Shinar Preston was born on August 15, 1839, in Ohio, the son of William (b. 1803) and Margaret (Barnhard, b. 1818).
Vermont-born William married Ohioan Margaret probably in Ohio sometime before 1837, by which time they were living in Ohio. By 1840 William was living in Harris, Ottawa County, Ohio, and by 1850 Shiner or Shinar was attending school with his siblings and living on the family farm in Harris, Ottawa County, Ohio. About this same time William died and Margaret brought the family to western Michigan. For a time they lived in Big Prairie and Croton, Newaygo County, after which they settled in Dayton, Newaygo County. Shinar bought 120 acres of land about five of which were improved. He settled on the land right away.
In 1860 Sinar as working as a farm laborer and living with his mother and siblings in Dayton, Newaygo County. Two houses away lived John Barnhard, one of the two Barnhard brothers who would join the Third Michigan, and next door to John lived his father or grandfather Simon Barnhard.
Shinar stood 5’8” with dark eyes, black hair and a dark complexion and was a 22-year-old farmer living in Dayton when he enlisted in Company K on March 2 or 12, 1862, at Grand Rapids for 3 years, and was mustered March 2 or 12. He was sick in the hospital in March of 1862, allegedly deserted on September 21 at Upton’s Hill, Virginia, and returned to the Regiment on June 23, 1863, at Gum Springs, Virginia. He was serving with the provost guard at First Division headquarters from December 29, 1863, through March of 1864, and was reportedly on detached service in May, although he was probably taken sick or perhaps wounded on May 6.
Shinar was still absent sick when he was transferred to Company F, Fifth Michigan infantry upon consolidation of the Third and Fifth Michigan Regiments on June 10, 1864, and he remained absent sick until he was transferred to Company B, Nineteenth Regiment Veterans’ Reserve Corps, on August 9, 1864. It is quite possible that Shinar was a guard at the confederate prison at Elmira, New York, where he was mustered out on March 12, 1865.
After his discharge Shinar returned to his mother’s home in Newaygo County, and in fact he lived the rest of his life in Newaygo County.
He married New York native Eugenia Dickinson (1846-1914) on March 17, 1872, in Dayton, and they had at least 10 children: Reno S. (b. 1866), Nellie L. (b. 1868), Lester P. (b. 1871), Nettie E. (b. 1872), Kearney N. (b. 1874), Mary or Marie O. (b. 1877), Frank C. (b. 1879) William F.; and two children died in infancy.
After Eugenia died in 1914, Shinar married his sister-in-law (Eugenia’s sister) Mrs. Hannah Brooks (1852- 1929) in 1915.
After he returned home from the war Shinar added to his land holdings and by the early 1880s had accumulated about 360 acres, 200 of which were under cultivation. He held the offices of Highway Commission Inspector and Justice of the Peace.
He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic Henry Dobson post no. 182 in Fremont, as well as the Fremont Grange No. 49, and a Republican.
By 1880 he was working as a farmer and living in Dayton, Newaygo County, with his wife and children; next door lived one L. R. Preston, possibly a brother. He was in Fremont, Newaygo County in 1888 and in Dayton in 1890 and 1894. And by 1920 he was living with his seocnd wife Hannah in Fremont; and they were still living in Fremont in 1930.
He was living in Michigan in May of 1890 when he applied for and received a pension (no. 851385).
Shinar was a widower when he died of “senility” on November 11, 1932 at his home at 124 Elm Street in Fremont and was buried in Maple Grove cemetery, Fremont: block 4-414.