Research

The home of Mrs. Jerome Preston, 203 East Fourth Street. Picture from Notable Buildings published in 1904.

Auctions can be fun. One never knows what will come into their possession while attending an auction. Earlier this year while attending one such “entertainment” I became the owner of a portrait. Since then I have been moving Jerome Preston around my house as I move contents of rooms for some remodeling. So who is Jerome Preston and what did he do?

Over time I have found bits and pieces about him and his family and his life in Jamestown. I will present what I have found so far here. First, from being involved in the cemetery tours conducted by the Fenton History Center around Lake View Cemetery, I know there is a Preston mausoleum. And yes, that mausoleum is for the Jerome Preston family. Jerome is the son of Julius and Jane Preston and was born in Lander, Pennsylvania in 1834. Jerome married Hannah Broadhead in 1856. And yes, Hannah is related to the Broadhead family of Jamestown, her father being Rev. John Broadhead of Busti, brother of William Broadhead of Jamestown.

Within a couple of years of their marriage, Jerome and Hannah moved to Jamestown. Meanwhile Augustus F. Allen and Daniel Grandin, who had learned the woolen industry from Daniel Hazeltine, were running a woolen mill. By 1867, it became Allen, Preston and Co. At some point, still to be determined (always more research to do), Jerome Preston became partners with Edward Mackey and Frank B. Field in the Chautauqua Towel mills. This company was located at the northwest corner of Steele and Sprague streets along the Chadakoin river. They produced union and Turkish towels. More research will be done on union towels.

Besides business, Jerome and Hannah found other activities in Jamestown. Both became members of the First Baptist church in Jamestown. Jerome served the church as Superintendent of the Sunday School for 40 years while Hannah was for many years the leader of the primary department of the Sunday School. Jerome was also the Clerk of the Church and the Treasurer from 1861 to 1896. In addition, Hannah was for a number of years a member of the Board of Management of the Woman’s Christian Association hospital board. Within the community, Jerome was associated with the Y.M.C.A. for many years. He served the citizens of the town of Ellicott as their Supervisor for two years, 1869 and 1870.

A report in the Jamestown Journal in August 1870, remarked on the new residences of Erie Hall and Jerome Preston being built on Fourth Street. The Jerome Preston house occupied the northeast corner of Fourth and Spring Streets. Along with the portrait, I acquired three snapshots of the home.

A nice picture of the home is also included in Notable Buildings in the City of Jamestown a brochure produced by Chatfield and Armitage, contractors for heating and plumbing.

In March of 1902 the Jamestown Board of Health approved two plumbing plans by Chatfield and Armitage for Mrs. Jerome Preston. Rather these were for the first plumbing in that house or not, I do not know. Again more research to find when the sewer lines were extended to East Fourth Street.

Back to the mausoleum. Jerome Preston died Jan. 29, 1902 and his wife, Hannah died Dec. 19, 1908. When the mausoleum was built has not been determined but the deed to the lot in Lake View Cemetery was issued in 1895. At that time both of Jerome’s parents, Julius, who died in 1858, and Jane, who died in 1888, were removed from other graves to that lot and presumably into the mausoleum. Other family members are also in the mausoleum.

Newspaper articles add to information about a person and their activities. One tidbit of information can lead to more sources for research so undoubtably I will continue to find and add more information to this gathering of biographical material on the Prestons of Jamestown.

And I have to admit Jerome is not the only person of interest as I look at genealogy and local history sources for this area.

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