Knox Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Huron County, Ontario — Johnston

This entry is part [part not set] of 60 in the series Cemeteries

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The members of the my great-grandmother’s family who died in or near Grey Township are also buried at Knox Presbyterian cemetery.

John Johnston was a taxable resident of Grey Township by 1866; I do not know the exact date he arrived there. Just two members of John’s family survived and migrated to Michigan, his children, James and Jane. Jane was my great-grandmother.

A cousin related to me that her father, Rae Johnston, son of James Johnston and grandson of John Johnston, traveled to Canada with a friend and visited the cemeteries. It seems that either James or Rae Johnston purchased the Johnston gravestones. The appearance and style of the markers is not consistent with the death years of the family.


My second great-grandfather, John Johnston, 1829-1881


Catherine Raper Johnston, 1834-1880

Margaret “Maggie” Johnston, 1863-1880

Barbara Winnie Johnston, 1876-1881

I stood at this grave for a long time. As a reminder, I didn’t crop my foot off the photo. In my mind, this grave connected and cemented my relationship to this family forever. My grandmother, Winnie Alice Kaiser, must have been named for this aunt, her mother’s sister. Just seeing the name made me shiver. I had absolutely no doubt, these Johnstons were my family.

After this trek, I drove back to Goderich and began to search the marriage, death and birth indices for the time. Funny, a marriage record I found said this:

#004614-81: William HARBOTTLE, 23, farmer, born Granville, Ontario, residing Grey twp., son of John HARBOTTLE & Sarah CHISHOLM, married Kate JOHNSTON, 23, born Perth County, Ontario., residing Grey township, d/o John JOHNSTON & Catherine RAPER, witnesses were Earnest HARBOTTLE & Mary Ann KAISER, both of Grey Township, date April 20, 1881 at Grey twp.

Hmmm. Back to the cemetery records; then, another, sadder drive back to the cemetery.

Katherine “Kate” Johnston Harbottle, 1857-1881

catherinejohnstonharbottleclose up

I remember years ago, when Papa and I located the grave of his g-grandmother I said, great! Now, who else is around here, it is important to look at the neighbors. That day we did find some neighboring graves with names that seemed significant to us. On this day in May, 1991, in Grey, Ontario, I had missed it. I would not have realized, even had I seen the grave before I left the cemetery the first time. I am glad I had planned a several day trip, in order to view all the records I could find in the area.

After locating Kate’s marker, I took this overview of the Johnston markers and her marker, to show the relationship.


The taller, older marker for Kate is just behind the Johnston lot, in the next row.

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    • Joseph C. Johnston on September 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Hi-Im an avid genealogist and am looking for John Johnston family who left Ireland during the potato famine. From what I understand this Johnston moved to Nebraska looking for gold??? Any info. on this family? The bad part is these brothers have very common names, John, Joe maybe a Jim or James??? I believe there were 3 brothers who definitely came to Canada, Grey County. You look like you are a fantastic geneaology-we sure would appreciate any kind of help with this family. As you can see we live in FL and wouldnt be able to get up there any time soon. Thank you for any kind of info.!!!! Take Care and Good Luck with your continued genealogy-Joe

  1. Since my Johnston ancestors were in Grey Township, Huron County, I’m not exactly sure how I could help you. I have not done any research in Grey County. I do know that John Johnston is an extremely common name for Johnston men in Ontario. My ancestors were from Scotland. I would suggest you consult the research outline for Ontario on the website. [] The outlines are great help in planning your research. You should start with your parents and grandparents, and work backwards. That way you can be sure you have the right family.

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