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Isabel (Minor) Johnston


Seth Reed Johnston

Isabel (Minor) Johnston was born in Perry County, OH on Aug. 19, 1827, the daughter of Jacob and Mary (Ferguson) Miner

She was the wife of the first postmaster of Glenford, Perry County, and mother of one of the earliest judges in our family, but died a tragic death at a young age.

Isabel was the first wife of Seth Reed Johnston (1827-1923), seen here, son of Joseph and Sarah (Stillwell) Johnston. 

Their five children were William Seth Johnston, Judge James E. Johnston, Alvaretta "Allie" Cooperrider, Carrie Hunt and Ella Johnston. 

The Johnstons began married life in Brownsville, Licking County, OH. In 1867, Seth purchased a store and house in nearby Glenford, which he would own the rest of his life. Seth's business partner for 15 years was Lemuel M. Ridenour, who left the firm in 1900 when elected Superintendent of the Perry County Infirmary. Seth is mentioned in a brief bio of Ridenour in the online Book of Perry County

In 1871, the United States government opened a post office in the store, and Seth was named postmaster. The history of this post office is described in the book, History of Glenford, Ohio and Area.

Building long used as both Seth's general store and the Glenford post office



Ella's grave, Brownsville

Heartache rocked the family in the summer of 1861 when daughter Ella (1858-1861), aged three years and three months old, died of causes unknown, on July 10, 1861. She was buried at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Brownsville, and her stone affectionately calls her "Little Ella." More will be reported about her when learned.

Tragedy struck Seth and the family again seven years later, in the summer of 1874. As Isabel and her "little daughter and boy" were riding together in town in their horse-drawn buggy, said the Somerset Press:

...[they] were thrown from their carriage near the depot at [Glenford] yesterday evening, by the team becoming frightened at a dog and running away. Mrs. Johnson [sic] was seriously injured -- the concussion of the fall rendering her unconscious for several hours -- though at last accounts, hopes of her recovery were entertained. The daughter escaped with slight injuries and the little boy was unhurt.


Isabel's grave, Brownsville

Isabel hovered on the brink of death for four days, but she could not recovery.  She died on July 20, 1874, and was buried near daughter Ella at the Cedar Hill Cemetery in Brownsville.

Sometime around the time of his mother's death, their son James decided to train to become a lawyer.  After graduation from the University of Cincinnati Law School in 1878, he became a successful lawyer in New Lexington, and later was a prosecuting attorney of Perry County, and was appointed by the Governor to be Judge of the Court of Common Pleas.

After Isabel's death, widower Seth married his wife'ssister Elizabeth Minor (1838-1928), and they had one daughter of their own, Ada Soliday.

Isabel and Seth are mentioned in the 1883 book, History of Fairfield and Perry Counties, Ohio, compiled by A.A. Graham.

Son Will owned the first automobile in Glenford, and later became partners with his father in the store, and in 1896 the New Lexington Tribune reported that "S.R. Johnston & Co. is a firm of the past; it now reads S.R. Johnston & Son."


Copyright © 2000, 2005-2006, 2018 Mark A. Miner