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James Patton Preston

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Title: James Patton Preston  
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Subject: John Hartwell Cocke, Political party strength in Virginia, John Ratcliffe (governor), Peyton Randolph (governor), Samuel Matthews
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James Patton Preston

James Patton Preston
20th Governor of Virginia
In office
December 1, 1816 – December 1, 1819
Preceded by Wilson Cary Nicholas
Succeeded by Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from Montgomery County
In office
December 3, 1810 – November 30, 1812
Preceded by Thomas Goodson
Succeeded by Thomas McHenry
Personal details
Born (1774-06-21)June 21, 1774
Montgomery, Virginia
Died May 4, 1843(1843-05-04) (aged 68)
Montgomery, Virginia, USA
Resting place Smithfield Plantation Cemetery
Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
Political party Democratic-Republican
Spouse(s) Ann Barraud Taylor
Alma mater College of William & Mary

James Patton Preston (June 21, 1774 – May 4, 1843) was a U.S. political figure who served as Governor of Virginia.


James Patton Preston was born at Smithfield Plantation, in what is now Blacksburg, Virginia. He attended the College of William and Mary from 1790 to 1795, and managed his family's estate.

A member of the Democratic-Republican Party, he served for four years the Virginia State Senate, and two years in the Virginia House of Delegates.

He joined the United States Army for the War of 1812, serving as Lieutenant Colonel and second in command of the 12th Infantry Regiment. He was promoted to Colonel of the 23rd Infantry Regiment in August 1813, and served until being seriously wounded at the Battle of Crysler's Farm in Ontario.

After the war Preston returned to the House of Delegates. He served as the 20th Governor of Virginia from 1816 to 1819, and his term was marked by the state's payment of more than $1.5 million in debt incurred to cover expenses during the War of 1812 and the establishment of the University of Virginia.

After leaving office, Preston served as Postmaster of Richmond before retiring to his estate.

He died at Smithfield Plantation on May 4, 1843 and was buried in the estate's cemetery.

Preston County, West Virginia was formed in 1818 and named in his honor.


His father was Colonel William Preston

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