Biography of Harry L. Johnston
Napa County, CA Biographies





HARRY LEWIS JOHNSTON.
No member of the Napa county bar occupies a higher position in the estimation of the people than does Harry Lewis Johnston, senior member of the well known law firm of Harry L. and Leslie E. Johnston. During his years of practice here he has built up a large and representative clientele and is regarded as an exceptionally safe counselor. He is a native son of the state of California, having been born in Marin county on the 29th day of June, 1869, and is the son of Finis Ewing and Sarah Lee (Lewis) Johnston, both of whom were natives of the state of Missouri. His father, who was born in 1843, crossed the plains to California in 1862 and his mother crossed the plains in the pony express coaches, the first woman to make the trip in that way. She brought her two babies with her and was nineteen days on the way.

Finis E. Johnston studied law in the office of Cope & Dangerfield in San Francisco and was admitted to the state and federal courts without examination, a distinction borne by no other lawyer in the state of California. He located in Napa, where he was engaged in the active practice of his profession from 1868 to 1917, when he retired, and his death occurred here on May 13, 1920. For many years W. W. Prendegrast was his law partner and the firm of Prendegrast & Johnston was one of the most successful and widely known in the northern part of the state. Mr. Johnston was a democrat and was active in public affairs, having at one time represented Napa county in the state assembly. He was a member of Yount Lodge No. 12, Free and Accepted Masons, of which he was a past master; Chapter No. 30, Royal Arch Masons; Cornmandery No. 34, Knights Templar, and of the Knights of Pythias. He was closely identified with the business interests of Napa, being a director in the James H. Goodman & Company Bank of Napa, a director of the Napa City Water Company, and owned much land in this county. He was a member of the board of trustees of the Napa State Hospital and on the completion of the institution was chosen president of the board.

Harry L. Johnston attended the public schools of Napa and then continued his studies in the Napa Collegiate Institute from 1877 to 1884. He was a student in the Oakmound school at Napa, then entered the University of California, which he attended until 1890. He then studied law in his father's office and in 1898 was admitted to the bar, since which time he has been actively engaged in practice here, long numbered among the leaders of his profession in this county. Years of conscientious work have brought with them not only increase of practice and reputation, bout also that growth in legal knowledge and that wide and accurate judgment the possession of which constitutes marked excellence in the profession. His brother, Leslie E. Johnston, is his law partner and they make a strong combination. They are attorneys for the Bank of Italy in Napa, for the Southern Pacific Railroad and the Napa City Water Company.

Mr. Johnston has for many years taken an active interest in every movement or enterprise relating to the welfare of his community, having served two years as president of the Napa Chamber of Commerce, and one year as president of the Napa County Chamber of Commerce, and for ten years was a director of the Napa City Water Company. He is a past master of Yount Lodge No. 12, Free and Accepted Masons; a member of Napa Chapter No. 30, Royal Arch Masons; a member and past commander of Napa Commandery No. 34, Knights Templar, a member of King Solomon's Council, No. 29, Royal and Select Master's of California; member of Aahmes Temple Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and a past exalted ruler of Napa Lodge No. 832, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. He married Miss Madeline T. Migliavacca, a native of Napa and a member of one of the fine old pioneer families of this locality. Mr. Johnston is a man of pleasing presence, gracious manners and fine public spirit, and he enjoys to a marked degree the esteem and respect of the entire community in which he lives.

From:
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
and Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1926


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