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Below is a family biography included in The History of Miller County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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, a prominent farmer of Saline Township, was born in Callaway Co., Mo., April 8, 1824, being the second in a family of twelve children born to John W. and Nancy (Berry) Johnston, who were born in Virginia and Kentucky, respectively, and were married in St. Charles County, Mo., September 25, 1821, remaining there until 1832, when they moved to Osage County and opened a farm. In 1837 he sold this farm, and from that time until his death, which occurred November 11, 1855, with the exception of two years which were spent in Camden County, he lived in Miller County. His wife died January 22, 1887, at the advanced age of ninety years Their children are as follows: Mary (Mrs. Moore), resides in Kansas; James; Catherine (Mrs. Reed), resides in Texas; Richard B., resides in Arizona; Edward B., resides in Saline Township; Samuel, died in 1886; George W., resides in Saline Township; Margaret, died in 1874; Martha J., died in 1877; Lucy (Mrs. John C. Slator), died in 1886; Joyce W. (Mrs. Bond), resides in Cole County. James Johnston was reared on a farm and educated in the old subscription schools. At the opening of the Mexican War he enlisted under Capt. C. B. Rogers in Company H, and went into service May 18, 1846, at Fort Leavenworth. He crossed the plains under Gen. Phil. Kearney in 1846 as far as Santa Fe, and then under Col. Doniphan went South to Monterey, and was at Mattamoras. He received his discharge at New Orleans in June, 1847, and then returned to Miller County. In 1847 he was elected by the Democrats as county assessor, serving two years. In 1852 he was elected deputy sheriff of Miller County, and after serving four years was elected sheriff, in which capacity he served two years. He has been justice of the peace of Saline Township for about twenty years, and during his long term of office has performed many marriage ceremonies. December 26, 1850, he was married to Emily Challes, of Boone County, Mo., a daughter of Hugh and Mary (Bennett) Challes, by whom he became the father of ten children, nine of whom are living—John C., who lives in Arizona; Sydney B.; Edward C., who died of smallpox December 28, 1882, in New Mexico; Mary L. (Mrs. Weaver), Lavona, Ida E., Nancy G., Mattie, and Willie and Leona, twins. Four of the children have been successful teachers, and Mr. Johnston has always taken a deep interest in educational matters. After his marriage Mr. Johnston settled on a farm on Saline Creek, but sold this and moved to his present location, where he has a farm of 200 acres, of which eighty-five are under cultivation and well improved. During the late war he enlisted at Jefferson City as captain of Company A, Fifteenth Missouri Cavalry, Parsons’ Division, under Gen. Price, and was in two battles— Carthage and Wilson’s Creek. He is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Pleasant Mount Lodge No. 134, and has served as W. M. for nine years, secretary, and was district deputy grand master of Cole, Moniteau and Miller Counties for three years. He and wife are members of the Free United Brethren Church. Mrs. Johnston’s father and mother were born in South Carolina and Kentucky, respectively, and were early pioneers of Boone County, Mo., but in 1834 located in Miller County, where he followed agriculture for a living. He died February 6, and his wife November 17, 1872.

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This family biography is one of 120 biographies included in The History of Miller County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Miller County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

View additional Miller County, Missouri family biographies here: Miller County, Missouri Biographies

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