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American John S. PRESTON

born John Smith PRESTON

American wealthy planter, soldier, and attorney who became prominent in South Carolina politics

Source :  Tim DOWLING

Born: on April 20, 1809 in Abingdon, Virginia, USA
Died: on May 01, 1881 in Columbia, South Carolina, USA


Preston was born at "Salt Works," a sprawling estate owned by a prominent military family near Abingdon, Virginia. He was a son of General Francis Preston and Sarah Buchanan (Campbell) Preston. He graduated from Hampden-Sydney College in 1824, and then studied law at the University of Virginia and Harvard College. He passed his bar exam and established a practice in Abingdon. On April 28, 1830, he married Caroline Hampton, a daughter of South Carolina's wealthiest planter, Wade Hampton. They eventually had eight children.

Preston took up residence in Columbia, South Carolina, and established a legal practice there. He later invested heavily in a sugar plantation, The Houmas, near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which prospered and gained him substantial wealth.

An strong supporter of states' rights, Preston joined the Democratic Party and was elected to the South Carolina State Senate for several successive terms, serving from 1848 until 1856. He was a delegate from South Carolina to 1860 Democratic National Convention.

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