Part 1-No shortage of inconsistencies, 10 June 2011
A collection of inconsistent information written about about William Preston, the first sheriff of Williams County, Ohio.
Part 2-Driven to a more historical account (8 postings), 16 June 2011
Genealogy is a journey. The second article in this series presents particular information we used to break down our brick wall. The various postings mention how the records were discovered, questioned and evaluated to better identify Sheriff William Preston.
2.01 William and his Miss Butler (marriage)
2.02 He survives (census)
2.03 The Butler did it! (identifying our Butler family)
2.04 I do declare, and he did! (declaration)
2.05 Death plus 30 (probate)
2.06 Of brothers and soldiers (about John Preston)
2.07 You do the math (about William C. Preston and the King)
2.08 One good deed (and the long road home)
2.09 Through the peep hole (the larger family)
2.10 Rummaging about Rumney
Part 3-Putting it all together - Part 3A
PART 2-Driven to a more historical account
2.05 Death plus 30
Williams County, Ohio, didn't being keeping death records until 1867, and we have not otherwise located an obituary or tombstone that might have memorialized William Preston's demise. Sena (Preston) Stupka and Richard Paul Springer, Iowa cousins, both reported Sheriff William drowned in the Auglaize River.
The best evidence of William's death is a probate file, dated August 22, 1839 (Williams County, case #74).
I don't know why the file is dated 1839. Some 18 months earlier, the widow, Asenath, had asked the court to appoint William Semans as administrator. We believe this William Semans was otherwise the first Williams County treasurer; he was a member of the Williams County bar in 1837. [Winter, History of Northwest Ohio, pp. 407, 618] In the 1850 U.S. census, William Semans was enumerated at Defiance, by then Defiance County, as a lawyer, age 48; born Virginia.
About the estate, however, it's a court record dated 1868, thirty years later, that is so remarkable. Asenath was the only Preston mentioned in more timely entries about the estate, but the 1868 document includes a list of heirs. See the graphic below for the passage, "In the matter of the Estate of William Preston, deceased-- ... thereupon came William Preston, Henry C. Preston, Geo. W. Preston, James P. Preston, William Preston & Alice Preston, Heirs of said decedent ...."
Descendants of the Iowa family branches were interested to find more than four persons listed as heirs. All of us, however, were impressed to find six names, including two named William. One of the Williams seems referred to therein as "William Preston 1st."
Analysis of William's 1830 census and Asenath's 1840 census suggest a sixth child did live in the home.
I have not concluded the sixth child in the home at 1830 or 1840 is another son of William Preston, much less a child named William. I have also not identified the second William Preston listed among Sheriff William Preston's heirs present at court in 1868.