RUFUS SHERMAN JOHNSTON.
Public spirited and loyal in his citizenship, few residents of this district have taken a more keen or helpful
interest in the welfare of the county and state than has Rufus Sherman Johnston, one of Iowa's native sons. He
was born near Columbus City, Louisa county, on the 4th of October, 1864, a son of James Harvey and Esther (Orr)
Johnston. The parents were both born in Tennessee in 1828 and came to this state in 1856, the father giving his
entire time and attention to agricultural pursuits.
In the graded schools of Columbus City Rufus Sherman Johnston began his education, which he later completed by
a course of study in Eastern Iowa Normal School at Columbus Junction, graduating from that institution in 1886.
He was early imbued with the desire to enter mercantile circles, and consequently, after laying aside his text
books, he spent, five years in connection with the hardware business. Since that time, however, he has concentrated
his energies upon agricultural pursuits, in which he has always been deeply interested, and now has a half interest
in and full management of a fine tract of four hundred acres adjoining Columbus City. He engages in general farming
and stock feeding and his efforts in both directions have been resultant forces in the acquirement of a goodly
degree of success. He has long been known, also, in financial circle; of this community, having served as director
in the Louisa County National and Louisa County Savings Banks for twenty years.
Mr. Johnston was married, at Columbus City, Iowa, on the 6th of March, 1890, to Miss Loui Colton, a daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Colton, and unto this union have been born three daughters, namely: Helen, attending Drake University,
at Des Moines, Iowa; and Edith and Pauline, yet at home.
Although Mr. Johnston belongs to no special religious denomination, he is nevertheless a faithful supporter financially
of various churches, and is not connected with any secret societies or fraternities, although he is not opposed
to such organizations. He does, however, take a cheep and sincere interest in thee affairs of the county and state,
and has cooperated in many movements which have had for their purpose the public good and general development and
He gives his political allegiance to the republican party and for twenty years hem has served as a member of the
Columbus City school board, the cause of education finding in him a stalwart champion. He was elected a member
of the board of supervisors in 1906, and is now serving for the fifth year in that office, with one more year before
his term expires. He has done much toward stimulating interest along agricultural lines and is well known throughout
the state in connection therewith. He served as secretory of Columbus Junction District Fair for seven years, from
1898 until 1904, was elected a member of Iowa Department of Agriculture and in 1904 became and still remains a
member of the State Fair Board. He has been identified officially for some time with the expenditure of a half
million dollars for reclaiming wet and overflowed lands by drainage in Louisa and adjoining counties, and has given
close attention to the subject of improvement of roads and bridges.
It would be tautological to say here that for many years his interests have been thoroughly allied with those of
Louisa county and the state of Iowa, for this fact has been shadowed forth between the lines of this review. Progress
and public spirited citizenship have been salient features in his career and the consensus of public opinion accords
him a prominent place among the valued and representative residents of this locality. He has a wide general acquaintance
throughout Iowa, owing to the extent of his private and public interests, while in his home community he has a
large circle of warm friends who entertain for him unqualified regard and esteem.
History of Louisa County, Iowa
From Its Earliest Settlement to 1912
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Decatur County, IA
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