Captain John M. Johnston
Captain John M. Johnston was born on a farm in Eds County, Sweden, in 1851, his father being John Johnston, a farmer. He commenced sailing at the age of fourteen, going as boy in a schooner to Leith, Scotland, and returning to Christiania.
Our subject then joined a full-rigged ship, carrying passengers from Christiania to Quebec, making two trips. Next he went out in a fishing schooner from Tonsberg, with a fleet that sailed on February 22, and returned in mid-summer, after which he joined a full-rigged ship from Norway to Russian ports on the White Sea. He remained two years with this vessel, making voyages to Rio Pernambuco, Cronstadt, London, Shields, Copenhagen and Helsenberg; at the last named place the vessel was frozen in during the entire winter. He joined a brigantine at Helsingor for a voyage to Antwerp, leaving her there to ship in a New Haven schooner which took a cargo of railroad iron to New Orleans. At this point he joined a packet ship bound for Liverpool, getting a cargo of sugar at Havana, and left her there; thence went to Montreal in a Boston bark loaded with sugar. In 1872 he shipped in the propeller East at Montreal for the Great Lakes, spending one season as wheelsman. For two seasons he was second mate of the propeller Dromedary, and also of the Columbia for a like period. He then for one season was master of the steambarge Vanderbilt, master of the steambarge Mary I. Robinson for one year, of the schooner Phebe Catherine for one year, and of the propeller Lake Erie, of the New England Transportation Company, two years. The last named vessel was run into by the Northern Queen on Lake Michigan, in 1881, and was sunk. In 1882 Captain Johnston was master of the propeller Enterprise; 1883, mate and pilot of the river tug Andrew J. Smith on Georgian Bay; 1884, master of the tug Kellogg; 1885 master of the tug William A. Moore; 1886-87-88, master of the tug Balize; 1889-90, he was manager of the Charlton Tug line; in 1891, master of the tug Balize; 1892, master of the Tuscarora; 1893-94, master of the propeller Samson; 1895-96-97-98, master of the propeller William Edwards.
In the fall of 1872 Captain Johnston was married to Miss Matilda McMorris, of Kincardine, Canada. Their children are: Mary Lucinda and Minnie Rosa. Three children, Robert, Jessie and Matilda, are deceased.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.