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Preston was a frontier town on the high bluff in the Washita Bend of the Red River, a site near modern Pottsboro, Grayson County. The community grew up around a trading post established by Silas Cheek Colville and Holland Coffee about 1837. The town plat was surveyed by William H. Hunt in 1845. It was long thought that a Capt. William Gilwater Preston accompanied the Military Road expedition of 1840–41 and established a Fort Preston. This now seems in doubt, and the origin of the name is obscure.

The community, known as Preston or Preston Bend, became a ribald, boisterous, and profane frontier town and a frequent destination of Indians seeking liquor. Coffee was murdered there on October 1, 1846. Preston was an important river crossing from its founding until about 1850; an estimated 1,000 wagons crossed there in a single year. Coffee, George Butts, and Sloan Love operated ferries in the area. The settlement was the terminus of the Indian Nation's Texas Road and the beginning of what became the Preston Road. The Shawnee Trail crossed there. By 1851 a municipal government had been established, and Tom Jackson was the first mayor. A Masonic lodge was started in 1852, and a post office was granted in 1856. From 1851 to 1853 the United States Army operated a depot, established under the command of Lt. Thomas C. English, to supply the Fifth Infantry. A Preston Supply Depot soon came, under Bvt. Maj. W. F. Wood. In 1849 Randolph B. Marcy and Lt. Nathaniel Michler passed through Preston. Marcy and John Pope came through in 1854, and Albert Sidney Johnston marched the Second Cavalry by way of Preston in 1855.

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Morris L. Britton | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Washita is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Washita is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Preston)

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated