Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens
Lawrence County Pennsylvania 1897


[p. 636] the general manager of the New Castle Seamless Steel Tube Co., was born in Mercer Co., Pa., and has been a resident of New Castle since 1867. He is a son of Marcus and Dorothy (Yealy) Preston, and grandson of Bencunias Preston, who was a noted surveyor of his day, and ran the lines in Chautauqua County, and in various localities of Western New York. He was also engaged in agricultural pursuits to no small extent and profit, and owned large tracts of land. His son Marcus was born in the western part of New York, and early in life settled at Sharon, Mercer County, on the so-called Donation Tract. He devoted his energies to the lumber business, but died at the age of thirty-five. His wife, Dorothy, died Oct. 31, 1896, aged eighty-five years. Six children were born to them, of whom four are living; the record reads: Sylvester H.; Rebecca M., deceased,: Mary A., deceased; George L.; James H.; and John H., the subject of this sketch.

John H. Preston, after serving a full apprenticeship at the carpenters trade, worked as a journeyman until 1865, serving five months in the meantime in Capt. George Summers Independent Militia Company. From 1874 to 1882 he carried on contracting in New Castle and elsewhere, and then entered into the lumber business, running a planing mill and keeping in stock a large and complete line of builders' supplies at New Castle. In 1891 our subject sold the lumber business to the New Castle Lumber Co., now known as the Gailey Lumber Co. Then, as his general health was not of the best, he decided to retire and enjoy the remaining years of his life in the home he had built for himself at 102 Court Street. Some of the best of his work as a builder may be seen in the City Building and in the County Jail at New Castle. But his retirement was brought to a close July 2, 1894, and he again entered the walks of active business life, for he had become a heavy stockholder in the New Castle Steel Tube Co., which was then being organized, and, with others likewise interested in the venture, established and built the New Castle Tube Factory, providing as a site a part of the old Fair Grounds, which was purchased for that purpose. The main building, 737 feet long , by 11 feet wide, and the roller mill, 80 by 180, were opened for active operations in January, 1895, and the factory started in to work with four forges, two heating furnaces, two trains of rollers, and two 150-pound hammers. The product of the factory, which is known to bicycle manufacturers as the New Castle High Grade Seamless Steel Tubing for Bicycles, has a demand in the United States and in England. Employment is given to about 260 men in getting out the annual product of 12,000,000 feet, or 4,000 tons. The company is officered as follows: John Stevenson, Jr., president; John H. Preston, general manager; and D. C. Wallace, secretary and treasurer. Our subject also, in company with E. T. Kurtz, L. D. Long, and James H. Preston, bought the remainder of the Fair Grounds, formerly a part of the Long estate, and besides selling many building lots, they have laid out streets and walks and built twenty-two houses, which they let principally to employees of the Tube Co.

Mr. Preston is a stanch Republican, a member of the G. A. R. Post, and a prominent member of the Masonic fraternity. His first wife, Mary M., daughter of Robert and Dora Welsh of New Castle, died at the age of thirty-two, leaving three children: Minnie and Lulu, now deceased; and Harry, who at the age of twenty-one is billing clerk for the New Castle Tube Co. Mr. Preston married as his second wife Susie S. Welsh, a sister of Mary M., and has had six children by this union: George; John; Charles; Marcus; Martha; and Roy.

Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens Lawrence County Pennsylvania
Biographical Publishing Company, Buffalo, N.Y., 1897

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