By Aila Boyd
The Col. William Preston Memorial at the Greenfield Education and Training Center was completed last Friday when Blue Ridge Monument set five engraved stones that recount the life of the 18th century land holder/surveyor/peace maker/politician/colonial officer.
The Fincastle Resolutions Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution have been working on the memorial project since 2008.
A re-dedication of the memorial with state-level officers from the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution will be on May 17, 2020.
Each of the five stones represent a different phase in Preston’s life. The first stone discusses his early life and time living in Staunton. The second stone discusses his time in Fincastle and government roles. The third stone discusses the Greenfield Plantation and his family life. The fourth stone discusses the Fincastle Resolutions, his life as a surveyor, and relations with Native Americans. The fifth stone discusses Smithfield Plantation and his part in the Revolutionary War.
The Col. William Preston Memorial project was started in 1995 when Malcolm Bryan, a great-great-great grandson of Preston’s sister, published a letter in a Roanoke Valley newspaper about Preston’s home at Greenfield and how it served as a fort that protected the family from Native American attacks in the 1760s. “There should be a statue of William Preston somewhere in Botetourt County. I happen to think something to honor his memory should be placed on the site of the historic home, Greenfield,” Bryan wrote, nothing that Greenfield protected the ancestors of many individuals who have held significant state and national government positions.