from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Byron W. Preston, a practitioner at the Oskaloosa bar, was born in Newton, this state, February 13, 1858, a son of Sylvester S. and Amelia M. (Wild) Preston, the former a native of Vermont and the latter of New Hampshire. The father came to Iowa in 1857, settling in Jasper county. where he remained for many years, and then removed to Marseilles, Illinois, where he carried on merchandising. He afterward established his home in Grinnell, Iowa, and subsequently went to Los Angeles, California, where he is now living, but in 1883 he was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, who died at the age of forty-seven years. In their family were ten children, all of whom are living. Byron W. Preston. the eldest of the family, pursued his education in the public schools, in Grinnell College. this state, and in Poughkeepsie Business College. which he attended in 1876-7, completing a commercial course by graduation. He then returned to Grinnell, where he carried on merchandising with his father for six years and on the 31st of July, 1883, he came to Oskaloosa, where he took up the study of law under the direction of Judge Blanchard. Eight months later he was admitted to the bar, covering a two-years' course of reading in that time. It was in March, 1884, that he passed his examination whereby he was made a member of the Iowa bar according to the laws of the state and later was employed in the office and subsequently became a partner of Judge Blanchard, with whom he practiced until 1890. The relationship was then dissolved between them and Mr. Preston was elected to the office of county attorney, which position he filled for two terms. On his retirement from the office he resumed the practice of law and in 1894 he became candidate for judge, but was defeated. He had fllled the office of city attorney in 1899 and 1900 and in 1902 was elected district judge, assuming, the duties of the office in January, 1903. He is now serving on the bench and is an able exponent of the law, unbiased by partisan measures or personal prejudices in the discharge of the duties that devolve upon him. He will undoubtedly be renominated at the convention May 22, 1906, as no opposing candidate has as yet been brought forward and if nominated will doubtless be elected. In former years, he took an active part in political work and in 1888-9 served as chairman of the republican county convention, while in 1895 he was a member of the state republican committee for his district. Devotedly attached to his profession, systematic and methodical in habit, sober and discreet in judgment, diligent in research and conscientious in the discharge of every duty, courteous and kind in demeanor and inflexibly just on all occasions, these qualities enabled Judge Preston to take first rank among those who have sat upon the circuit bench of the district. He has practiced in all the courts of Iowa, handling many important cases during his connection with the bar and he is regarded as one of the strongest members of the legal profession in Iowa. On the 6th of October, 1880, Mr. Preston was married to Miss Nellie Blanchard, of Newton, Iowa, a daughter of M. A. and Mary E. (Lindley) Blanchard, of Newton, Iowa. Their children are: Edith, the wife of Harry K. Spencer, of Oskaloosa, and Blanchard W. Judge Preston is a member of the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained the Knight Templar degree. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World and the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and he is a communicant of the Episcopal church, in which he has been vestryman for twelve years. His is a well rounded character in which due attention is given to the great questions effecting the sociological, economic, political and religious conditions of the country, and he has keen insight into these as well as into the intricate legal problems which claim his attention upon the bench. His reported opinions indicate his legal learning and superior ability, showing a thorough mastery of the questions involved, a rare simplicity of style and an admirable terseness and clearness in the statement of the principles upon which his opinions rest.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy