In the mid 1700’s, Samuel Black purchased 600 acres of land in Draper’s Meadow. Black died in 1782 and his sons inherited his property. In 1797 one of his sons, William Black, donated thirty-eight acres of land for the establishment of a town. The thirty-eight acres were divided into a grid that is now referred to as the Sixteen Squares. A year later the Town of Blacksburg was incorporated with a little more than two dozen families. The population of Blacksburg in 1850 totaled 333 people, 63 of whom were slaves.
The Methodists established an academy in 1851 called the Olin and Preston Institute. It was rechartered in 1869 as the Preston and Olin Institute. Upon petition of the trustees of the institute and the pledge of $20,000 by Montgomery County, the Virginia legislature passed a bill in 1872 establishing the Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College in Blacksburg for white male students. Today it is known as Virginia Tech, a major university with over 25,000 students.
William Preston was about 45 years old when he moved his family to Smithfield in March of 1774. He and his wife had seven children at that time, five more children were born at Smithfield. Colonel Preston began at once to make Smithfield a productive and profitable plantation.
Smithfield Plantation Website