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Ringgold County Biographical Sketches

Biographical and Historical Record of Ringgold and Decatur Counties, Iowa
Lewis Publishing Company, 1887. pp. 248 - 249.


"Joshua E. JOHNSTON, deceased, was born in Venango County, Pennsylvania, March 29, 1828, a son of Anthony and Mary Johnston. He remained on the home farm until manhood, where he was reared to agricultural pursuits.

October 3, 1851, he was united in marriage to Miss Jane Deets, who was a native of the same county as her husband. Mr. Johnston followed farming in his native county till the year 1858, when he came to Iowa, and after residing in Chickasaw County for six years he came to Ringgold County, and settled on the farm in Liberty Township, which is still occupied by his widow and family.

His first purchase in this county was eighty acres of raw prairie land, which he improved, and at the time of his death had 260 acres of well-cultivated land, besides twenty acres of timber land. He was very successful in his agricultural pursuits, both in his farming and stock-raising, having his farm well stocked with cattle and horses.

His death was the result of an accident, which occurred on the 24th of July, 1886. While driving to Tingley with his wife and two other ladies, his team took fright at a binder by the way, and ran away, resulting in the fatal injury to himself and the serious injury of his wife. One of the ladies was badly hurt; the other escaped with slight injuries. He was taken into the school-house nearby, and carefully nursed by friends, neighbors, and the fraternity of Odd Fellows, to which he belonged. He hovered between life and death for sixteen days, most of the time in an unconscious state, dying August 9, in the school-house.

The day following his death a large procession of citizens carried him to his home, the funeral services being conducted by Rev. William Brown of the United Presbyterian church, at Eugene, who preached the sermon from I Cor. vii:29-31. Rev. Main, of Tingley, followed with a few appropriate words, presenting the deceased as a good citizen, generous and benevolent, after which the order of Odd Fellows took charge and had their usual service.

He was followed to his grave by a large concourse of friends, the procession consisting of 133 teams, 175 horses, and 335 people. A large delegation of Odd Fellows came from Mt. Ayr and other places. Mr. Johnston was fifty-eight years old when he died, and was a man who stood high in the estimation of his neighbors, and his death was a source of universal regret throughout the township.

He left a wife and seven children, all grown, to mourn his loss; the names of the children being as follows - Winfield S., Frances, wife of H. Fender; Myron A., now living in Omaha, Nebraska; Sarah L., Joseph R., Henry N. and Mary."

Submitted to the Ringgold County IAGenWeb Project by Christy Jay, email:






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