Lee County Biography


One of the foremost and best known lawyers in Lee county is Charles F. Preston, who has practiced his profession in Paw Paw for thirty years, or since 1883. During that time he has been connected with much important litigation and has successfully established a reputation for high professional efficiency. He is equally at ease before the court or jury and sets forth his point in such a clear, concise and logical manner as to make it understandable not only for men of his profession but for practically every lay mind. He has, therefore, succeeded in winning a good many cases by presenting his views in a manner so clear that every member of the jury understood his point. Moreover, Mr. Preston enjoys not only high prestige as a lawyer but is well known in local public life, in which he has actively participated largely to the benefit of the general interests.

A native of Lee county, Charles P. Preston was born in Marion township, January 20, 1860, and is a son of James H. and Nancy A. (Maydole) Preston. The father came to Lee county in 1854, one of its pioneers, and at first settled near Amboy but later removed to Marion township. He held the office of county superintendent of schools for thirteen years and also was honored by his fellow citizens with election to a number of township offices. He died in 1896, deeply mourned by a large number of friends and neighbors, at the age of seventy-six years. His wife passed away ten years later, in 1906, and both are buried in the Prairie Repose cemetery at Amboy. The family is of Scotch-Irish extraction and has been settled in America since the days preceding the Revolutionary war.

Charles P. Preston received his primary education in the public schools of Lee county and the State Normal at Normal, Illinois, which latter institution he left at the age of twenty years. He then, deciding upon a legal career, studied law in the office of C. H. Wooster at Amboy and was admitted to the bar of the state of Illinois in May, 1882, beginning his practice in the following year at Paw Paw. He has ever since continued in this city and his reputation for fairness, ability and legal and judicial knowledge ranks him among the foremost lawyers of the county. Mr. Preston married, at Paw Paw, Illinois, October 6, 1886, Miss Ida A. Hendershot, who passed away January 2, 1904, leaving three children: Frances H., a graduate of Lake Forest University; Hazel J., who graduated from Oberlin College, and who married Frank W. Bauer, November 1, 1913; and Rolland C., attending school. On July 25, 1906, Mr. Preston was again married, his second union being contracted at Ottawa, Illinois, with Miss Isabel Harter, of Sandwich, this state. She is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. K. Harter.

As is often the case with men of the legal profession, Mr. Preston has taken an active interest in the political and public life of his region and for twenty-two years has served with most gratifying results as president of Paw Paw. For fifteen years he was clerk of the board of education and from 1885 to 1889 he served as postmaster. His political views coincide with the principles of the democratic party and he has ever given his loyal support to the men and measures of that organization. Along fraternal lines Mr. Preston is connected with the Masons, being a member of the blue lodge. He is one of the best known professional men of Lee county and greatly esteemed and respected by his fellow lawyers as well as the general public. Ever interested in the growth and progress of his village and district, he considers no effort on his part too great to promote the general welfare along intellectual, moral or material lines.

Transcribed by Karen Holt - 1914 History of Lee County Illinois Vol 2 by Frank E. Stevens.

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