Vinton County Pioneers

Dust in the Attic

Vinton County Pioneers
Some biographies for neighboring Vinton County.

James C. Johnston


    Though the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio has large and varied natural resources that have given impetus to the development of important lines of industry, the prestige of the district as a center of effective agricultural enterprise has been continuously maintained at a high standard, with an intelligent, progressive and loyal contingent of citizens who have paid sturdy allegiance to the great basic industries of agriculture and stock-growing. In Vinton County one of the successful exponents of this important line of enterprise is James C. Johnston, who has been resident of Swan Township from the time of his birth and who was born and reared on the fine homestead farm, which he now owns and operates, in section 18. His status as a representative farmer and popular citizen of his native county well entitles him to definite recognition in this publication.

    Mr. Johnston was born on his present farmstead and the date of his nativity was April 24, 1872. He is a son of Thomas Johnston Jr., who was born in Perry County, this state, a son of Thomas Johnston, Sr. The latter was born and reared in Ireland, of staunch Scotch-Irish stock, and came to America when a young man, actuated largely by a desire to avoid military service in his native land. He voyaged to America on a sailing vessel of the type common to that period and in Pennsylvania was solemnized his marriage to Miss Tabitha Chamberlain, who was born and raised in that state. From the Keystone State they came to Ohio in an early day and numbered themselves among the pioneer settlers of Perry County, where Mr. Johnston obtained land and engaged in farming. Owing to its title being clouded, he finally lost this property, and he then removed with his family to Hocking County, where he improved a good farm and where he and his wife passed the residue of their lives, their remains being interred in the Fairview Cemetery or old-time churchyard in that county, and both having been earnest members of the Baptist Church; in politics Mr. Johnston gave allegiance to the Whig party, and his death occurred prior to the Civil War. Of the children James, Andrew and Thomas, Jr., became substantial citizens of Ohio and all married and reared children, as did also the four daughters of the family, all of the children being now deceased.

    Thomas Johnston, Jr., was born in Perry County, Ohio, July 18,1822, and was a young man at the time the family removal to Hocking County, of which Vinton County was then an integral part. In 1852, in what is now Vinton County, he wedded Miss Jane G. Fee, who was born here on the 9th of April 1832, a member of one of the sterling pioneer families of the county, where she was reared and educated, and where she passed her entire life. Mrs. Johnston was a daughter of John and Sarah C. (Brewer) Fee, both natives of Pennsylvania and both Scotch-Irish ancestry. They were early settlers of that part of Hocking County, Ohio, that later was segregated there from to form Vinton County, and here they passed the remainder of their lives, Mrs. Fee having died October 17, 1835, while comparatively a young woman, and he having attained to the age of seventy years, his death having occurred March 6, 1878. They reared the following children: Sandford, John, Jane, Sarah C., Christina, Sallie A. and Margaret.

    Thomas Johnston, Jr., and his young wife began their married life in Vinton County,  where for a number of years he operated a grist mill near Zaleski, on Raccoon Creek. There were born to them seven children: John , Sanford, Sarah E., Margaret, Doretta, Thomas P. and James C. In 1871 the family removed to the homestead farm now owned and occupied by James C. Johnston, of this sketch, the same being situated near the Village of Creola. Here Mr. Johnston purchased somewhat more than four hundred and twenty acres of well improved land, effectively watered and drained by Raccoon Creek and Brushy Fork. Here Thomas Johnston engaged vigorously and successfully in diversified farming and stock-growing, with special attention given to the raising od sheep, and he made excellent improvements on the farm, including the erection of a substantial nine room house, a good bank barn, 50 x 40 feet in dimensions, and other excellent buildings which mark the model farmstead at the present time. He was one of the representative farmers and influential citizens of Swan Township until the time of his death, which occurred on the 20th of November, 1910, and his loved and devoted wife having been summoned to the life eternal on the 15th of February, 1906, Mrs. Johnston having been a devoted member of the Bible Christian Church at Creola and he having contributed liberally to the support of the same, as well as to other objects tending to conserve the moral and general civic well being of the community, his political allegiance having been given to the republican party. The subject of this review is the youngest of the children, all of whom are married and well established in life, and he and Thomas P. are the only ones of the number born on the homestead which he now owns and occupies.

    James C. Johnston is indebted to the schools of his native county for his early educational discipline and from his youth to the present time has been closely associated with the work and management of the fine farm of which he is now the owner. By purchase and inheritance he came into possession of the major part of the large landed estate here accumulated by his father, and as a progressive agriculturist and stock-grower he is doing much to maintain the high prestige of farm enterprise in his native county, where he is well known and commands unequivocal popular esteem. In politics he holds tenaciously to the faith that has prevailed in the Johnston family and is a staunch advocate and supporter of the principles and policies for which the republican party has ever stood sponsor in a basic way. All his brothers likewise are staunch republicans and all are affiliated with the time-honored Masonic fraternity, in which he himself holds membership in the lodge and chapter of the York Rite at McArthur and with the Council of Royal and Select Masters at Logan, Hocking County. Mr. Johnston is active and appreciative as a member of the Masonic fraternity and has passed the various official chairs in his lodge of the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.

    On April 29th in the year 1908 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Johnston to Miss Alta Stuck, who was born in Richland Township, Vinton County, on the 10th of May, 1886, and who is a daughter of Eugene and Dana (Cozad) Stuck, the former of whom was born in Virginia and the latter in Ohio, in which the latter state their marriage was solemnized in Fayette County. Shortly after their marriage was Mr. and Mrs. Stuck removed to Vinton County and settled on a farm in Richland Township, where they still maintain their home. Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have five children: Thomas, Mary D., John F., Earl and Carrie J.

The History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1916; pages 1118-1120, Vol. II

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