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William S. Johnston


Posted By: Emmet County IAGenWeb Coordinator (email)
Date: 2/16/2011 at 17:33:15

One of the most successful members of the Emmet county bar is William S. Johnston of Esterville, who has been engaged in the active practice of his profession here since 1918, during which time he has built up a large and remunerative clientele. Mr. Johnston is a native of Iowa, born in Manchester, Delaware county, on the 7th of February, 1885, and is a son of John T. and Jane (Taylor) Johnston. Both parents were born in Ireland, coming to the United States in young manhood and womanhood, and were married in New York city. There the father became proprietor of a tea store, which he operated until about 1881, when he went to Texas, returning to New York city in 1882. In 1883 he went again into the west and settled in Manchester, Delaware county, Iowa, engaging in a mercantile business. He moved from there to Downs, then to Morrison, Iowa, and in 1895 he came to Estherville, Emmet county, where he opened a general merchandise store. Some time later he organized the Estherville Furniture Company, in which he is still successfully interested.

William S. Johnston received his elementary education in the public and high schools and then entered the University of Iowa, from which he was graduated, with the degree of Bachelor of Arts, in 1908. He then pursued studies and practical research work in Europe for six months, after which he entered the law school of his alma mater, receiving the degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1910. In 1925 the degree of Doctor of Jurisprudence was conferred on him by that institution. He was admitted to the bar in 1910 and engaged in the practice of his profession at Fort Dodge, Iowa, where he remained until 1918, when he came to Estherville, where he has practiced to the present time. Well founded in the basic principles of the law, a constant student of his profession, a forceful and effective pleader and a sound and safe counselor, he has gained a place in the front ranks of his profession and has been identified as counsel with most of the important cases tried in the courts of this and neighboring counties.

On November 27, 1915, Mr. Johnston was united in marriage to Miss Geneva Frances Rubel, of Fort Dodge, daughter of William H. and Eva O. Rubel. Her father, now deceased, was a locomotive engineer on the Illinois Central Railroad, having served in that capacity in the construction of the road from Fort Dodge to Omaha and running the first train over the road after its completion. To Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have been born four children: John Henry, now deceased, Margaret Jane, James J. and Elaine.

Politically Mr. Johnston has always supported the republican party and has taken a deep interest in public affairs. He is a member of the Ashlar Lodge, No. 111, Ancient Free and Accepted Mason, at Fort Dodge, Iowa; Jeptha Chapter, No. 128, Royal Arch Masons; Esdraelon Commandery, No. 52, Knights Templar; Zagazig Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, and Estherville Lodge, Knights of Pythias. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Esterville Chamber of Commerce. He and his family are members of the Estherville Methodist Episcopal church. Mrs. Johnston is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and several civic bodies of the city.

The Johnston family has always evinced a splendid interest in the welfare of the community, supporting every enterprise for the advancement of the public good. Friendly and affable in manner, they are popular throughout the range of their acquaintance and have a host of warm and loyal friends.

Contributed by: Debbie Clough Gerischer, The Iowa History Site. Source: Iowa, Its History and Tradition, Volume III, 1804-1926.


Emmet Biographies maintained by Lynn Diemer-Mathews.
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