FLETCHER, PRESTON B., one of the oldest native born residents of Sangamon County, Ill., now retired from active life, has been a business man of keen judgment and energy. He was born March 4, 1834, a son of Job and Frances (Brown) Fletcher, the former a native of the Shenandoah Valley, Va. The parents were married in Kentucky, to which State the father was taken at the age of six years, and they lived on a farm there until 1830, then moved to Ball Township, Sangamon County, and located on the farm where Job Fletcher died in 1883, his wife having died in the same house in 1877. Job was a son of John Fletcher, a native of Virginia, who settled in Sangamon County in 1830 and died there the same year. The father of Frances Brown was also a native of Virginia, and died in Macoupin County, Ill., in October, 1834, at the age of seventy-five years, his widow passing away eight years later at the age of eighty-six. Job Fletcher, the father of Preston B., was one of the historic characters of Sangamon, having served in five sessions of the General Assembly - two in the House and three in the Senate, in the latter being one of the celebrated "Long Nine" with Abraham Lincoln in 1837, which secured the removal of the State Capital from Vandalia to Springfield.
Preston B. Fletcher received his education in the public schools of Ball Township, lived at home until he was twenty-one years old, and worked hard on his father's farm. He then moved to land on which the town of Divernon now stands, living there from 1885 until 1868, and in the latter year moved to Bates County, Mo., where he was engaged for twenty years in farming and dealing in stock. In September, 1888, he returned to Divernon township, and in 1892 moved to Montgomery County, where he carried on farming until 1908, then again returned to Divernon Township and lives with his daughter, Mrs. Lizzie Elswick. She owns 120 acres of land in Section 16, Divernon Township.
Mr. Fletcher was married (first) in Sangamon County, in 1855, to Sarah Wright, a native of the county, born in 1831 and died in Kansas City, Mo., in 1888. Seven children were born of this union: Job, Benjamin, Lyda, Stuart and Albert, deceased; Lizzie, born in Sangamon County, October 28, 1856, was married, September 7, 1877, to John R. Elswick, of Iowa, who died May 19, 1897; Lloyd F., born in Bates County, Mo., July 22, 1870, married Pearl Elger, in Kansas, and they now live in Kansas City, Mo. John R. and Lizzie (Fletcher) Elswick had children as follows: Clifford, born August 15, 1878, in Bates County, Mo., lives on the farm with his mother, married in April, 1902, Minta Commons, of Iowa, and they have one child, Vernon E., born in Sangamon County, November 13, 1908; Lulu, born March 3, 1880, in Bates County, married Edgar Whitmarsh of Wisconsin, and they now live in the State of Washington, in August, 1902, and they had one child, deceased.
Mr. Fletcher was married (second) March 16, 1892, to Comfort Lyman (nee Mitchell), whose father was a miller in Springfield, having come to Sangamon County in 1844, but eventually returned to Ohio, where he died. Mrs. Fletcher died in Montgomery County, October 20, 1908, having borne no children. Mr. Fletcher has two great-grandchildren.
There are but three persons living in the community who were residing in Sangamon County at the time Mr. Fletcher was born. He attended the first State Fair in 1853 and the next year took a prize for the best yoke of oxen exhibited. He took premiums for hogs in other years, and had four that averaged 840 pounds in weight at the Fair at Jacksonville in 1859. He also had hogs that took premiums at the Fair held in St. Louis in 1861. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church and, in political views, has been a Republican since the organization of that party. His first presidential vote was cast for Fillmore and later he voted for Abraham Lincoln. The Fletcher family have always been prominent in forwarding every movement calculated to be of benefit to the community and one respected wherever its members have resided.