Biography - William H. Johnston

WILLIAM HENRY JOHNSTON. Although a resident of Johnson county for only two years, William Henry Johnston, of Bloomfield township, has spent his whole life in Southern Illinois, and has won recognition among the agriculturists here as a man who has brought the vocation of farming to a science. Years of experience have convinced him that scientific methods bring the best results, and the success that has attended his efforts is evidence of the justification of his belief. Mr. Johnston was born on a farm in Phillips township, White county, Illinois, December 7, 1851, and is a son of David and Matilda J. (Whiting) Johnston.

James Johnston, the grandfather of William Henry, was born in Ireland, and immigrated to the United States as a young man, settling first in Pennsylvania, where he was an overland teamster from Pittsburg to Philadelphia for some years. In 1820, or thereabouts he became a pioneer settler of White county, and the rest of his life was spent in agricultural pursuits. David Johnston was born in White county in 1827, and was there married to Matilda J. Whiting, a native of Posey county, Indiana. They had nine children, four of whom are living: David W., John E., Mrs. Ada M. Wilson and William Henry. Mr. and Mrs. David Johnston settled down in White county to carry on farming. When the Civil war broke out he enlisted in Company K, Eighty-seventh Regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry, but after one year of faithful service contracted chronic rheumatism and was discharged on account of disability. He returned to his farm and after recovering to some extent again took up the peaceful vocation of tilling the soil, continuing as a farmer until his death, which occurred December 14, 1886.

William Henry Johnston was educated in the common schools of White county, and until he was twenty-seven years of age resided on the old homestead. At that time he was married, and subsequently purchased a farm of one hundred and twenty acres, which he successfully operated until April 10, 1909. He then moved to his present property in Bloomfield township, which comprises one hundred and twenty acres of excellent soil, and here he has carried on general farming. Mr. Johnston has always believed in crop rotation, and wherever he has been located has made a careful study of soil and climatic conditions. The operation of the latest power farm machinery and the hundred and one things that go to make scientific farming, and without which no agriculturist can attain his full measure of success, have always claimed his careful attention, and he keeps himself abreast of the new discoveries and inventions by subscription to the leading farm journals. His life has been a busy one, but he has found leisure to have his share of enjoyment, and is a popular member of the Tribe of Ben Hur, the Mystic Workers of the World and the Odd Fellows at Crossville.

On April 24, 1879, Mr. Johnston was married to Mrs. Mary J. (Solomon) Mallett, who had one child by a former marriage, Mrs. Mary Cordelia Ramsey. Five children were born to this union: Chester Francis, who died in infancy; and Lillie Myrtle, John Henry, Ida Belle and Sarah Jane. Lillie Myrtle married, January 1, 1908, Clyde R. Crowder, of Johnson county, and has two children: Flora, born October 15, 1908; and Bernice. born November 10, 1910. John H. was married August 5, 1908, to Miss Bertha Wall, of White county, and now resides in Johnson county.

Mr. Johnston comes of good old Southern Illinois pioneer stock, and is a worthy representative of a family that has been identified with this section of the state for so many years. He has always proven himself a public-spirited citizen, and is at all times ready to lend his assistance to movements which he calculates will be of benefit to his community. His fellow-townsmen recognize his ability as an agriculturist, and his upright principles have surrounded him with a number of warm, personal friends.

Extracted 14 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, pages 708-709.

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