Monday, October 03, 2022

Colonel William Preston Memorial

Botetourt County in July, 2022 (this year), dedicated a memorial to Colonel William Preston (1729-1783) next to the Botetourt County Administration Building at the Botetourt Center at Greenfield. (Isn't that a lot of "Botetourts" in that sentence? Whew.)

Colonel Preston once owned the property that is now the county's premiere industrial park, as well as home to its governing center.

Preston was an American Revolutionary War hero and local surveyor. He laid out the Town of Fincastle, which was named and still is the county seat, and many other properties as this part of Virginia began to be taken over by Europeans who forced out the Native Americans and took their land. (And I don't care who thinks that's "woke" because that is what happened.)

He also served in the Virginia House of Burgesses and held many enslaved persons.

He was a founding member of Augusta Hall, which is now known as Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA.

One of his sons, James Preston, served as Virginia Governor from 1816-1819.

After he left Greenfield, William Preston moved to Smithfield, which is on the National Historic Register of Places. He is buried there. Smithfield is located near Virginia Tech University and has connections with that school.

The memorial in Botetourt took about 20 years to finally come to fruition; I remember writing about in the newspaper as far back as 2002. The memorial is shaped a bit like a sundial, with concrete points that have information about Preston's life on them.

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