via The Dallas Morning News

via The Dallas Morning News

Who was Lt. William Preston? That’s been the question (excuse the rhyme) since 1960, when Frank X. Tolbert began researching our neighborhood’s namesake. During his tenure at The Dallas Morning News, Tolbert published two columns about the enigmatic figure. Both were necessarily brief – there’s very little evidence of the man’s existence.

Tolbert wasn’t the first person stumped by Preston. Dr. Graham Landrum hoped to find biographical information for his book on Grayson County, where the lieutenant apparently made an impact. He came up dry. Historian H. E. Walker was similarly unlucky, locating nothing in the State Archives.

Yet, “according to a few reliable histories” Preston Road, Preston Center, and Preston Hollow itself were all named after “the mysterious character.” In 1975, Tolbert felt comfortable asserting that Preston “was a Republic of Texas Army second lieutenant who was the first commanding officer of an 1840 fort on the Red River.” Unless some new information magically unearths, that may be all we ever know.


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