History of Fremont and Mills Counties, Iowa - J

Fremont County >> 1901 Index

History of Fremont and Mills County, Iowa
Chicago: Lewis Pub. Co., 1901.


John H. Johnston, is a well known factor in commercial interests in Randolph, where he is a member of the firm of S. T. Rhode & Company, extensive dealers in lumber, hardware, agricultural implements and wind pumps. He was born near Quebec, Canada, on the 19th of August, 1831, and is of Irish lineage, his career exhibiting many of the sterling traits of the Irish race. His parents, Joseph and Mary A. (Lackey) Johnston, were both natives of the Emerald Isle, the former having been born in county Monaghan, in the northern part of the island, while the later was born in the southern portion in county Westmeath. Both became residents of Canada in early life. Their parents were farming people of the old country, and James Lackey, the maternal grandfather of our subject, served for many years in the British army, being stationed for a part of the time in Canada. Joseph Johnston, the paternal grandfather, was a farmer of Ireland and there spent his entire life. His children were all reared on the green isle and all remained residents of that country save two sons, John and Joseph, who crossed the briny deep to Canada. The former was married there and reared a family, all of whom have now passed on.

Joseph Johnston, Sr., was educated in Ireland and remained in that country until twenty years of age, when he sought a home in the new world. At farm and other labor he was employed until he could secure a home of his own. After having resided in Canada for about ten years he was married and located upon land which he had previously purchased and which was improved with a small clearing and a little home. The place was a timber tract, however, and earnest labor was required in order to clear and cultivate it, but his efforts resulted in the development of an excellent farm, upon which he remained until 1854 - the year of his removal to Mercer county, Illinois. There he again purchased a large farm, and was a well known representative of agricultural pursuits in that community until March 26, 1865, when he was called to his final rest. He carried on general farming and stock-raising, and his honest dealing and indefatigable energy enabled him to acquire a handsome competence. While residing in Canada he served as an officer in the militia, but in Illinois was content to quietly perform the duties of a private citizen without seeking official honors of any kind. Both he and his wife were members of the Episcopal church. His death occurred at the age of seventy-two and his widow still survives him, although she has passed the ninety-four milestone on life's journey. After the marriage of her children and the death of her husband, the old homestead in Mercer county, Illinois, was sold, and since 1877 she has been a resident of Fremont county. Here she purchased a small farm, but afterward disposed of that and now occupies a comfortable dwelling in Randolph, which is numbered among her property possessions. Hers has been a useful career, characterized by earnest Christian principles and by unwavering fidelity to the duties of a wife and mother. She has reared a family of children who do honor to her name and of whom the following is the record: John is the eldest; Joseph resides in the city of Rock Island, Illinois; James makes his home in Kingfisher, Oklahoma; Mrs. Elizabeth Jingles is living on a farm in Fremont county; Mary is the wife of James Dickman, of Rock Island; Isabella married J. Allely; Frank died in Omaha, Nebraska, leaving five children; Jennie is the wife of M. Allely, of Fremont county; William is a prominent business man of Randolph; and Isaac died in Omaha, Nebraska, leaving four children, two now living.

The boyhood days of John H. Johnston were quietly passed under the parental roof. He received a good, practical education in the common schools of Canada, and when twenty-three years of age accompanied his parents on their removal to Illinois, where he assisted in the development of his father's farm. He afterward rented land and engaged in farming on his own account, also working at the carpenter's trade. In 1856 he was married and two years later he removed to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he followed carpentering and for four years was an overseer on a sugar plantation. Returning to the Crescent city, he was then engaged in ship-carpentering and was also employed in a sugar refinery. During the war of the rebellion the Confederates compelled him to join the home guards. He had to drill in the evening twice each week, but he managed to keep out of all battles, and when Farragut reached that portion of the country his compulsory military service was ended.

He continued to work at his trade until 1883, when he came to Fremont county, Iowa, and purchased a farm, which he operated for two years. He then rented his place and came to Randolph and here resumed work at carpentering. At first he lived in a rented house, but afterward erected a commodious residence, which has since been his home. Selling his farm, he invested the proceeds in business here and is now a member of the firm of S. T. Rhode & Company, dealers in lumber, hardware and agricultural implements. They have an extensive trade, which is constantly increasing, and they enjoy an unassailable reputation for honesty in business circles. Mr. Johnston also owns the brick bank building of the town, and is now comfortably situated in good financial circumstances. He also owns some vacant lots in Omaha.

