Preston appeared in the 1870 census of McDonough County, IL with his parents. He was a noted "Jubilee Singer" and entertainer. He married and had one son who was an infant at the time of his death. The maiden name of his spouse and given name of his son are not known. Most of the information about him comes from a newspaper article about a telegram his half brother Milford received. The symptoms included the telegram and his obituary are similar to those of untreated syphilis.
The Macomb Journal, Volume 45, Number 27, page 1, column 2, 17 March 1898
Press Wright dead The Well Known Colored Jubilee Singer Expires at Hickville, O.
Milford Daniels of the Second ward yesterday morning received the following telegram:
Hickville, O., March 15, 1898.-To Milford Daniels, Macomb, Ill.: Preston died here tonight, will take remains to Paola, Kas., where they will be buried Saturday or Sunday . . Ida Lee Wright.
This is the second word that Mr. Daniels has received in relations to his brother’s condition. Mr. Wright, as is known to many Journal readers, has been for the past ten years or more conducting a colored minstrel and jubilee troupe, having built it up to one of the best on the road. During the past month he has been in Kentucky and Ohio with his company. Some ten days ago Mr. Daniels received a letter from Mrs. Wright saying that for a few days her husband had acted queerly; that his brain seemed affected, and that she was afraid he was losing his mind; that he seemed unconscious of his condition and she wished to know what advice he had to give her as to taking the company off the road. With such limited knowledge Mr. Daniels answered, telling her to use her own best judgment. The telegram this morning shows that the malady made rapid work. Preston Wright was born in Audrain county near the city of Mexico, Mo., “He was five years old when the war broke out,” was Mr. Daniels’ way of giving his age to a Journal reporter, which made him 42 years old. Born a slave he was freed by the proclamation of Abraham Lincoln and, with his parents, came to Macomb in July, 1865, his half-brother, Milford Daniels, and family, having come the spring previous. Press was what was known as a careless, “lucky-go” negro, who basked and loafed and grew in the sunlight of freedom and Illinois. He was a general favorite with whom he was acquainted. The musical talent, common to the dark race, was unusually developed in him. He could mock all the birds with his whistle, and as he grew up developed a bass voice deep and musical. His accomplishments naturally took him to the field of ministrelsy, in which he has quite well succeeded. He was married some 15 or more years ago to Miss Ida Lee of Paola, Kas. They have one child, a boy, less than a year old. Mr. Daniels is expecting to go to Kansas to attend the funeral.
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