Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Preston's Earlier Pioneers

Edward Myers Preston

Two of the earliest people in the Preston School of Industry's history were Edward Myers Preston and E. Carl Bank. Edward Myers Preston was born around 1842, in Michigan. He later lived in Nevada City and worked as a banker. As a Grand Master Mason, he presided over the Masonic Grand Lodge. He was also a very politically inclined man, becoming a State Senator in California. 

On January 29, 1889, he introduced the Senate Bill No. 402, establishing a state reform school at Folsom. Later the plan was changed from Folsom to Ione, California, where the Preston School of Industry was built. E.M. Preston died on April 24, 1903, at the age of 61, and was buried with his wife and young child at the Masonic Cemetery at Pine Grove in Nevada City, California. 

E. Carl Bank was the very first Superintendent of the Preston School of Industry. Various newspaper reports gave credit to E. Carl Bank for petitioning the state for the minor boys to be placed in his care for the "reform school." However, records indicate that E.M. Preston who was the President of the Board of Trustees that presided over the school and he was the one who got the "ball rolling" so-to-speak. Thus, the reason the school was named after Preston.

E. Carl Bank (SF Call)
E. Carl Bank was appointed Superintendent by the Board of Trustees, E.M. Preston, Adam Andrews and Fayette Mace. Bank took office as Superintendent as of November 11, 1893 before the school technically “opened.”  It was reported that Bank took a fondness to the eight boys he moved to Preston when it opened. He considered them his “little companions” and took them with him all over town. His wife also took a liking to the youngsters and they considered them part of the Bank family.

Bank had prior experience running successful boys reform schools in both Michigan and Pennsylvania. First working as Superintendent at the Michigan Reform School in Lansing, and later as the Superintendent at the Philadelphia House of Refuge in 1884, where he and his wife resided.

After running Preston for about three years, in May of 1897, E. Carl Bank was removed as Superintendent purely for “Political Reasons.” It was stated that there were never any records proven to be true of misconduct by Bank, and that he was a loyal and faithful Superintendent to the institution. There had been some accusations made by disgruntled former employees, which were never proven to be valid.

E.M. Preston voted against the displacement of Bank but the other two Trustees voted him out 2 to 1. The man to replace Bank was none other than Dr. E.S. O’Brien, a Democrat from Merced. Preston’s very words were quoted saying:

“ This is the first time politics has entered into the management of the school…..I regard it as unfortunate for the school and for the State. I do not know that the newly appointed Superintendent has had any experience in the management of reformatory institutions. I think that question was not considered.”

The plain and simple fact for O’Brien moving into the position of Superintendent was because he “wanted it.” Due to the fact he knew people in high places and because of his political ties he was able to “boot” E.Carl Bank out of the very position he had created.----

(© Copyright 2012-2015, J’aime Rubio, Originally published either on blog “Dreaming Casually” by J’aime Rubio, or in the book "Behind The Walls- A Historical Exposé of The Preston School of Industry” by author, J’aime Rubio.)

All rights reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission by the author/publisher, J’aime Rubio. 

Copyright: J'aime Rubio

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