Tama County Iowa Obituaries

Wesley Johnston

July 24, 1919
The Toledo Chronicle
Obituary of Wesley Johnston


Wesley Johnston was born in Mt. Pleasant, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, October 26, 1834, and died in Toledo July 17, 1919, aged 84 years, 8 months and 21 days. His parents were Uriah S. and Mary (Keister) Johnston. His father was born in Fayette County and his mother in Westmoreland County. The Johnston family were of Scotch-Irish origin and a prominent family in the Keystone state.

When but a boy Wesley Johnston was employed as a clerk in a retail mercantile store in his home county, and before coming to Iowa, he worked for his uncle, Solomon Keister, in that capacity in a general store for about fourteen years. He was married to Sophia Ann Porter in 1857. To this union was born four children, three of whom are deceased, one dying in infancy; John C. died in 1882 and William F. in 1887, leaving Uriah S. Johnston, who still survives and resides at Tama. Mayme T. Johnston, of Cedar Rapids, widow of the above-named William F. survives him. Mrs. Sophia Ann Johnston died in 1863.

In 1866 Wesley Johnston came west and located in Toledo and in the same year was married to Emma F. Norton. To them was born eight children and five boys survive: Charles W. of Marshalltown; Frank A., Toledo; Robert E., Cedar Rapids; Harry F., Des Moines; Earl R. of Ames. Emma F. Norton Johnston died March 17, 1891. The above-named survivors were all present at the funeral services.

Wesley Johnston received a common school education, which together with his experience in mercantile life in his home county and state, found him well qualified to continue in that line of work and upon arriving in Toledo, he at once entered the employment of Galley & Johnston as clerk in their general store. Upon the dissolution of that firm, Mr. Galley, retiring, he became a partner with his brother William F. Johnston in the firm of Johnston Brothers, later W.F. Johnston & Co. He continued in that business until dissolution of the latter partnership in 1882, at about which time he formed a partnership with his brother Winfield S. Johnston and continued the business of retail general store until dissolution of that partnership in 1892, at which time he retired from the firm and business and did not engage in active business life from that time down to his death.

The decedent was one of the oldest members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Toledo and was always devoted to the church and its support. In early years he was a member of the choir, later a member of the board of stewards, and for more than twenty years he was the faithful custodian of its church building. Wesley Johnston was a modest man in his requirements of life. He cared not for riches, but only for the ordinary comforts of life. He was not demonstrative in character, but was ever of quiet habit and conduct; generous toward others with due regard for their opinions and belief, though firm in his convictions. He was a good man, a law abiding citizen, a kind neighbor, a true friend and indulgent father. He found the ready way to the enjoyment of life, by a prospect toward another, with the abiding faith and conviction that when done with earth, the Master will have prepared a place for him the the great beyond.

A good man has gone from among us and his presence will be missed, but to those who knew him best, he will live long in their memory for his kindly living.

Funeral services for Mr. Johnston were held Sunday afternoon at 3 o'clock from the Methodist church, Dr. W.L. Alexander officiating, and assisted by Dr. F. P. Shaffer of Tama. Judge J.W. Willett, who had known Mr. Johnston intimately for fifty years, read the life sketch and spoke words of praise for the deceased. Music was furnished by a mixed quartet composed of Mrs. H.B. Smith, Miss Alza Giger, W.F. Shadle and H.P. Giger. The six sons acted as pall bearers and internment was in Woodlawn Cemetery.

Submitted by:Gary Wade (GaryWOTR@aol.com)

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