He came to the Battle Creek, Iowa, Ida County, in 1872 to farm. He was born in Forfarshire, Scotland, June 27, 1857, son of John and Matilda (Hill) Preston. His parents are from Scotland and they reared a family of eight children with John being the 7th born. He received a good education in his native land, and clerked in a drug store for a short time at Dundee, Scotland. In 1872, when he was 15, he came to America to Ida County where he had two brothers, Andrew and James C. Here he went to school in the winter. He worked for his brothers for 5 years, and afterward for E. P. Smith.
The first land he purchased was in Section 16, Maple Township. He sold it and bought land in Section 17, Maple Township, Ida County, Ia. His cottage home was located on a natural building site with a grove and orchard. He engaged in general farming and stock raising, and made a specialty of Shorthorn cattle.
Mr. Preston married on November 9, 1882, to Maggie Todd, a native of Scotland. She was the daughter of James and Christena (Cregie) Todd of Ida Grove, Iowa. Her parents had 10 children, five sons and five daughters, all living in Ida County, except one who stayed in Scotland. John and Maggie Preston had 4 children: Alexander, Lenais, Christena C., and Albert E.