James Cyrus Preston, M. D. One of the foremost men of Buffalo, Kansas, is Dr. James Cyrus Preston, the pioneer physician, and for many years the leader in medical thought in Wilson County, and the wise adviser and stable supporter of public enterprises which have assisted greatly in the town’s development. Doctor Preston came first to Buffalo after some years of medical experience in Arizona, and thus was well prepared for the hardships and handicaps that attended his early days here, in 1889, and with the exception of an interim of five years, had been a continuous resident and a busy physician and surgeon. He was born in Fulton County, Illinois, March 13, 1863. His parents were William H. and Adaline (Thomas) Preston.
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The early Prestons were of English birth and descent and were Colonial settlers in New England. The grandfather of Doctor Preston was Richard Preston, who was born in Vermont, in 1805, and died in Howard County, Iowa, in 1882. In 1845 he removed with his family to Winnebago County, Illinois, seeking work as a carpenter and cabinetmaker, in which he was skilled. It is said of him that he had great facility with the drum and his services were often in demand when militia was under training. His wife, Hannah Gilmore, was born in New England in 1807, and died in Iowa in 1867.
William H. Preston, father of Doctor Preston, was born in February, 1829, while his parents sojourned in the State of New York, and after a long, courageous and industrious life, passed away at Buffalo, Kansas, February 1, 1913. He accompanied his parents to Winnebago County in 1845, and for some years was a lumberman and worked at logging on the Mississippi River, and in the meanwhile, under his father, learned the carpenter trade, and in following this went to Fulton County, Illinois, where he lived for two years and then returned to Winnebago County. In 1866 he brought his family to Nemaha County, Kansas, and there started to farm, but all his efforts were brought to naught by the grasshopper scourge in that year. In 1870 he came to Wilson County and took up a homestead of 160 acres, on which place he remained as a hard-working farmer until 1879, in which year he removed to Tueson, Arizona, from there to Bisbee, Arizona, where he remained until 1890. In the fall of 1890 he returned to Wilson County and took up his residence at Buffalo, subsequently selling his farm, and for a time conducted a meat market in the town. In his earlier years he was affiliated with the republican party, but a change came in his opinions and during later life he gave his political influence and support to the democratic party. A man of uprightness all his life, he was a consistent member of the Presbyterian Church. At the time of his death he was the oldest member of the lodge of Odd Fellows to which he belonged and of which he was a past noble grand. He married Adaline Thomas, who was born April 21, 1834, in Wayne County, Pennsylvania, and died at Buffalo, Kansas, in January, 1907. They had two children: Emma, who died in infancy, and James Cyrus.
James Cyrus Preston was seven years old when his father brought the family to Wilson County, and then he began to go to school and attended with reasonable regularity until the family removal to Arizona. At that time there seemed to be no desirable school in Pima County so his father decided to send him to a private school at Tucson. In removing from Kansas to Arizona the youth had made the journey on horseback, the trip being long and tiresome. After his school days were over he began the study of medicine in the office of Dr. D. V. Waite of Rockton, Illinois, and when sufficiently prepared went to Chicago and there entered the College of Physicians and Surgeons, an admirable institution then as it is now, and now known as the medical department of the Chicago University. After two years of close application he entered the medical department of the Tennessee State University, at Nashville, from which he was graduated in 1885, with his degree of M. D.
Doctor Preston entered medical practice at Bisbee, Arizona, where he continued for two years, removing then to Benson, Arizona, he practiced there from 1887 until 1891, when he came to Buffalo and opened an office and engaged in practice until 1895. The succeeding five years he passed in Greenwood and Butler counties, Kansas, but in 1900 he returned to Buffalo, with which place he had been closely and continuously identified ever since. For a number of years he served as health officer. He is a member of the Wilson County Medical Society, of which he had been president, a member of the Kansas State Medical Society, and is an ex-member of the American Medical Society.
Politically Doctor Preston is a democrat, but aside from the office of health officer, as above mentioned, he had never accepted public position. He controls a large practice, his medical knowledge and surgical skill having made him widely known. He is identified fraternally with the Knights of Pythias and formerly was an Odd Fellow. He is a thirty-second degree Mason, belonging to Wichita Consistory No. 2, and is a member of the local lodge at Buffalo. Doctor Preston is a member of the Society of Friends.
In 1893, at Fredonia, Kansas, Doctor Preston was married to Miss Nellie Cowdery, who is a daughter of A. H. and Mary C. (Brooks) Cowdery. Mrs. Preston is a lady of superior education. After being graduated from the high school of Miles, Iowa, she attended first the Iowa State Normal School, and later the Kansas State Normal School at Emporia. She takes part in the pleasant social life of Buffalo and also belongs to such fraternal organizations as the Royal Neighbors and the Pythian Sisters. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Doctor and Mrs. Preston have three children, one daughter and two sons: Irene, William Ambrose and Victor J. The daughter is the wife of Archibald Landrith, who is night engineer in charge of the Buffalo Brick Company, at Buffalo. Mr. and Mrs. Landrith have three children: Idelle, who was born September 15, 1912; Garland, who was born January 31, 1914; and Jessie Louise, who was born August 22, 1915. William Ambrose Preston resided at Buffalo and is chemist for the Buffalo Brick Co. and the Granby Smelter Company. Victor J., the youngest son, is completing his high school course at Buffalo.
Mrs. Preston can trace her ancestry to early colonial times. William Cowdery, the first of the name in America, was born at Weymouth, England, in 1602. He sailed from Southampton for the American colonies in 1630 and settled first at Lynn, Massachusetts, and was one of the first recorded inhabitants of the Town of Redding, Massachusetts, where he was a man of affairs, filling public offices and acquiring wealth in agricultural pursuits. The name of his first wife was Joanna, who died May 6, 1666. His second wife bore the name of Alse (Alice) and to her he was united in December, 1666.
Ambrose Cowdery, the great-grandfather of Mrs. Preston, was born at East Hartland, Connecticut, in 1784, and died at Mecca, Ohio, in 1862. He was a clothier and cloth dresser. He married Dency Coe, a member of a family that had produced notable American artists.
Elijah Coe Cowdery, the grandfather of Mrs. Preston, was born at Otis, Massachusetts, in 1808, and died at Graystone, Kansas, in October, 1882. He married Mary Amanda Preston, who was born at Meadville, Pennsylvania, in 1817, and died in 1896, at Humboldt, Kansas. Mr. Cowdery as a business man was a clothier. He lived in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Ohio, Wisconsin and Iowa before coming to Kansas in 1879, when he located at Graystone. The parents of Mrs. Preston reside at Buffalo, well known and highly respected. Formerly the father was in the creamery business but had been retired for some years.