Biography of James W. Johnson
Oneida County, NY Biographies





A well known business man of Utica, who has also attained high rank in Masonic circles, is James W. Johnston, who was born in Belfast, Ireland, in 1840. His parents, William and Elizabeth (Fulton) Johnston, the mother a cousin of Robert Fulton, emigrated to the United States in 1844. They located on a farm in the vicinity of Frankfort, Herkimer county, New York, where the father became a prominent and successful agriculturist.

The public schools of Frankfort and Utica provided James W. Johnston with his education, after the completion of which he assisted his father with the work of the farm until the breaking out of the war. When the call came for troops in 1861 he enlisted and served seven months in Company D, of the Fifty third New York Volunteers. At the expiration of this period of service he reenlisted in Company D, One Hundred and Twenty first New York Volunteers, as first sergeant, being mustered out three years later with the rank of major. Returning to his father's home at the close of hostilities, he remained there for a brief period, then engaged in farming for himself. He continued in this for four years, at the expiration of which period he came to Utica and opened a grocery at the corner of John and Bleecker streets, which he conducted for ten years. Withdrawing from commercial pursuits, about 1881 he engaged in the business with which he continues to be identified, making a specialty of street paving and state road contracts.

Mr. Johnston married Miss Amoretta L. Merry, a daughter of Orson and Mary (Kimball) Merry, old residents of Frankfort Hill, near Utica. She is the youngest in a family of three children, the others being Malvin D. and Mrs. Della Calkins, who live together on the old homestead at Frankfort Hill. By this union there have been born four children; Arthur Merry, a sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume; Ella M., now Mrs. Crocker, Frank M., who is a graduate of the Utica Academy and attended Troy Technical Institute; and Anna R., a graduate of the Utica Academy.

The family all affiliate with the Holy Cross Episcopal church, of which they are communicants, while fraternally Mr. Johnston is identified with the Masonic order. He holds membership in Utica Lodge, No. 47, F. & A. M.; Oneida Chapter, No. 57, R. A. M.; Utica Commandery, No. 3, K. T.; and Ziyara Temple of the Shrine. He is also a member of Bacon Post, No. 53, G. A. R., of which he has ever been a loyal and active worker, while he is a member of the Masonic Craftsman Club. He is a member of the Military Order of the Loyal Legion and has served as a commissioned officer. To him belongs the distinction of being the oldest man in the Utica Curling Club and he is a director of the Homestead Aid Association, one of the biggest concerns of the state. In matters political, he affiliates with the republican party and has for many years been a mernber of the Republican Club.

Mrs. Johnston is a very prominent charity worker, devoting a great deal of her time and energy to assisting various benevolent organizations. She is a member of the Women's Christian Association; Circle No. 17, Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic; Temple Chapter, No. 300, Order of the Eastern Star; and the New Century Club.

From:
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago 1912


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