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Commemorative Biographical Record of the County of Kent, Ontario
Donald Johnstone

DONALD JOHNSTON, a prosperous farmer residing on the Creek Road, in Concession 6, Lot 7, Harwich Township, County of Kent, was born on his present farm June 8th, 1842, son of John and Anna (Vale) Johnston, early settlers of the country.

John Johnston was born in the hills of Scotland, while his wife was born in Ontario, where she was reared and married.  mr. and Mrs. Johnston settled in the home now occupied by ther son Daniel, and started their married life as pioneers of the County of Kent.  In the midst of the dense forests Mr. Johnston erected a little log house, where he resided until his death, in 1851, when he left his young wife with five small children and a practically uncleared farm.  Heroic and self-sacrificing, the widowed mother remained with her family (the oldest of whom was only 9 years of age) in the woods, and by almost incredible hard labour, helped by her sons as they grew older, she managed to exist.  Long before he was old enough Donald, the eldest, occupied a man's place in the world.  The other children were as follows:  Betsey, born in 1844, married John Everett, a farmer on the river road in Howard Township.  John, born in 1846, was reared in the old homestead, but settled in Thamesville, where he worked at his trade of blacksmith:  he married Harriet Hubbel of that city, but had no children.  Duncan, born in 1848, was reared at the homestead, settled in Ridgetown, and worked for many years as a harnessmaker; he married Miss Maggie Campbell, of Howard township.  Mary, born in 1850, married Robert Colter, and they settled in Harwich township, near Donald Johnston, where both died leaving no family.  The mother of this family died at the home of her son Donald in 1882, aged 61 years.

Donald Johnston was educated in the little log schoolhouse in the acre lot, but was not able to devote much time to his studies, his services being required on the farm.  In March, 1883, he married Miss Eliza Smith, daughter of Robert and Agnes (Morrow) Smith, old and prominent residents of the county, who were both born in Ireland and came to Canada when young.  Mrs. Johnston was born June 14th, 1854, in Harwich township, where she received a fine education.  After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Johnston settled on the Johnston homestead.  Two children have been born to them:  John R., born in 1886, is a student in the home schools; and Edith M., born in December, 1888, is now a student of the Chatham Collegiate Institute.  Politically Mr. Johnston has always been identified with the Reform Party, and has held of the office of school trustee of Harwich township many years.  Religiously he and his wife are consistent members of St Paul's Presbyterian Church, of which he was one of the founders, donating the lot for the church edifice from his farm.  He is also a deacon and elder of the church and is one of its best supporters.  Mr. Johnston is a man highly esteemed and beloved by all who know him for his kindly disposition and charities.  He is a man of unswerving integrity, and is always actuated by motives of honesty in his relations with his fellowmen.

p.261, 262

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