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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company.  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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JOSEPH JOHNSTON, Master Mechanic as the Bethlehem Iron Company’s works, has held that position since 1868, at which time there was only one mill. He superintended the building of the steelmill, and has been foremost in the erection of the various mills, and to his superior ability is due much of the success in the working of this immense concern.

The birth of our subject occurred in Hoboken, N. J., June 13, 1829. His father, John Johnston, was born in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and his grandfather, who bore the same Christian name, was a farmer of that country. Our subject’s father was a millwright by trade, and for a few years was a resident of London. His marriage occurred in Scotland about 1827, his wife being Mary, daughter of David Boyce. She, too, was a native of Scotland, and her father was a farmer. About 1827 the family removed to America, the father obtaining employment in Hoboken. While in England he was Assistant Commissioner of Stores for the English army, and participated in the war with Napoleon, taking part in the battle of Waterloo, and remaining in the army until 1817, when he resigned. While in Hoboken he entered the employ of the Camden & Amboy Railway Company as a millwright, making wooden wheels. He afterward had charge of the woodwork department, and then removed to Bordentown, N. J., where he worked as a pattern-maker. In 1845 he became a resident of Norristown, where one of his sons started a machine-shop, and his time was spent as a pattern-maker. While living there his death occurred, at the age of sixty-three years. His wife, who, like her husband, was a member of the Presbyterian Church, departed this life in 1887, at the home of our subject, at the age of eighty-eight years. Of her ten children seven grew to maturity, but only three are now living.

Until 1845 Joseph Johnston resided in New Jersey, where he obtained a good common-school education. At the age of fifteen he started to learn the machinist’s trade in the shops of the Camden & Amboy Railroad. In 1845 he went to Norristown, where he pursued his trade for three years, thence going to Lancaster County, where he also worked as a machinist, and later for seven years was a resident of Safe Harbor.

In 1856 Mr. Johnston went to Phoenixville, where he took charge of the machinery and engines of the rolling-mill and blasts. He remained in that responsible position for twelve years, or until October 20, 1868, when he came to Bethlehem, having been solicited to do so. Entering the employ of the noted Bethlehem Iron Company, he became Master Mechanic of the works, a position he has occupied until the present time. In addition to superintending the building of the mills that have since been erected, he helped to organize the South Bethlehem Industrial Building and Loan Association, of which he has been President since its start, and has been in other ways identified with the development and progress of the town.

The home of Joseph Johnston is located at No. 335 Broad Street. In 1854 he was married at Safe Harbor to Miss Martha E. Stroman, who was born in York County. Her father, Franklin Stroman, was a native of the same county, and his father, Hon. John Stroman, a native of Germany, was in the Revolutionary War. He was a public man, having been Sheriff of York Ctmnty, and a member of the Legislature and Senate. Franklin Stroman was an attorney, but did not engage in active practice, turning his attention instead to agricultural pursuits. His wife bore the maiden name of Ann Williams, and her birth also occurred in York County. Her father, Maj. David Williams, was a patriot in the war for independence, and was one of the three soldiers who captured Major Andre. He was a farmer in Lower Windsor, and reared a family of seven children, of whom Mrs. Johnston is the fifth.

To our subject and wife were born ten children: J. Franklin, a draftsman in the Bethlehem Iron Company; Mary A., who died at the age of two years; Josephine; Angeline, Mrs. Milson, of Paterson, N. J.; Archibald, Superintendent of No. 3 Shop of the Bethlehem Iron Company; Margaret, who died at the age of five years; Joseph, Jr., a machinist, who works with his father; George, who died in infancy; Elsie; and William Wallace, who is serving an apprenticeship as a machinist in the iron works with his brothers.

For six years Mr. Johnston was a Councilman, having been elected on the Republican ticket, though a resident of the Second Ward, which is Democratic. While a member of the Council he was Chairman of the Committee on Streets and the Fire Committee, and in that capacity superintended the building of the firehouse, which is a credit to the place. In politics he is a true-blue Republican, and fraternally he is a Master Mason of the Royal Arch Masons, and belongs to the Council and Commandery No. 20, K. T., of Allentown. Mrs. Johnston is a a member of the Baptist Church, and is active in the Ladies’ Aid Society and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union work.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Portrait and biographical record of Lehigh, Northampton and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania published in 1894 by Chapman Publishing Company. 

View additional Northampton County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Northampton County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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