Mr. Johnston was first married in Illinois, in 1856, the lady of his choice being Miss Ann J. Mains, who was born in Baltimore and went to Illinois during her girlhood with her parents, Hugh and Jennie Mains, both of whom were natives of Ireland. The father devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits and he and his wife died in Mercer county, Illinois. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were born two children. Joseph E., who was reared by his grandmother in Illinois, came to Fremont county, was here married, and then purchased and operated a farm. In 1883 he left the county and his present place of residence is unknown. Elizabeth, the younger child is the wife of Burdick Wood, a farmer of Illinois. Mr. Johnston was again married, in New Orleans, January 18, 1864, his second union being with Mary A. McPeake, who was born in Coleraine, Ireland, April 30, 1841, and during her childhood came to the United States with her parents, John and Lithgo McPeake, who took up their abode in New Orleans. Her father was a shoemaker and long followed that trade. Both parents died in 1858 of yellow fever. They were members of the Episcopal church, and had ten children; Samuel, who died in New Orleans; William, of Philadelphia; John, of New York; Martha, who became the wife of R. W. Phillips and died in Mississippi; Mrs. Johnston; Thomas B., of New Orleans; Charles and Robert, both deceased; Matilda, who has passed away; and Sally who married but is now deceased.

Unto Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were born nine children; Mary, who was born July 9, 1865, and died August 27, 1872; John R., who was born May 19, 1867, and died August 1, 1872; Sarah J., who was born December 30, 1868, and is the wife of Frank Mozack; James D., who was born July 31, 1871, and died on the 5th of July 1872; William M., who was born August 13, 1873, and died August 10, 1878; Martha L., who was born December 17, 1875, and died June 22, 1876; Emily, born August 15, 1879; Francis I., born May 19, 1882; and Alice A., who was born June 23, 1884, the only child of the family who is a native of Fremont county.

Both parents were reared in the Episcopal faith and are yet adherents of that denomination. While at New Orleans Mr. Johnston belonged to the Ship Carpenters Association, also to the Protestant Benevolent Association. In politics he has always been a stalwart Democrat, but has never been an aspirant for office. Mr. Johnston's actions have during his life been such as to distinctively entitle him to a place in this publication, and although his career has not been filled with thrilling incidents, probably no biography published in this book can serve as a better illustration to young men of the power of honesty and integrity in insuring success.

William C. Johnston

Mr. Johnston has a remarkable record, and from the study of his life history one may learn valuable lessons. The spirit of self-help is the source of all genuine worth in the individual and is the means of bringing to man success when he has no advantages of wealth or influence to aid him. It illustrates in no uncertain manner what it is possible to accomplish when perseverance and determination form the keynote to a man's life. Depending on his own resources, looking for no outside aid or support, he has risen from comparative obscurity to a place of prominence both in the commercial and political world. The town of Randolph owes much to him on account of hs connection with her business interests, and in the early days of his residence in Fremont county he was a prominent factor in agricultural circles. Mr. Johnston was born near Quebec, Canada, September 22, 1851. His paternal grandfather, Joseph Johnston, Sr., was a farmer and died in Ireland, his native land. All of his children remained in that country with the exception of his two sons, John and Joseph, who crossed the Atlantic to Canada. The former followed farming and reared his family in the English province, and all of his children have now passed away.

