John Hossack: Abolitionist, Underground Railway Railroad Conductor and Station Master, Canal Builder, Merchant, Fugitive Slave Law Violator, Spark for the Civil War.


Nathan R Preston

John Hossack of Ottawa, Illinois.  Abolitionist, Underground Railway Conductor, Canal Builder.  Grain and Lumber Merchant.  Crusader for Human Rights and Liberty.  Man of God.  He feared God and loved his Fellow Man.



I can dig it! bumper sticker

Home Up Hossack History Hossack Memorial Bk. HossackGenealogy F.N.Hossack Letter H.L.Hossack Letter Clan Septs The Columns Home Preston Speech Duffus Ottawa Visit Jim Gray Case Bibliography LINKS Cactus Language e2save

Search for:

Hit Counter


More on Nathan Robinson Preston


Bamberg became his second home:
Commemoration of the 25th Anniversary of the death of Nathan R. Preston on April 16.
With a ceremony at Bamberg Cemetery on 16 April at 4:00 PM Bamberg citizens will commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the death of U.S. military governor Nathan R. Preston.

The public is cordially invited to attend the commemoration at the grave site (the way there is signposted). Nathan R. Preston is regarded as the Bamberg personification of German-American friendship. From about 1949 as Resident Officer until 1952. During his term as Military Governor  and District Commander of the U.S. forces in Bamberg and from 1949 as Resident Officer until 1952 he acquired the reputation as the most popular American in the city.

Therefore he helped the early transfer of administrative operations by the military authorities to the German civilian authorities, the reconstruction of the city police, in the release of seized schools, sports facilities and housing, reconstruction and the re-establishment of civil associations, particularly the citizens clubs, as well as on the integration of homeless displaced persons and for the creation of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.

Bamberg became Preston's second home. Even after his farewell in 1952 he returned at least once a year, until 1969 he finally moved to the Regnitz, where he died in 1983 at the age of 67 years.

He had tirelessly worked until his death to continue to strengthen German-American friendship. As part of the commemoration, the U.S. Base Commander  Lt. Colonel Gary Rosenberg and Bamberg Mayor Andreas Starke placed a wreath at the grave.

Nathan R. Preston - Foto Stadtarchiv Bamberg









Photo: City Archives Bamberg

For additional information on the subject:

Herr Steffen Schützwohl
Pressestelle / Öffentlichkeitsarbeit  
Pressesprecher, RathausJournal, Broschüren s
Maximiliansplatz 3  
D-96047 Bamberg  
0951 / 87-1022 0951 / 87-1022
0951 / 87-1960 0951 / 87-1960

Nathan R. Preston


ROKAL - Importeur in den USA ROKAL - Importer in the U.S.


A study of of ROKAL would be incomplete without a report on Nathan R. Preston.

Preston was the American importer of ROKAL-TT.  Before he built his company two other companies tried the sale of ROKAL:

For one, the Polk Brothers, New York. Nathan Polk, Nathan Polk, manager of Aristo-Craft, is the son of one of these brothers.  The Polk brothers also had over the years a great hobby store in the center of Manhattan. Rokal was distributed under the Aristo-Craft name ca 1953-1956. See catalogue)

There was also a Canadian company, which distributed Rokal for a few years in the very early'50s.

Preston took over distribution to 1961 or 1962

Preston (right) and Winkler (center) on the Chicago Toy and Hobby Fair 1962.
Photo: Hal Carstens, Railroad Model Craftsman - Use released here on  December 12, 2005. Thank you!

Preston (center) and Winkler (left) on the Chicago Fair 1962.
Photo: Hal Carstens, Railroad Model Craftsman - Use released here on December 12, 2005. Thank you!

Published advertisements by Preston date to 1965. Preston imported until the model train production by ROKAL ceased.

Family traditions report that Preston a "hero" of World War II. The family legend says, Preston had alone with his driver and a machine gun and Jeep, liberated and held for Patton's advancing troops the city of Bamberg.  There is some evidence for these reports: Finally it was the end of the war and given the unstable conditions, the Germans were probably happier to see two Americans with a weapon as hundreds of Russian troops with Kalaschnikovs.

In any case, Preston remained after the war as a military adviser in the Bamberg area.  Eventually, possibly in 1962, he was led to his relationship with ROKAL in  Des Plaines, Illinois (USA) where he built his distributorship.

He did this with the help of his partner Leo Winkler, with whom he resided in Bamberg.

Preston (left), his nephew and brother Bill (right) with a furry friend (middle).
Photo for publication provided by the Preston family.

Preston was of particular interest because it is based on the German toy market.  He also imported Kle-Wei, Pola and others, as well as temporarily Mini-Trix. Preston had the same problem that other distributors, namely that direct purchase was cheaper in Germany, which today (2005) is even more so.

In any case, the Germans were on the strong dollar at that time and very interested in the American market.  As they advanced, they all have the same problem: a German product. "We have a great model railway and you will buy" The Americans but asks: "What is the use of this product?"

Anyway, Rokal in America was difficult to sell. First, because the trains were expensive and, ultimately, because N scale emerged and won the scale race.

As ROKAL the production stopped, Preston and Winkler returned to Bamberg. They stayed in the toy industry and founded NRP hobbies.  With a shop and mail order.

This is a translation of a page of the homepage of Riley O'Connor, using additional information in this U.S. toy retailer. He kindly allowed me to post December 10, 2005.

Hit Counter

This website is produced by Jay W. Preston to honor John Hossack, the Abolitionist of Ottawa, Illinois.  The father dedicates this to his son, Yujin Jay Preston (1979-1999), daughter Elika, and daughter Yuli, great great great grandchildren of John Hossack. Permission to reprint this material is granted when this notice is included in full.  © 2000 - 2010 Jay W. Preston.  For information, comments or contributions of time, money, information, materials, or manpower to this site: E-mail Copyrights of works cited, quoted, or excerpted remain with the respective owners, if not in public domain.