from Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa
Lewis Publishing Company of Chicago, 1887, Pp. 264-65
CAPTAIN ANDREW JOHNSTON
Captain Andrew JOHNSTON, one of the principal stock-breeders of Ringgold County, is a native of Jefferson
County, Ohio, born February 11, 1829. His parents were Michael and Jane (NIXON) JOHNSTON, his father born at
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, and his mother near Steubenville, Ohio. They located in Jefferson County after their
marriage, and when he was about ten years old they moved to Holmes County, where they lived fifteen years, and then
went to Knox County, and from there to Richland County, where the father died, aged sixty-seven years. The mother is
still living, now making her home in Ringgold County, where she has lived since 1876. Their family consisted of ten
children, eight of whom are living, Andrew being the eldest.
He was given a good education, attending some time the Wooster Academy, and also was a student of Ohio Wesleyan
University, at Delaware. His youth, when not in school, was spent in assisting his father on the farm, and in
teaching school, remaining at home until manhood.
He was married in Knox County, Ohio, June 10, 1855, to Phoebe RUSH, a native of that county. In September of the
same year they came to Iowa, and lived in Muscatine County the following winter, and in the spring of 1856 located
in Ringgold County, entering eighty acres of his present farm in Liberty Township, from the Government. He built a
house of round logs 16 x 18 feet in dimensions, in which he lived until able to have a better one. He went to work
to improve his land, doing the best he could with his limited means, and by perseverance was successful, and now owns
410 acres, which is well adapted to his present business of stock-breeding. For some time he engaged in general
farming, and then began dealing in sheep on a small scale. He gradually increased his stock until he had 700 head,
herding them on the prairie. At that time prairie wolves were troublesome, and he had no small difficulty in
protecting his sheep from their ravages. After engaging in that industry about fifteen years he disposed of his
sheep and turned his attention to short-horn cattle.
He purchased his first stock of cattle in 1866, of one of the principal stockmen of Iowa, Tim DAY, and later bought
of others. He now has over fifty thoroughbred cattle on his farm, all eligible to registry. Some of them are of fine
families, Young Mary being his favorite. He also has a number of very fine grade horses of the Percheron and
Clydesdale draught breed, and has been very successful in the various branches of stock-raising, and has gained a
wide reputation, extending beyond the limits of his own county.
In 1862 Captain JOHNSTON enlisted in the defense of his country, and was assigned to Company G, Twenty-ninth Iowa
Infantry. He was subsequently promoted to Lieutenant, and then to Captain of his company. He participated in the
battle at Helena, Arkansas, July 4, 1863, and the capture of Little Rock. Was with General STEELE on this Camden
expedition, and took part in the battle of Saline River, the siege of Mobile, Alabama, and thence to the Rio Grande
on the borders of Mexico. On account of sickness of the Colonel he commanded his regiment during the last month of
service. From there went to New Orleans, where he was mustered out in August, 1865. He was wounded twice, but not
severely, never being obliged to leave his regiment.
Since returning home he has served his county and township in several official capacities, and has made an efficient
and capable public officer, devoting the same care and attention to his duties that characterized his life as a
soldier. He has served one term as county superintendent of schools, and two terms, Fourteenth and Fifteenth General
Assembly, in the State Legislature.
Has served three terms as a member of the Board of Supervisors, being at the present writing a member of the Board.
His family has been four children, three of whom are living - Sophronia, Hattie, wife of Joseph Atwood, and Poe. A
son, Ray, died in early childhood.
The wife, Phoebe, after nearly thirty-one years of married life, died suddenly, from paralysis, April 17, 1886; thus
ending the history of this JOHNSTON family, as a united family among us. The Captain says that whatever of popularity
and character as a soldier and citizen he may have acquired, he must attribute a very large portion of his success
to his wife, who in courage and industry, as also in many of the finer qualities, he has always regarded as more
than his equal. "Without her I have no history."
NOTE: Captain Andrew JOHNSTON died December 19, 1917. Phoebe (RUSH) JOHNSTON was born
October 24, 1832, and died April 17, 1886. Captain and Phoebe JOHNSTON were interred at Johnston Cemetery
near Kellerton, Ringgold County, Iowa. Of Captain and Phoebe JOHNSTON's children:
Sophronia was born August 17, 1857, and died September 27, 1939. Harriet "Hattie" (JOHNSTON) ATWOOD
was born in 1860, and died in 1940. Hattie's husband Joseph E. ATWOOD was born in 1858, and died in 1947.
Poe was born in 1868, and died in 1949. Ray was born March 10, 1859, and died September 8, 1860. They were
interred at Johnston Cemetery near Kellerton, Ringgold County, Iowa.
Biography & Historical Record of Ringgold County, Iowa, Pp. 264-65, 1887.
WPA Graves Survey
Transcription and note by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2009
Biographical Sketches Pages Index: A - F,
G - L,
M - R, S - Z