Joseph Johnston, Jr., the father of our subject, was born in county Monaghan, Ireland, and when twenty years of age came to the new world, taking up his abode in Canada, where he followed any pursuit that would yield him an honest living. He devoted much of his time to the work of a farm hand and saved as much of his earnings as possible. Ten years later he married Miss Mary Ann Lackey, a native of the south of Ireland, born in Westmeath, whence she came to America in early life, but in the meantime Mr. Johnston had purchased a tract of land on which the young couple began their domestic life. A small home was erected upon the place and a portion of the land had been cleared, but much of it was covered with timber and it required hard labor to clear, develop and improve it. However, with characteristic energy the father resolutely set to the task and there remained until after the birth of all of his ten children. In 1854 he sold the property and removed to Illinois, taking up his abode in Mercer county, where he purchased a large farm of fine land, becoming one of the leading and influential agriculturists of tht community. He carried on general farming and stock-raising and his labors were attended with prosperity. His business career was also characterized by honest dealings and his name became the synonym for integrity in business transactions. He was a man rather under medium size, but was quite athletic and strong. While living in Canada he was an officer in the militia. He continued to make his home on his Illinois farm until his death, which occured March 30, 1865, when he was seventy-two years of age. He was a broad-minded and intelligent man, possessing good business qualifications, whereby he acquired a very desirable estate. He was of a social nature, yet was quiet in demeanor and never aspired to public office or notoriety. The people of the community found him a good neighbor and the poor and needy an assisting friend. He was hopeful in his views of life, did all he could to better the condition of the human race and his own sterling integrity and honor left a strong impress for good upon all with whom he came in contact. His widow still survives him at the ripe old age of ninety-four years, having been born June 23, 1807. She is a large woman, of strong constitution, and has done her share of hard work in the world. After her children were born and married she sold the old homestead and came to Fremont county, Iowa, in 1877, in order to be near her children, who were living in this locality. Here she purchased a small farm, which she afterward sold, and erected a comfortable residence in Randolph, which has since been her place of abode. She yet supervises the work of her own home, and now in the full enjoyment of a well-spent life she is surrounded by many of her children, who are prominent citizens of the community and do honor to her name. She too, is a member of the Episcopal church. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Johnston were born the following named: John, a leading business man of Randolph; Joseph, who is living in Rock Island, Illinois; James, who became a resident of Madison, Nebraska; Elizabeth, wife of William Jingles, a farmer of Fremont county; Mary Ann, wife of James Dickman, of Rock Island, Illinois; Isabel, wife of J. Allely, a prominent agriculturist of Fremont county; Frank, who died at Omaha, Nebraska, in 1891, leaving a family of five children; Jennie, wife of M. Allely, an agriculturist of Fremont county; William C., of this review; and Isaac, who died in Omaha, leaving two children.

William C. Johnston was only three years of age when, in 1854, his parents removed from their Canada home to Mercer county, Illinois, where he was reared to manhood. He acquired a common school education, remaining under the parental roof until 1875, assisting in the work of the home farm. He was then married, after which he located upon a farm and raised one crop in the Prairie state. In 1876 he came to Iowa, establishing a home in Fremont county. He had but a small amount of money at the time, and is practically a self made man. He first purchased a tract of raw land from the government, making arrangements to pay for the same at a future date. His earnest labor and his excellent management enabled him to meet the payments at the required time, and his unflagging energy and honorable dealing brought to him continued success as the years passed by. He now owns three hundred and twenty acres for meadow and for pasturage purposes. Upon the place is a commodious home, substantial barn, good orchard and all other modern improvements which constitute the model farm of the twentieth century. He carried on general farming and also did some trading, but fed much of the products of his farm to his stock. Of late years he has rented his land, having in 1886 removed from the farm to Randolph, where he has a commodious residence, one of the most attractive homes of the city. He has since been numbered among the leading business men of the place. He engages in trading and also owns and conducts a large livery business, having two extensive barns. He has a block of eleven lots and also considerable improved property which he rents, including the Grand Hotel. He likewise rents a block of land adjoining the stockyards and on it he has a fine race track. Residence property in Omaha also belongs to him and brings a good rental, thus materially increasing his income. He is widely recognized as a progressive and prominent business man and an excellent financier, occupying a leading position in commercial circles and commanding the confidence and respect of all who know him.

Mr. Johnston was united in marriage to Miss Ruth I. Hasbrook, who was born in Mercer county, Illinois, December 3, 1856, and is a lady of intelligence and culture, belonging to one of the early families of that locality. Her parents, Thomas and Louisa (Wood) Has brook, were natives of Germany, and the former was a farmer by occupation. He removed to Texas and served in the Confederate army at the time of the Civil war. After the close of hositlities he started to return to Illinois, but died in his wagon while on the trip. The family continued on their way to the Prairie state, where they remained until after the children were grown when the mother made her home with her sons and daughters. Her death occurred in Nebraska. She was twice married, her first husband having been a Mr. Tennie. By that marriage she had three children, namely: Mrs. Emma Hasbrook; Mrs. Fannie Pierce; and Permilia, wife of W. Whan. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Hasbrook were born five children: Mary, wife of W. Huett; Effie, wife of J. Clark; Kate, wife of J. Weaver; Ruth, the wife of our subject and Minnie, wife of H. Jackson. The mother of this family was a member of the Baptist church.

The marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Johnston was blessed with eight children; Joseph T., who was born January 6, 1876; William T., born August 19, 1877; Leonard O., born March 9, 1880; Jennie Isabel, born December 1, 1885; Gertrude R., born April 4, 1888; Edith May, born June 20, 1890; Eva B., born June 11, 1893; and Ida Jessamine, born August 24, 1898. Mr. Johnston is an influential member of the Democratic party in Fremont county, and exerts his influence with telling effect in support of its principles. He served in the office of postmaster of Randolph for four years in a manner entirely satisfactory to the people of the community, but has ever been very modest in his demands, not asking for political reward for his services, which were given to the party because he believed in its principles as most conductive to good government. His life is that of a thorough going business man. He is particularly prompt in keeping his business engagements and expects the same consideration of others. Many of his associates testify in strong terms to his kindness of heart, finding in him not only a safe advisor, but also one whose counsel is not that of words alone.

Arnold Jolly, M. D.

Since 1894 Doctor Jolly has been engaged in the practice of medicine and surgery in Hamburg and has gained a foremost position as a representative of his chosen profession.  He was born in Birmingham, Alabama, July 25, 1861, and is a member of one of the old and prominent families of the south.  The Jollys were originally from Virginia and were of Scotch and French lineage.  Permeated with a spirit of patriotism and loyalty,  members of the family aided the country in its important wars, the great-grandfather of our subject serving in the Revolution, while the grandfather aided his country in the war of 1812.  They were alike prominent in days of peace, actively connected with important events which went to form the early history of the Old Dominion.

Colonel J. J. Jolly, the father of our subject, was a distinguished stateman and a gallant officer in the Civil war.  When the trouble between the north and the south culminated in hostilities he joined the Forty-third Alabama Infantry and loyally supported the cause which he believed to be just and right.  He afterward became a well-known figure in political circles and in 1881 received the nomination for governor of Alabama.  He was elected by the vote of the people but before the time came for him to take the oath of office he was called to his final rest, passing away at the age of forty-six years.  He was well fitted for leadership, being a man of strong mentality, of sterling worth, broad-minded and public spirited, and his deep and sincere interest in the welfare and progress of his state was manifest in his loyal devotion to every cause which he believed would prove of general good.  His widow bore the maiden name of Sue W. Richardson and was a member of a prominent southern family.  Her brother, Major James D. Richardson, was an eminent and well-known statesman of Tennessee.  Unto Governor Jolly and his wife were born the following named children: Arnold, whose name introduces this record; McKee G. Jolly, a manufacturer of Birmingham, Alabama; James R., a minister of the Gospel; Mrs. Van Hook, of Richmond, Virginia; Sue R.; Juliet, the wife of  S. Perry, a wholesale tobacco merchant; and Jacqueline, who is residing in Atlanta, Georgia 

Reared amid the refining influences of a cultured home, Dr. Jolly also received exceptionally good educational privileges, pursuing his studies in the University of Alabama and in Tuscaloosa College.  He read medicine under the direction of Dr. Ed H. Sholl, a prominent and well-known physician of Alabama, and after completing his preparation for the calling which he makes his life work he engaged in practice in Birmingham.  Soon he won prominence and his skill and ability secured him an appointment to the position of chief of the largest hospital in the state, its location being in his native city.  He acted in that capacity from 1887 until 1894, and at the same time was the surgeon for three different mining companies, two street railway companies and two railroad companies.  He remained in practice in Alabama until 1894 when, on account of ill-health, he sought a change of climate and established his home in Hamburg, Iowa.  It was not long before he gained a large and distinctively representative patronage.  In the line of his profession he has long since left the ranks of the many to stand among the successful few, for, added to his comprehensive knowledge of the science of medicine is an abiding sympathy without which success is never attained in the line of medical practice.

Dr. Jolly was married in February, 1887, in Marengo county, Alabama, to Miss Euphradia Johnston, a lady of culture and refinement, whose family is one of distinction in the south.  Her father, General George D. Johnston, was a gallant officer in the Civil war, representing his district in the state senate of Alabama, and was also in the civil service.  The Doctor and his wife now have an interesting little son, Arnold B., who is ten years of age.  Dr. Jolly is a valued representative of the Knights of Pythias fraternity, and belongs to both the subordinate lodge and encampment of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  He is the surgeon for the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy and the Kansas City, St. Joseph & Council Bluffs Railroad Companies.  His manner is courtly, genial and kindly and his home partakes of the old time southern hospitality.  A man of broad general culture and unfailing courtesy, his companionship is much to be desired and the circle of his friends is very extensive.