Although there were already Shoshone Indians in the White River Valley, the first white men arrived in the 1860s when a stage route from Hamilton to Pioche was established. The lush valley attracted ranchers and stockmen, and by the 1890s a number of ranches were established along the length of the White River. The most central in the valley were the Maddox (Mattics) Ranch and those belonging to Tom Plane and Dave McQuitty.

On March 20, 1898, thirteen wagons carrying settlers from Moroni, Utah arrived in the White River Valley. The townsite of Preston, named for William B. Preston (the elderly fourth presiding Bishop of the LDS Church in Utah), was laid out around a spring on the Maddox Ranch. That year the town's first wood home was built by Z.D. Bradley and his wife, Martha Jane. The first store, housed in a log cabin, was opened soon thereafter by Mart Peterson and H.A. Comins. John Horsley and William Davis also manufactured bricks on the flat land south of Preston around this time, and the first baby was born in town (named after the town, he was the son of the first choir leader, Soren Peterson).

Preston's post office opened on September 7, 1899, and in the early 1900s a sawmill, church, and four-room schoolhouse were built. Preston would never experience a phenomenal growth spurt, and despite losing its post office in 1952, still maintains a small, stable population.

See Also