top of page

Robert Preston

DSC_0387 (2)-1.JPG


The Robert Preston house at Walnut Grove Plantation, constructed circa 1790, is the oldest frame house in Washington County, Virginia. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Robert Preston, born in Londonderry, Ireland in 1750, immigrated to Virginia in 1773. Preston apprenticed as a surveyor under his cousin, William Preston of Smithfield Plantation, in what is now Montgomery County, Virginia. Robert Preston moved to Washington County, Virginia in 1779. Granted a surveyor’s bond signed by then-Governor Thomas Jefferson in 1780, Robert Preston became the first surveyor in Washington County, Virginia. In the summer of 1780, Robert Preston married Margaret Rhea and acquired 800 acres of what is now part of Bristol, Virginia. He named the tract of land Walnut Grove. A Department of Historic Resources highway marker along Lee Highway documents “William Clark, of Lewis and Clark, breakfasted at the home of Preston’s son John at Walnut Grove in 1809.” A Lewis and Clark Portrait Sign on Lee Highway documents the property’s Lewis and Clark connection.  The property is featured as the first stop on the Virginia Lewis and Clar Legacy Trail at   For more information contact:

Jan Rainero

Isabelle Ladd

A! Magazine for the Arts Article

Walnut Grove is one of oldest homes in Washington County


DSC_0387 (2)-1.JPG

Learn More!

Click the link below to download the Robert Preston House pamphlet and learn more about this historical site.  

Note: Significantly more funds have been invested in the Robert Preston House project since the publication of the pamphlet. As of January 12th, 2022, the Robert Preston House has received $400,000 in donations and gifts.  Also, thanks to a generous supporter, a right of way has been donated which will greatly facilitate entrance to this historic property. 



Donate to the Bristol Historical Association today!

bottom of page