DENTON, PRESTON. - Only the veterans themselves know what the country owes them, for they passed through the mighty struggle, risking life and limb in defense of the starry flag every American loves so dearly. They kept its silken folds free from the stain of dishonor and kept it waving, from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. While it is free from soil, the blood of thousands who did not return, dyed the battle fields a terrible crimson, and many others have gone through life maimed because of war's mighty cruelty. Sangamon County is proud indeed of her veterans, and shows her appreciation of them, especially on Decoration Day, when both the living and the dead are honored above all others. One of the most highly respected of the old soldiers of the county is Preston Denton, now a retired farmer of Buffalo. He was born in Shelby County, Ill., January 2, 1845, a son of Jonas and Fannie (Nelson) Denton, he born in the North of Ireland and the mother in Tennessee. Jonas Denton came to the United States with his father, who first located in Virginia, but later moved to Illinois, becoming one of the pioneers of Shelby County, where he engaged in farming. Jonas Denton also farmed in Shelby County, but death called him away when Preston was still a lad. The mother survived until 1885m, dying in Bourbon County, Kan., where she had gone to reside. There were six sons and three daughters in the family, but Preston Denton is the only survivor.
The education of Mr. Denton was obtained in the school of his district, and even in boyhood he was called upon to do a man's work on the farm owned by his mother. In 1856 he moved to Kansas, where he lived for three years, but then returned to Shelby County to resume farming there. From this place he moved to Christian County, and after farming there for four months, his labors were interrupted by the outbreak of the war, and he enlisted from there in Company C, Sixty-second Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under command of colonel True, serving nearly four years. He participated in several important battles, among them being Corinth, Gettysburg, Murfreesboro, Nashville, Holly Springs, and Bowling Green, as well as many skirmishes, during which time he gave his country a brave and efficient service. He received his honorable discharge, in March, 1866, at Fort Smith, Ark. After this he returned to Christian County to resume farming, but after nine years there, moved to Dawson, Ill., to take up railroad work with the Wabash Railroad Company. He continued in this for five years, then went back to farming. He came to Sangamon County, where he operated property for seven years, but his health, sadly undermined by the privations endured while he was a soldier, broke down, and he was forced to retire. He came to Buffalo, which has since remained his home. He has a pleasant home and receives a pension from a grateful Government.
The marriage of Mr. Denton took place in Christian County, September 6, 1866, when he was united to Mary M. Coffer, born in Putnam County, Ind., May 31, 1844. Her parents moved form Indiana to Iowa, where her father died, but her mother passed away in Kansas. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Denton, three of whom are still living: James M. resides on a farm near Sherman, Ill.; Armilda married Albert Statts and lives in Buffalo, and Hattie M. married Franklin Smith and lives in Buffalo. There are eleven grandchildren in the family.
The first vote Mr. Denton cast was for Abraham Lincoln whom he had seen many times and for whom he entertained a lasting admiration. He is a member of John Beerbaum Post No. 613, G.A.R., and for the past sixteen years has been its Officer of the Day. He has friends all over the county. He is a consistent member of the Christian Church, and few men of Mechanicsburg Township stand higher in the public esteem.