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It has been my amusement, in leisure hours, during the last twenty years, to gather, from public and private sources, the material from which this volume has been selected.
The printing of this Family History was begun, and has been continued and concluded, under such peculiar circumstances, that I hope they will be considered an excuse for some of its imperfections.
The first dozen pages, relating to the common American ancestor of the family, and the memoir of his grand-son, Brigadier General Jedidiah Preble, were prepared for the July and October numbers of the New-ENGLAND HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL REGISTER, for 1868, without thought of their separate publication. After the first paper was in type, it occurred to me to have a few copies struck off separate from the Magazine, and then for the first time to connect it by a genealogical sketch of the intervening descendants, with the memoirs of my grandfather Brigadier Preble, to add some account of the latter's descendants, and print a few copies of the whole in a pamphlet of fifty or sixty pages, for private and family circulation. Such was the humble origin of this octavo.
Just as that design was being perfected in manuscript, and before the second article on the Brigadier was in type, I was suddenly called to duty in the North Pacific Squadron. Packing books, MSS. and documents, I took myself, at a week's notice, from Boston to San Francisco, and there found a little leisure amid new duties to enlarge my plan, and to forward to the printer, in Boston, a copy of the letters and diary of the Brigadier, throughout the historical years of the American Révolution, in which he was a prominent actor, and to extend and fill out the sketches of his children and their descendants.
The last spike had not then been driven in the competing railroads which completed the iron girdle environing the continent, and the overland mail conveying MSS. or proof, to and fro, was delayed weeks, and even months, throughout the winter and spring immediately preceding that great event. Under these circumstances, I concluded to suspend the printing until the close of my distant services. Just then the Navy Department ordered extensive repairs and alterations in the ship under my command ; pending which, I obtained permission to visit my home in the East. During that visit I was able to examine papers and authorities, revise and materially add to my manuscript, and continue the printing ; also to attach to the memoir of my father, a pedigree of my children, to whom the book is dedicated, and for whom it is especially designed, with illustrative notes. In this manner the projected pamphlet grew to a volume ; several engravings and photographs were procured to increase its interest, and indices became a necessity. From a simple memorial of an ancestor, the book assumed the more ambitious character of a FAMILY MONUMENT, inscribed with the names and something of the histories of its more prominent members.
As the last pages were being prepared for the press, before the indices were fully prepared, and when I was contemplating the addition of a general tabular genealogy of all the descendants of Abraham Preble, the immigrant, I was hurried back to the Pacific, by orders from Washington, to resume the command of the " Pensacola,” and was compelled again to leave the volume incomplete in the hands of the printer.
Notwithstanding its mosaic growth, and these delays, the reader will not fail to perceive that I have pursued something of a regular plan.
First. There is a Memoir of Abraham Preble, the common American ancestor and immigrant, with the names, it is believed,