These photos came from a photo album of the John Johnston Family. Fortunately we know the names, dates and some background history of this family. This is not always the case as most photos come to us lacking this very basic information.
John Johnston was born in Elizabethtown Township to Patrick Johnston (abt 1822-1892) and Louisa Bell Knox (1823-1911). John’s parents were immigrants from Antrim, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Patrick and Louisa met each other here in Upper Canada, married and raised a family of 9 children. There were 6 boys and 3 girls. John was the youngest of the family. Patrick and Louisa raised their family in a small log house just west of Elizabethtown, that is now Brockville, near Grant’s Creek.
John was a stone mason by trade, working at the Cemetery Works and later on his own as a contractor. Some of his work can still be seen in and around the Lyn and Brockville area. In 1887 John bought a small 75 acre farm located on the Lyn Road, onto which he moved with his parents Patrick and Louisa. In 1891 John married Lilly Bell Patterson who was at the time working at the Ontario Glove Works in Brockville. Lilly Bell was orphaned at a very early age, and raised by her grandparents Thomas Haffie (1813-1891) and Jane Manary (1823-1899) in Mallorytown.
John and his new bride Lilly would spend the rest of their lives living and raising their family in the house that John had purchased on the Lyn Road. They raised four daughters in that house. The oldest Edith was born in 1892 and the youngest Irene was born in 1908.
John would farm his land, raising cows for milk, chickens for their eggs, and had a vegetable garden that his wife looked after. He used this to supplement his income working as a stone mason. Lilly Bell would take her eggs and butter into Brockville to sell or trade at the local grocery stores, as was customary in that time.
During their life they lived through two World Wars and the Great Depression. They would see the arrival of electricity and with it eventually came the radio. They would go from horse drawn carriages to the automobile; they would see the decline of the Village of Lyn and the growth of the Town of Brockville, as it prospered along the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
John was born in 1866 and died in 1950. His wife Lilly Belle was born in 1869 and died in 1946.
Here now are the photos that we have of this family as they grew and lived their lives. A brief rare glimpse into their family history.
John purchased this house in 1887. He added a front porch and back kitchen and woodshed.
Lilly and John in their later years:
In 1941 John and Lilly celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary
John and Lilly are buried in Oakland Cemetery, just west of Brockville.