that the child might be buried. He made the trip to the south side of the mountain and returned by a canoe on the Connecticut River. The day was stormy and he was ill from the exposure and died at his father's house on March 4, 1728. On the same day, Hadley in a town meeting voted to accept the offer of the ground for a burial place. Stalwart men carried the body of John Preston eight miles that it might be buried in the ground he had given for a burial place.

Note: the tombstone says 1727 and not 1728 because England and the Colonies were still using double years because the Gregorian Calendar was not yet in use (not until 1752). This is a complex issue; look under "Gregorian Calendar" in Wikipedia and other sources, but prepare yourself for a mind boggling description.)

During the 19th century, after South Hadley was noted as the seat of Mt. Holyoke College, it desired the site of this old burial ground for the location of the Public Library. It was decided to use this land for that purpose. Many objected, including Mr. Henry Preston of Boston, who learned South Hadley had never been given a legal title to the land. The matter was compromised when the town agreed to leave the grave of John Preston undisturbed. So his tombstone still stands, and is now behind the library building on the land he gave to the village at its very beginning.

John Preston was born July 31, 1686 in Hadley, Massachusetts, the child of John Preston and Sarah (Gardner) Preston. He married Mary Smith on December 2, 1714; she was the daughter of Luke Smith and Mary Crow, and was born in 1693. He died March 4, 1728 in South Hadley, Massachusetts. Refer to my family tree, "The Downing, Bickelhaupt, And Preston Families of Carroll County, Illinois" for more information about him and his family.

Information added August 5, 2011: Previously someone asked me to link John Preston to #39574593, another John Preston, who someone said was the father of the John Preston buried out behind the Gaylord Library. I apparently linked this man without researching it, and subsequently have determined this information was not correct. Although this man's name was also John Preston he was born in 1654 and died in 1728. I am a descendant of the John Preston who is buried out behind the Gaylord Library. His father is the John Preston who was born July 14, 1651 (not 1654) and died after his son died on March 4, 1728. I do not have the exact date. The parents of the John Preston who was born on 1651 are Daniel and Mary (Unknown Maiden Name) Preston. #39574593's parents are William and Anne Preston.

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  • Created by: Alice Horner
  • Added: 4 Feb 2007
  • Find A Grave Memorial 17802747
  • Alice Horner
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Preston (31 Jul 1686–4 Mar 1728), Find A Grave Memorial no. 17802747, citing John Preston Gravesite, South Hadley, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Alice Horner (contributor 46885959) .