Preston Nevada History and Photos

Preston is a small agricultural community established in the spring of 1898 by Mormon settlers and named for William B. Preston, the elderly fourth presiding Bishop of the LDS Church in Utah.

 The land the townsite rests on was originally the Maddox or Matties Ranch which operated pre 1896.  In 1890, the ranch was leased by Stephen Williams and in 1892, Agnes Timpson was teaching two children at the ranch. In 1894 Virginia Carothers was the ranch teacher.

Thirteen wagonloads of settlers left Moroni, Utah to settle in White River Valley, via Water Canyon, arriving on March 20, 1898. Preston was laid out near one of  several springs that gushed up from underground.

Z. D. Bradley, presiding elder, and his wife, Martha Jane, built the first wood home in 1898. William Davis and John Horsley, a rock mason, manufactured bricks on the flat area between Lund and Preston. Albert Madison was considered to be an excellent cabinet maker.

The first store was a log cabin operated by Mart Peterson and H. A. Comins. The store was sold to Chris and Jim Jensen and later, to James Summers. Other store operators over the years were: Marie Jensen, Dan Nicholas and Hyrum Whitlock.

Soren Peterson, the first choir leader, was also the father of the first baby born at Preston. His son was named Preston Peterson after the town where he was born. Early musicians were George Morley, Z. D. Bradley, and Andrew Jensen.

The first teachers were: May Rutledge, then Louise Lewis of Ely, NV and she was followed by Violet Redd of St. George, UT.

The First Postmaster was Oliver Cloward, followed by Tom Windous, whose wife, Margaret Windous, was a midwife and doctor. Herbert Allred served as a Deputy Sheriff in Preston for fifteen years.

Effie O. Read related a humorous story about a couple of original settlers, Agnes and Jim Bernson, in her Preston article published in the Ely Daily Times dated March 22, 1962. It seems that one day a stranger arrived at the Bernson home to see Jim Bernson regarding a business matter. Agnes Bernson answered the door and stepped out to point to where her husband was out working in the field.

Jim Bernson was attempting to rake hay using a fractious team of horses. As the stranger and Agnes we looking in the direction of the field, they watched the team bolt, tipping the hay rack over and throwing Jim Bernson to the ground. The hay rack was quickly demolished from bouncing behind the runaway horses.

The stress of the moment caused Mrs. Bernson to excitedly grab the man standing next to her and scream, "My God, you'll not get to see him now for there goes Jim Bernson to hell in the band wagon."

Preston  is located about 2 miles west of Lund and has a small cemetery.




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