Friday, April 9, 2010

William Bernard Johnston - The Merchant 1824-1890

William Bernard Johnston, the fourth son of John Johnston, is a bit of a mystery.  Though there are more images of William (as an older man) than of any of the other boys, there are very few written references to him. William was born on January 22, 1824 at Upper Piqua, OH and seems to have followed the path of several of the other boys - schooled at home and an Ohio college, and then sent out to learn about buying and selling; finally, to establish his own business. He is listed in the 1880 census as a 'fine European merchant'.  His business location was Cincinnati, first in a store with his brother James known as Johnston Brothers, and then, later, on his own. The location of Johnston Brothers was Pearl Street.  Pearl Street Market, founded in 1816, was the oldest public market in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Market occupied the middle of Pearl Street between Broadway and Sycamore. The market was later torn down to make way for Cincinnati's Riverfront Stadium.

William married Josephine Brownell at Piqua, OH, Nov. 20, 1866. They had two children, Cornelia and William Jr. Neither child married.  William Jr. and Cornelia lived with their mother until her death, and after that, with their maternal aunt. 

William Bernard Johnston died November 17, 1890 in Cincinnati, OH at the age of 66.

Letter to Julia, Mary, Rosanna, Rachel, Rebecca, John, Catherine, and William Johnston at Upper Piqua Columbus January 22, 1833from John Johnston, at Columbus, OH
In answer to William’s letter, I am glad you all go to school, and that you are learning. At the time you wrote it was a very cold day here as it was with you. The weather is now warm again. I want you to learn to ride Charley so that you might go errands to the Post Office, etc.

John Johnston to AR Johnston January 1840
Your brother William at Columbus was quite well, growing tall* as yourself and Stephen. He is a boy of fine habits and temper and gives great satisfaction to his principals. (*author’s note: AR Johnston was over 6’ tall)

John Jones to AR Robinson Oct. 3 1843 Cincinnati
William is getting along very well in Rushville, IN. He is a remarkably fine young man. I like him much.

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