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MEAFORD, MAR. 28, 1923 -- The death of Mr. J.J. Johnston removes the only surviving members of Meaford's first municipal council elected after its incorporation as a town. The deceased, who was in the eighty-ninth year of his age, had been ailing for some months during which time his conditions frequently showed signs of improvement only to be followed by changes for the worse, death resulting from constitutional weakness and old age. Throughout his long illness he retained the full use of all his faculties, chatting freely and intelligently with the old friends who called to see him from time to time.
   Mr. Johnston was born in Ireland and came to Canada with his brother in 1840. The family settled in Halton County. In 1865 Mr. Johnston came to Meaford, and started a planing mill on the west side of Bayfield street, near the foot of Parker street, in partnership with Messrs. McCann and Whitcomb, which they continued to operate until the death of Mr. Whitcomb, when Mr. Sparling who had been working for the firm bought out Mr. Johnston's interest in the factory, and from the mill was washed away in a flood. Some years later the deceased and a man named McLoud started a planing mill at the foot of Nelson street, which was subsequently taken over by Mr. Johnston's two sons and operated until it was destroyed by fire in 1884.
   The firms with which Mr. Johnston was associated in the building and contracting business erected many of the stores and dwellings in Meaford in addition to furnishing the mater for the erection of scores of houses and barns in the surrounding country.
   But while devoting his attention largely to building and contracting, Mr. Johnston continued to take an active interest in municipal affairs. He was elected Mayor of Meaford on four different occasions, two years by acclamation and twice with A.W. Corley and Dr. J.D. Hamill as his opponents. He also contested the Mayoralty unsuccessfully with James Cleland, ex-M.P.P., Charles Watt, Charles Burns and A. McK. Cameron. For two or three years he served the public as one of the Town Councilmen under the old system of ward representation.
   Shortly after coming (1890) to Meaford the deceased was appointed a Justice of the Peace, the duties of which he continued to discharge until about a year ago. He was will versed in municipal law, his opinion being generally taken as authoritative on all matters pertaining to the administration of justice or the enactment of municipal legislation in the town. A man of strong resolution and unswerving adherence to what he believed to be right, he had the courage to stand firmly by his convictions and to hew strictly to the line, let the chips drop where they might. Mr. Johnston was in partnership with the late Matthew Robinson for several years during which time they acted as official assignees for the Dominion Government. Of late years Mr. Johnston conducted a money loan and real estate business in an office over the Bank of Montreal, continuing to live a quiet life until old age and infirmity caused him to confine himself exclusively to his home.
   In religion the deceased was a Disciple and in politics a pronounced Conservative. He was twice married, his first wife predeceasing him about 20 years ago. He is survived by his second wife and four children by his first wife; Albert, of California; Mrs. Chris. Burns, of Chicago; Mrs. Dugald Smith, Meaford and Herbert, of Kitchener.

Lakeview Cemetery, Meaford, Ontario tombstone inscription, from BGOGS :

Annie M died Feb 13 1879 age 12 yr 6 mo
Bertha Johnston died Aug 12 1881 age 2 yr 7 mo
Orminston died Jan 28 1883 age 7 yr 7 mo
Emma Johnston BURNS died May 7 1929 age 72 yr 10 mo
Elizabeth Florence Johnston died June 22 1901 age 31 yr 12 da
Margaret BEATY wife of J. J. Johnston died Aug 23 Aug 1904 age 65 yr
John James Johnston died March 26 1923 age 84 yr
Orminston BURNS died Jan 2 1891 age 4 yr 6 mo
Evelyn Johnston wife of Dougald SMITH 1872 - 1954
Elsie Merle Johnston   - 1972

For complete cemetery transcriptions, please contact the
Bruce Grey Ontario Genealogical Society

Obituary Source: Meaford Express

Obit & tombstone data submitted by: Donna Binsted

Contact : dbinsted at

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