1699–1752, colonial governor
of North Carolina (1734–52). An efficient and popular Scot, he
nevertheless had constant difficulties with the assembly over quitrents
and other financial matters and several times dissolved that body. During
his administration numerous land grants to immigrants were issued, free
schools were established, and Wilmington was developed.
County was formed in 1746 from Craven. It was named in honor of Gabriel
Johnston, Governor of North Carolina. It is in the eastern section of the
state and is bounded by Wilson, Wayne, Sampson, Cumberland, Harnett, Wake
and Nash counties.