Our Folk – Resource Materials
Memoir of Samuel A. Johnston
from “Greater Indianapolis” by Jacob Piatt Dunn, published by The Lewis Publishing Company 1910.
Samuel A. Johnston, who died at his home in Indianapolis on the 16th of March, 1907, matured his splendid individual powers to the point of large and worthy accomplishment, and he was long a prominent figure in the connection with business activities in the capital city. He was a member of one of the honored pioneer families of the State of Indiana and he maintained his home in Indianapolis for nearly three-quarters of a century, - from his childhood days until he was summoned to the life eternal, in the fullness of years and well earned honors. Upon a lofty plane of integrity was his course directed, and he left the priceless heritage of an unblemished reputation, the while his personality was such as to gain and retain to him the high regard and implicit confidence of all who came within the sphere of his kindly and noble influence. From his high standing as one of the honored citizens of Indianapolis is he especially worthy of a memoir in this publication.
Samuel A. Johnston was born at Franklin, Johnson County, Indiana, on the 22nd of June 1830, and thus was nearly seventy-seven years of age at the time of his death. He was a son of Samuel and Sarah (Wallace) Johnston, who were numbered among the worthy pioneers of Johnson County, whence they came to Indianapolis when the subject of this memoir was a child of four years. The father followed agricultural pursuits during the major portion of his active career and both he and his wife continued their residence in Indianapolis until their death. Both were devout members of the Presbyterian Church and exemplified their faith in their daily lives. Samuel A. Johnston gained his early education in the schools of Indianapolis, where he was reared to maturity and where he found ample opportunity for productive and successful effort in connection with business affairs of important order. After due preliminary experience of a practical order he initiated his independent business career, and for more than thirty years was a member of the well known firm of Johnston Brothers, dealers in stoves and tinware at 62 East Washington street. In this business he was associated with his brother W. J. Johnston. It should be noted that of the family of ten children all are deceased. With the enterprise noted Mr. Johnston and his brother brought themselves into prominence as reliable and progressive merchants and they built up a large and prosperous business. The firm passed out of existence a number of years ago, and the subject of this memoir lived virtually retired for several years prior to his demise, after having accumulated a competency through his earnest and well directed endeavors.
As a citizen he was essentially loyal and public-spirited, and while he never manifested aught of desire for political office of any description he gave a staunch allegiance to the Republican party. At the time of his death he was the oldest in point of membership of all members of the First Presbyterian Church and during the course of many years his zeal and devotion has been manifest in all departments of church work. For a quarter of a century he was a member of the choir of the church with which he was identified and in the same he was chosen a deacon for a number of years prior to the close of his life. He was one of the foremost factors in connection with the activities of his church until the infirmities of age rendered it imperative for him to assign much of the burden of active service to younger shoulders. In the time honored Masonic fraternity he was long an appreciative member, and in the same he attained to the thirty second degree of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite in which for thirty years he was grand chancellor of the Indiana Sovereign Consistory. He was also active in the affairs of the York Rite bodies in his home city, and in this his maximum affiliation was with Raper Commandery, Knights Templar. He also help membership in the adjunct organization, Murat Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. His genial nature, his tolerance and his abiding human sympathy gained to him warm friends among all classes, and in a quiet and unostentatious way he extended freely of his largess and of his sympathy to those in affliction and distress.
On the 14th of February, 1866, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Johnston to Miss Estelle Pullis, who survives him and who resides in the beautiful home at 2111 North Delaware street, - a place endeared to her by the gracious and hallowed memories of the past. Mrs. Johnston is a daughter of John and Eliza A. Winant of St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Johnston is also survived by two sons, - William P. Johnston who is engaged in the real estate business of Indianapolis, and Dr. Samuel A. Johnston, who is one of the representative physicians and surgeons of Indianapolis.
See also: “Sketch of Samuel A. and William J. Johnston”
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