Alfred J. Johnston, of Sacramento, is the head of the firm of A. J. Johnston Company, largest stationery and printing house of that city; and is also actively engaged in the fruit-raising industry of California, in connection with which he carries on a successful cannery on his foothill ranch in Eldorado county.
He was born in Nevada county in 1857 and his ancestral history is one of close connection with American interests from colonial times. He is descended from Revolutionary stock, and his parents, David and Nancy S. (Glass) Johnston, were both natives of Pennsylvania. They came to California upon their wedding trip in 1852, locating first in Sacramento and after a year removing to Nevada county. The father was a lawyer by profession and made a specialty of realty and mining law, being connected with much important litigation in those branches of jurisprudence. He retired from his profession in 1893 and turned his attention to stock and fruit raising in Eldroado county, making his home at Cool, where he spent his remaining days, his death occurring in May, 1903. His widow now makes her home with her son Alfred, who is the second of the family of three sons and a daughter, namely: Robert G., now deceased; Belle, the wife of W. H. Prouty; and Walter who has also passed away.
As a student in the public schools, Alfred J. Johnston pursued his studies until he had mastered a part of the high school course. At the age of sixteen he put aside his text books and learned the printer's trade with H. A. Weaver. In 1882, with the late R. W. Lewis, he engaged in the printing business, and since the death of Mr. Lewis in 1885, he has conducted the business alone, securing a good patronage which makes the enterprise a profitable one. It has been his close application and indefatigable industry which have made him one of the substantial citizens of the community. He was appointed in 1891, by Governor Markham, to the position of superintendent of the state printing office, entering upon his duties in January, 1891. The legislature, during the session of that year, made the office an elective one, and at the regular election of 1894 he was chosen by popular vote to the position, and in 1898 was re-elected, acting in that capacity for twelve consecutive years, his control of the office and the character of the work done therein giving uniform satisfaction throughout the state.
He was selected by the board of supervisors of the county of Sacramento as one of the county commissioners of the St. Louis World's Fair Exposition, and was subsequently elected president of that commission, and has taken an active part in organizing the fourteen counties which represent the great Sacramento valley into one association to be known as the Sacramento Valley Development Association.
In November, 1884, Mr. Johnston was united in marriage to Miss Luella Buckminster, of San Francisco, a daughter of Alva and Zeruah (Huntoon) Buckminster. Her father espoused the cause of the Union in the Civil war and was killed at the battle of Spottsylvania, while fighting under General Grant, thus giving his life as a ransom for his country's release from the thralls of slavery. To Mr. and Mrs. Johnston have been born five children: David, Alva, Markham, Luella and Robert.
Mr. Johnston has very pleasant social relations with the Masonic fraternity, in which he has attained the Knight Templar degree, also belonging to the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobels of the Mystic Shrine. He is likewise a valued representative of the Native Sons of the Golden West and the Elks lodge of Sacramento. His political support is given the Republican party, and he is recognized as one of the workers in its ranks in behalf of local and state politics. His life has been characterized by fidelity to duty, by persistency of purpose and by reliability and continuity in business affairs, and therefore he enjoys the respect and good will of his fellow men.
Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume I
The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine
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