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Johnston Orgain Thomson

Obituary of John O. Johnston, Austin, Texas.

John O. Johnston, city clerk of Austin, Tex., and friend of every man in Austin and Texas, died at his home in that city on February 5, 1920, at the age of seventy-eight years.

Everybody in Austin knew "John O." His long service with the city made for him many friends, who held him high in their esteem. The poor and lowly were afforded exactly the same treatment, kindly fellowship, and painstaking courtesy as were those of wealth and station.

John O. Johnston was a man of sterling character and splendid capacity. He handled the city's business since September 16, 1895, and none knew better than he about the city's affairs, and none was more obliging and courteous.

He held high rank in Masonic orders and had been awarded the highest gifts at the hands of the Masons. His Masonic activities date back to 1866. In December of that year he was chosen Master of Austin Lodge, No. 12, A. F. and A. M.; in 1877 he was made a Royal Arch Mason in the Lone Star Chapter, R. A. M. Other important positions held were as follows: A Knight Templar in the Colorado Commandery, January 4, 1878, and a Shriner in the Ben Hur Temple September 21, 1891. He served as a Master Mason of the Lodge, High Priest of the Chapter, Commander of the Commandery, and Grand Commander Knights Templar of the State of Texas.

In 1873 he was appointed warrant clerk in the comptroller's office and served in this position until April, 1876, when he was elected tax collector of Travis County and served in that position until 1880. In 1883 he was appointed quartermaster of the frontier battalion (State Rangers), serving until 1885, when he was appointed postmaster of Austin, holding that position four years.

Mr. Johnston was born on January 21, 1841, in Giles County, Tenn. He grew up a hardy woodsman, but left Tennessee in January, 1860, and landed in Austin, Tex., the latter part of that month. He was clerk in a dry goods store until March, 1862, when he joined Company G, 16th Texas Infantry, serving until the close of the war. His discharge rests heroically in a frame, which is on the desk he used at the city hall.

After the close of the war Mr. Johnston drove stock to Tennessee and Kansas. In November, 1867, he married Miss Elizabeth I. Thomson, of Burleson County, Tex. She survices him, with a daughter and two sons. A brother, Judge Matt M. Johnston, of Austin, and a sister, Mrs. B. D. Orgain, of Bastrop, also survive him.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, July, 1920.

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