Preston County, West Virginia (formerly Virginia) was carved out of the southeastern portion of Monongalia County (itself an outgrowth of Augusta) in 1818. When S. T. Wiley, assisted by A. W. Frederick, compiled this history of Preston County in 1882,Â many of the original county records had already been destroyed. Wiley’s objective, therefore, was to preserve as accurate a picture of the county as possible from other sources, including the memories of his contemporaries. Wiley’s historical narrative runs the gamut of Preston County origins, with chapters or sections devoted to the prehistoric peoples and indigenous populations of the county, the first permanent settlements, views of frontier life,Â the introduction of turnpikes, railroads, schools, and, of course, Preston County’s break with Virginia during the Civil War. Genealogists, it should be emphasized, will want to scrutinize the chapter on Military History for its lists of Preston County soldiers from the Revolution through the Civil War. The chapters on the judiciary, religious denominations, and schools not only recount the development of these various institutions but also featureÂ biographical/genealogical sketches of influential persons in these arenas. Similarly, the authors’ discussion ofÂ the various Preston County districts of Grant, Pleasant, Portland, Union, Valley, Kingwood, Lyon and Reno are not only county histories in microcosm but also include lists of officials and sketches of the District’s most honored personalities. In the chapter devoted to Preston County’s congressmen and state senators, the compilers have prepared especially detailed sketches of William G. Brown, James C. McGrew, Jonathan Huddleson, John J. Brown, William B. Crane, Charles M. Bishop, John P. Jones, and William M. O. Dawson. While the volume is a bit encumbered by the absence of a name index, its thorough coverage of the history of this pivotal and beautiful county will reward any researcher with the patience to read its contents.
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