Biography of Charles F. Preston

Charles F. Preston, a notable lawyer and President of the Village Board of Trustees of Paw Paw, has significantly contributed to the development of his community. Born in 1860 in Marion Township to James H. Preston, editor of the Amboy News, and Nancy A. Maydole, Charles pursued a solid education that included attending the State Normal School and studying law at Wesleyan Law School. After teaching for two years, he was admitted to the bar in 1882 and quickly established a successful law practice. He married Ida A. Henderschott in 1886, and they have two children. Appointed Postmaster by President Cleveland, Preston also excels in civic duties and is a central figure in local politics, advocating for the growth and betterment of Paw Paw and its county.

Charles F. Preston, President of the Village Board of Trustees of Paw Paw, is a young man of talent and energy who has already won a fine reputation as a lawyer and is prominent in the public life of the community. He is a representative of the native-born citizens of this county, who, as professional or businessmen, and in the various walks of life, have come to the front in recent years and given a new impetus to its growth, adding to its wealth and elevating its status.

He was born in Marion Township, January 20, 1860, and is a son of James H. Preston, the well-known editor of the Amboy News. His father was born in New York, grew to manhood in his native State, and was there married to Miss Nancy A. Maydole, who was also born in the State of New York. He was well-educated and began teaching when quite young. In 1855, he left his early home and coming to Illinois, located at Amboy in the early years of its settlement. He was for a time manager of a corporation store, but having a taste for agricultural pursuits, he soon rented a farm in Marion Township, and engaged in farming there for four or five years. Removing to Sublette Township, he carried on the same occupation there until 1865, and then bought an improved farm two and one-half miles from Amboy. In 1879, he took up his residence in Amboy, and has ever since made that city his home. In 1884, he bought the Amboy News, and still owns and edits the paper, which under his able management has become one of the leading papers of the county. He and his wife are pleasantly situated in a cozy home. Sorrow has come to them in their wedded life in the death of two of their children, Albert W. and Frances A. Two children remain to bless their declining years— their daughter Addie M., wife of William F. Wolcott, of China Township, and our subject.

Charles F. Preston was given every advantage to secure a liberal education, of which he laid the foundation in the district schools of this, his native county. He attended the State Normal School at Normal, Ill., pursuing a thorough course of study in that one of the most excellent and practical institutions of learning in this State, of which he was a student for two years. After leaving the Normal, he did as so many others have done from time immemorial who are now famous as lawyers, doctors, statesmen, etc., began teaching, making that a steppingstone to the profession of law. He taught in Marion Township two years, and then commenced his legal studies in the Wesleyan Law School at Bloomington, Ill., where he remained three months. At the end of the term, he entered the office of Charles H. Wooster, of Amboy, and under his instruction made rapid progress, and was admitted to the bar in May 1882. In June 1883, he opened an office at Paw Paw, and has gradually built up a lucrative practice, that is by no means confined to the village. He has won the confidence of his clients by his careful attention to affairs entrusted to his hands, by his skill in conducting their lawsuits, and because they know him to be a man of scrupulous honor.

A good wife and true have much to do with a young man’s success in life, and our subject has been fortunate enough to secure such an one in his marriage October 6, 1886, to Miss Ida A. Henderschott, a native of Lee County, and a daughter of Jacob and Jane M. Henderschott. Two children complete their charming home circle, Frances H. and Hazel J.

Mr. Preston’s energies and well-known capacity for affairs have been called into requisition by his fellow-citizens to help administer the local government, and he is recognized as one of our best-equipped civic officials. He was appointed Postmaster of Paw Paw by President Cleveland and served until after the change of administration. As before mentioned, he is President of the Village Board of Trustees, and in that position, and as a citizen of true public spirit, he loses no opportunity to do all that he can to push forward all schemes for the benefit of Paw Paw or the county at large. He is actively interested in politics and is a leading spirit among the young Democrats of this part of the State.


Biographical Publishing Company, Portrait and biographical record of Lee County, Illinois, containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens, together with biographies of all the governors of the state, and of the presidents of the United States, Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1892.

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