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Ashby Ayres Chapman Cooke Johnston Reynolds Saunders Wilson

Obituary of John Yates Johnston, Knoxville, Tennessee.

John Yates Johnston died on August 14, 1916, at his home, in Knoxville, Tenn. He was born at Annandale, the family home, in Loudon County, October 20, 1839. He was a son of Ebenezer and Hannah Huff Johnston, who reared one of the most estimable and representative families of Looudon County and East Tennessee. His early years were spent in the community of his nativity, where he accepted the limited educational opportunities offered by the before-the-war schools and also developed in commercial and agricultural endeavors.

When the civil strife began, John Y. Johnston, then on the threshold of young manhood, entered the cavalry arm of the Confederate service as a trooper in Col. Henry M. Ashby's command. Susequently, and while in his twenty-first year, he raised a company of infantry and was made its captain, a distinction that was notable because of his early years. His company was a part of Colonel Rowan's 62d Tennessee Regiment of Infantry.

While in Mississippi Captain Johnston was captured by Federal soldiers and was held a prisoner for a period of two years. The circumstances of his capture reflected the character of the man. One of his brothers, also a Confederate soldier, had fallen a victim of the enemy's dragnet for prisoners and was injured. Seeing the brother in the throes of the Federals and fearful of his fate, Captain Johnston deliberately crossed into the enemy's lines in order the he might be with his injured and captured brother, and himself was taken a prisoner, making this personal sacrifice for the sake of administering unto the brother. Both were held as prisoners of war. The brother now survives, whereas but for this act of fraternal heroism he might died a prisoner of war.

After the war Captain Johnston went to Griffin, Ga., and engaged in the cotton trade. After a few years at that place he went to Rome, Ga., and was in business there for a number of years. From Rome he went to Knoxville. Later he obtained a connection with the East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia Railroad, and by his strict atention to duty and farseeing business capacity he won promotion until he held a responsible position with that railroad system, then the largest single railway organization in the South. He held the position of trust and responsibilty for many years-in fact, until his retirement from active daily business pursuits. Having been successful in investments and business ventures, he became a man of diversified interests in that he had many large financial investments. He was one of the most successful capitalists of Knoxville and was recognized as a shrewd and safe business man.

In young manhood Captain Johnston was married to Miss Susie Ayres, of Virginia, who survives. To them were born two daughters, Mrs. E. Hepburn Saunders and Mrs. David C. Chapman (both of whom reside in Knoxville), and a son Joseph Jacques Johnston, who died in his eighth year. He is survived by two brothers, J. V. Johnston, of Macon, Ga., and J. H. Johnston, of Loudon. One sister survives, Mrs. E. J. Cooke, of Macon. Preceding him to the grave were two brothers, J. M. and William McEwen Johnston, and as many sisters, Mrs. R. T. Wilson and Mrs. S. M. Reynolds.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, November, 1916.

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