William Johnston, one of the early settlers of Wilton, Iowa, was born in New York City, Dec. 20, 1817. His father, Rev. William Johnston, was born in the city of Sligo, Ireland, in 1791. He received a liberal education, and is said to have mastered seven languages. He adopted the ministry as a profession, becoming a noted clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church. For a long time he was in the employ of the British Government, and in 1815 came to New York City in that service, being accompanied by his wife and youngest child. He did not then intend to become a resident of the New World, but the vessel on which they embarked encountered some very severe storms, and was in great danger of destruction, which so affected Mrs. Johnston that she would never again consent to cross the ocean, hence the father decided to make his future home in America. Two children had remained in England, a son and daughter; the latter died in that country in girlhood, while the former became a resident of America after reaching manhood. For several years Rev. Johnston devoted his attention to preaching and teaching in New York City. There he met Prof. Ray, who has gained celebrity by his series of school books, and with whom he had attended school in early life. The Professor was somewhat influential in inducing Mr. Johnston to engage in the profession of teaching, for which his attainments so well qualified him. During the next few years he was located at various places, where, as in New York, he engaged both in teaching and preaching. First he was at Wellsburg, W. Va., from thence to Jefferson County, Ohio, then to Morgan County, Ohio, later to Athens County, from thence to Meigs County, the same State, where his wife died. He next received a call from the church in Cincinnati, where he remained three years, going from thence to Ft. Recovery, Ohio, where he again married, and then came to Iowa, in 1856, purchasing a farm in Cedar Township, on which he resided until his death in 1863, in the seventy-second year of his age. He possessed a superior education, was a man of more than ordinary ability, and was closely wedded to the church of his choice. By his first marriage nine children were born, two of whom died in childhood; Fannie died in England, and Zachariah died after the family came to America. One of the deceased sons, Hezekiah, was a soldier in the war with Mexico, and died in the service. Only four children are now living: William, Mary, Noah, and Elizabeth. There were five children born of the second marriage.
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