Thomas Benjamin Johnston and Lucy Jane Kilborn

Thomas “Tom” Benjamin2 Johnston, (John1), 16 January 1846 1 -28 May 1932. 2 Thomas was the fifth child/fourth son of John Johnston and Margaret Tait of Lot 14, Concession 7, East Gwillimbury Township, York County, Canada West. Thomas was likely named after an uncle who may have been born in Ireland. After his father passed away in 1860 Thomas remained with his mother until he was about eighteen years of age. Then Thomas went to Piqua County, Ohio, and served with the Ohio troops in 1864-1865, during the American Civil War. In November 1867 Thomas arrived in Alpena, Michigan. Thomas can be found in the 1870 Michigan census residing with his brother James in an Alpena Hotel. Many lumbermen were in residence and it is thought that James and Thomas were also plying that trade during Alpena’s formative years. Then, Thomas is mentioned as being a farmer along with his brother Samuel in the 1871 Ontario census. In this census Thomas and Samuel, along with their younger siblings Mary Ann and John, were shown as living with their mother Margaret. In order to be included in this Ontario census Thomas was either visiting his family in early 1871, or the enumerator took his information from someone who was misinformed regarding his whereabouts. In 1874 Thomas homesteaded from the State of Michigan a farm located at the south west 1/4 of sec 1-T-31, which was then part of Long Rapids Township. On Tuesday 16 February 1875 Thomas married Mary L. Busenbark of Trenton, Wayne County, Michigan, in Alpena. Mary died 27 March 1878, “childless”. On Tuesday 1 February 1881 Thomas married Lucy Jane Kilborn, 15 December 1846 3/47 4-30 January 1930. 5 The marriage took place in Kitley Township, Leeds County, Ontario. Lucy was born in Athens, Canada West and was a daughter of Truman Kilborn and Elizabeth Warner. 6 Lucy’s parents resided on a farm on the north half of Lot 30, Concession 9, not far from Plum Hollow, in Kitley Township, Leeds County. 7 Truman was born in Leeds County and Elizabeth was born near London, England. According to one grandchild of Tom and Lucy’s, Tom was an early Sheriff of Alpena County and had a horse named “Flinch”. He was also a veterinarian and a bee keeper. According to a page one item in the June 2, 1932 edition of the Montmorency County Tribune, at the time of his death Thomas was “the last surviving Civil War veteran of the county.” That newspaper item further states that his remains were “laid to rest with military honors in the Hillman cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.”, and that “The funeral was a very large one and the flag draped casket was surrounded with a profusion of beautiful flowers”. Thomas and Lucy are certainly buried in Hillman-Rust Cemetery, although no gravestone for Thomas has been erected. Thomas and Lucy had four children.

1. Delmer Samuel3 25 April 1883 8-5 February 1959 9 md Emma Bertha Luebke 13 August 1909 10 5 children
2. Truman Benjamin3 3 June 1885 11-14 October 1960 12 md Margaret Jane Hunt June 1910 13 3 children
3. Frances Mable3 23 February 1887 14-3 July 1918 15 md Willard Samuel Bowen Nov. 1917 16 no issue
4. Georgianna3 8 June 1890 17-4 November 1952 18 md James R. Green 14 April 1922 19



James M. Johnston and Sarah Elizabeth PollardThomas B. Johnston flanked by his brothers, James M. and Samuel Johnston
in Alpena, Michigan about 1900

