Remembered for his service in the American Revolutionary War, this Irish-born colonist was also a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. In 1775, he signed the Fincastle Resolutions, a Virginia document that laid the groundwork for the United States Declaration of Independence.
He emigrated from Ireland to the Virginia colony at the age of nine and, before joining the Revolutionary War effort, served in the French and Indian War.
Prestonville, a city in northern Kentucky, was named in his honor.
His marriage to Susanna Smith resulted in twelve children, several of whom were raised on Smithfield Plantation (located in what is today the college town of Blacksburg, Virginia). One of his sons, James Patton Preston, served as Governor of Virginia during the early years of the Nineteenth Century.
He and Thomas Nelson both served in the Virginia House of Burgesses during the late 18th Century.