Isaac M. JOHNSTON, was born at his present location April 20, 1838, son of James and Elizabeth (McNew) JOHNSTON. They were of Irish descent, and natives of Virginia, the father of Smith County, and the mother of Washington. The father was born August 30, 1789, and died, where our subject now lives, September 12, 1871; the mother born April 9, 1801, died December 25, 1876, at our subject’s present home. His grandfather, Robert JOHNSTON, was born in Londonberry, Ireland, and came to America when a young man, settling in Smyth County, Va., where he died after he had spent a long life as a school teacher. His parents were married in Sullivan County, about the year 1819, and after their marriage they settled in Washington County, Va., where they lived some two or three years, then immigrated to Tennessee, and settled in Claiborne County, where they spent the remainder of their days. The father was a successful planter, and filled the office of magistrate twelve years. He and wife were worthy members of the Anabaptist Church, was deacon in the church for several years before his death.
Our subject is the youngest of eleven children, only three of whom are still living. He was reared on his father’s farm, an occupation he has never deserted. As this mother’s death, 1876, he came in possession of the homestead by buying out the different heirs; now owns upward of 400 acres of land. March 3, 1859, he married Miss Nourvesta SOUTHERN, of Claiborne County; to their union born eleven children – eight sons and three daughters – two sons are dead.
Our subject entered the Confederate States Army in August, 1863, and served with credit the remainder of the war. He enlisted in Company L., first Tennessee Cavalry, connected with different commands while operating in Tennessee, and when the regiment started to Virginia, our subject was captured near Knoxville, and sent as a prisoner of war to Rock Island, Ill, where he was kept until the close of the war; reached Iowa June 27, 1865, and resumed the peaceful occupation of the farm. He took part in the siege of Knoxville, Bull Gap, and many other battles; was in the battle of Rogersville, Tenn., Our subject is a staunch Prohibitionist.
Goodspeed Publishing Co. History of Tennessee from the Earliest Time to the Present: Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of from Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties of East Tennessee. Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887.