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 (
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 at Ohio)
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
2.08 One good deed
Genealogy is a journey. Sometimes "answers" are just another milestone in the longer journey.
Without explaining why the court had taken interest, "2.05 Death plus 30" describes a document naming six of William Preston's apparent heirs who gathered for a Williams County (Ohio) court appearance some 30 years after the sheriff's death. Are you curious?
Details. Details. Details.
On 4 July 1834, William Preston bought 77.12 acres at the village Edgerton (part of St. Joseph twp, Williams County). [Ohio to Wm Preston, 4 July 1834] In 1845, long after his death, that property was sold to William Semans by Asa R. and Asenath Thomas, otherwise Aseanath (Butler) (Preston) Thomas. The same year, Semans re-sold the land. The property was traded over and over again. In 1868, three men with current interest in the property transactions--John H. Sergeant, Samuel Bement and Calvin Crane--claimed Semans had died without fully executing a deed on the land sale. Since Semans had administrated the original property owner's estate, these claimants sought the court to appoint a new estate administrator for the purpose of re-issuing a deed.
Who wouldn't want to know more about that tortured logic?
Gene Preston, our cousin in Michigan, traveled to Williams and Defiance counties, Ohio, for the purpose of documenting Sheriff William's real estate transactions. As part of that effort, Gene found an 1829 recorded transaction that forever changed the direction of our family research.
The "ah-ha" record Gene found was dated 1829--William Preston and Asenath Preston of Defiance, Ohio, had sold a one-half interest in land located "Rumney" to Collins Preston of Rumney, Grafton County, New Hampshire. Could life be better? Actually yes, because the very same transaction was found recorded in the deed books of Grafton County, New Hampshire.
So they drove to Rumney. Armed with Aunt Sena's 1940s era genealogy journal, Gene, his wife, and Iowa cousin Thomas R. Preston drove to Rumney. They hoped to answer some relationship questions about Sheriff William.
(a) Could we find Charles Preston and Cynthia Lord--the parents of the William Preston of Defiance, Ohio, age 49 in 1829 [Butler declaration] who had married Asenath Butler at Ohio in 1820 [marriage record]?
(b) Could we find earlier notice of soldier-brothers William and John Preston, those known of Piqua (1814) and Defiance (1815/6), Ohio?
(c) Could we find another close family relative, Collins Preston?
While at Rumney, Gene and Tom found vital records about a family of 12 children born there to parents William Preston and Elizabeth--including sons William Preston b. 1780, Collins Preston b. 1782 and John Preston b. 1789. But ...
... Gene and Tom found no reference to Sena's Charles Preston or to Cynthia Lord. Sigh. The only reference they found to "the Crossroads" was a sign post. Tom Preston snapped a photograph.
To make matters worse, depending on your perspective, the father of the 12 recorded births at Rumney, above William Preston, was not an immigrant, but born at Chester, New Hampshire. Could William Preston, the father, still be the man Sena called Charles Preston? Could the mother "Elizabeth" have been aka Elizabeth Cynthia Lord?
During the National Genealogical Society 2011 conference, Tom Jones quoted Helen Leary, saying "Conflicting evidence is incompatible with a conclusion."
The final two articles to this Part 2 look at the research we did to learn about William Preston and Elizabeth's family, hoping to learn if sons William and John Preston were or were not, men by those names at northwest Ohio.