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Below is a family biography included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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James Johnston, passenger engineer between Monett and Fort Smith, is a native of Ireland, born in County Monaghan, September 17, 1848, and is the son of Thomas and Catherine (Conaghan) Johnston. The father was superintendent of linen mills in the preparation of flax. His son, James Johnston, received a good education, and at the age of fifteen became an apprentice to the machinist’s trade, serving for two years under the mastership of an elder brother, Edward, who was a master mechanic in a spinning factory at Laragh Mills, County Monaghan. At the end of two years James went to Liverpool, England, and engaged with the Steam Navigation Company in a desirable position. He, however, subsequently returned to his home and learned the engineering business in stationary engine work at Laragh Mills. In his eighteenth year he set sail for America, and landed in Toronto, Canada. He soon after came to New York State, and after a year he accepted work as machinist at Cameron’s extensive pump works, and there remained one year. He was then engaged in the steam and gas-fitting business for some time, and put in large contracts in the Inebriate Asylum, Blackwell’s Island. He then went from there to New Haven, Conn., and ran a hoisting engine for some time. He next went on a steamship and remained there for one year, after which he ran an engine in a distillery, Twenty-fourth Street, New York. Upon the proprietor coming to Michigan, Mr. Johnston came with him, and made a stay of about two and a half years on railroad engineer work. In 1872 he came to St. Louis and accepted work on the Iron Mountain Railroad as traveling engineer. He here spent a year, and then returned to Ireland, where he married Miss A. Coyle, daughter of Michael Coyle, a merchant of Castle Bleyney. After marriage Mr. Johnston returned to America, and accepted work with the railroad with which he since has been prominently connected.

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This family biography is one of 272 biographies included in The History of Lawrence County, Missouri published in 1888.  For the complete description, click here: Lawrence County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Lawrence County, Missouri family biographies, click here

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