William C. Preston

William Campbell Preston
United States Senator
from South Carolina
In office
November 26, 1833  November 29, 1842
Preceded by Stephen D. Miller
Succeeded by George McDuffie
Member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from Richland District
In office
November 21, 1828 November 26, 1833
Personal details
Born (1794-12-27)December 27, 1794
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died May 22, 1860(1860-05-22) (aged 65)
Columbia, South Carolina
Political party Nullifier, Whig
Alma mater Washington University
South Carolina College
Profession Politician, Lawyer

William Campbell Preston (December 27, 1794  May 22, 1860) was a senator from the United States and a member of the Nullifier, and later Whig Parties. He was also the cousin of William Ballard Preston, William Preston and Angelica Singleton Van Buren.

Early life

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he was the son of Francis Preston, a well-to-do businessman, and Sarah Buchanan Campbell, daughter of Gen. William Campbell. During his childhood he was educated by private tutors, then enrolled in Washington University (later known as Washington and Lee University) in Lexington, Virginia. He then transferred to and graduated from South Carolina College (later known as the University of South Carolina) in Columbia in 1812, where he was a member of the Euphradian Society.


After traveling and studying around Europe, Preston studied law at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He sailed back to the States in 1819 and was admitted to the bar of Virginia in 1820. He practiced law there for two years. He then moved to Columbia, South Carolina in 1822 and ran unsuccessfully for election to the Twenty-Second Congress. He was, however, elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives and served from 1828 to 1834. He was then elected in 1833 as a Nullifier to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy after the resignation of Stephen D. Miller. Preston was then reelected as a Whig in 1837 and served until his resignation on November 29, 1842. During that time he served as the chairman for the Committee on the Library and the Committee on Military Affairs. After his resignation, Preston returned to practicing law and served as president of South Carolina College from 1845 until 1851, when he resigned due to poor health. He died in Columbia, South Carolina. He was buried in the Trinity Episcopal Churchyard.

He is the namesake of Lake Preston, in South Dakota.[1]


  1. Federal Writers' Project (1940). South Dakota place-names, v.1-3. University of South Dakota. p. 47.


United States Senate
Preceded by
Stephen D. Miller
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from South Carolina
Served alongside: John C. Calhoun
Succeeded by
George McDuffie
Academic offices
Preceded by
Robert Henry
President of University of South Carolina
Succeeded by
Francis Lieber
as President pro tem
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