1 Thomas B. Johnston biographical article, Alpena Argus-Pioneer, Alpena, Michigan, Wednesday, 20 July 1910, page 7, first 3 columns. This edition of the Alpena Argus-Pioneer newspaper contains a full biographical sketch of Thomas B. Johnston of Hillman, Michigan, under the heading “Pioneer Settlers of Alpena County”. This was the first in a series of biographies written by county representative E. P. Wyckoff, of Hillman. Wyckoff wrote this biography with Tom’s help, and it incorporated much in the way of direct quotes regarding his pioneer experiences. This biography includes the “Parental lineage of T. B. Johnston, as far as he can correct the record”. This biography states Tom was “born January 16, 1846”.
2 Thomas Benjamin Johnston obituary, Montmorency County Tribune Atlanta, Michigan, Thursday, 2 June 1932, page 1, top right 2 columns under heading “Thomas Johnston, one of County Pioneers, Summoned to Last Call”. This obituary states that “Thomas Benjamin Johns[t]on” passed away “at the home of his son Delmar [sic] Johns[t]on at 7:30 Saturday evening [28 May], death due to the infirmities of age.” This is the only known occasion where his middle name, Benjamin, is shown in full rather using just the initial “B”. It is believed that Tom took on this middle name after his older brother Benjamin passed away in November 1883. Tom no doubt did this, partly to honor the memory his brother Benjamin, and also due to the fact that he and his brothers in Michigan (James M. and John L.) wished to distinguish themselves by means of a middle initial.
3 Montmorency County Vital Records, 1881-1974, LDS reel 0965771, page 79. Lucy’s Montmorency County death return states “Lucy Jane Johnston” died on 31 January 1930 at age 83 years, 1 month and 15 days from “Cerebral Hemmorhage” in Hillman Township.
4 Mrs. Lucy Jane Johnston obituary, Montmorency County Tribune, Atlanta, Michigan, Thursday, 6 February 1930, page 1, 2 columns; lower right and top far right. Lucy’s obituary states that she was born “in Athens, Ontario on December 16, 1847”.
5 Mrs. Lucy Jane Johnston obituary, The Alpena Daily News, Alpena, Michigan, Friday, 31 January 1930, page 1, under heading “Death Takes Mrs. Johnston”. This obituary, printed the day she died, states that she “died at 3:30 o’clock this morning following a third stroke of paralysis. Since the first stroke of paralysis which she suffered about a year ago, Mrs. Johns[t]on had been in ill health”.
6 Montmorency County Vital Records, 1881-1974, LDS reel 0965771, page 79. Lucy’s Montmorency County death return states she was born in Ontario [then Canada West] and lists her parents as “Truman Kilburn” and “Elizabeth Warner”.
7 Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Canada West, (Kingston C. W. [Canada West]: Putnam & Walling Publishers, 1861-2), page 68.
8 Delmer S. Johnston obituary, ?The News?, Alpena, Michigan, Saturday 7 February 1959, page . This obituary states that “He was born Apr. 25, 1883 in Alpena [MI] and moved to Hillman as a child.” Delmer’s civil birth registration states that he was born 24 April 1883 and spells his name Dylmer S.
9 Ibid. This obituary states that Delmer “died Thursday at Rogers City hospital following a short illness.”
10 Montmorency County Vital Records, Marriages 1887 – 1974, page 33, entry 12. Delmer’s obituary states that “His marriage to Emma Luebke took place in Hillman in 1906.”
11 T. Ben Johnston newspaper biography (under heading “Mainly About Folks”), Enquirer and News, Sunday 7 May 1944, Battle Creek, Michigan, page 28. This lengththy biographical article states that T. Ben “was born June 3, 1885, on a farm 25 miles from Alpena.”
12 T. Ben Johnston obituary, The Kalamazoo Gazette, Kalamazoo, Michigan, 15 October 1960, page 1, column 5. This obituary states that T. Ben died “Friday night in a Battle Creek Hospital after an illness of three weeks.” T. Ben founded the T. Ben Johnston Boy Scout Camp at Sherman Lake in Kalamazoo County. It is now operated by the YMCA. T. Ben was buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Battle Creek, Michigan.
13 T. Ben Johnston newspaper biography (under heading “Mainly About Folks”), Enquirer and News, Sunday 7 May 1944, Battle Creek, Michigan, page 28. This lengththy biographical article states that T. Ben “was married in June, 1910, to Miss Margaret Hunt of Alpena, daughter of Samuel T. Hunt, a lumberman and farmer.”
14 Montmorency County Vital Records, Births 1881 – 1934, page 9, entry 130.
15 Montmorency County Vital Records, Deaths 1881 – 1934, page 52, entry 2.
16 Montmorency County Vital Records, Marriages 1887 – 1974, page 52, entry 21.
17 Mrs. James R. Green obituary (text of obituary refers to her as “Georgia J. Green”), The News, Alpena, Michigan, Wednesday 12 November 1952, page 2. This obituary states that “She was born June 8, 1890 in Montmorency county.”
18 Ibid. This obituary states that Georgianna “died suddenly Tuesday in Los Angeles, Calif.” It would seem that she had died a week and one day before this obituary was printed. Therefore, if this information is correct, she would have died on the 4th of November 1952.
19 Montmorency County Vital Records, Marriages 1887 – 1974, page 64, entry 9.

This page last updated 30 April 2004

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