Preston, Finney D.

Born: 1820-08-12 Wabash County, Illinois

Died: 1890-XX-XX Wabash County, Illinois

Finney D. Preston was a farmer, blacksmith, teacher, newspaper owner, local government official, attorney, and U.S. Army quartermaster. He worked in farming until 1839, then as a blacksmith in Mount Carmel, Illinois. He later taught school until he was elected clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1844, and relocated to Springfield, Illinois. In 1846, he married Phebe Mundy and was elected clerk for the Illinois Senate. In partnership with Austin Brooks, he also purchased the newspaper Wabash Democrat, although the paper soon failed. In 1848, his career advanced again when he was elected clerk for the Illinois Supreme Court. He developed enough affinity for the law to begin studying it professionally while in Mount Vernon, Illinois, was admitted to the bar in 1853, and began practicing in Olney, Illinois. His career in local government accelerated soon after. First, in 1854, he was elected to the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served in the Nineteenth General Assembly. Then, in 1857, he received appointment as a special agent for the U.S. Post Office Department, and, in 1858, he was also elected to the Illinois Senate, where he served in the Twenty-First General Assembly, including as its secretary in 1859. In 1859, he also received appointment as prosecuting attorney for Illinois' Twenty-Fifth district. By 1860, he had three children and was doing well enough that he had $5,000 in real estate and another $750 in personal estate. In September 1862, he mustered into Company HQ of the Ninety-Eighth Illinois Infantry as a quartermaster and remained in the position until after the Civil War. He died in Friendsville in Wabash County, Illinois.

History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: Brink & McDonough, 1881), 95; Counties of Cumberland, Jasper and Richland, Illinois: Historical and Biographical (Chicago: F. A. Battey, 1884), 766-67; Combined History of Edwards, Lawrence and Wabash Counties, Illinois (Philadelphia: J. L. McDonough, 1883), 137; Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1919-1920 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1919), 539, 541; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1857 (Washington, DC: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1857), *410; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 5 January 1859, 2:2; 23 April 1859, 3:1; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Olney, Richland County, IL, 36; Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Gravestone, Friendsville Cemetery, Wabash County, IL.