Johnston, James (1827-1922)
Transcription of ‘Sketch’ In the Christian Messenger
MR. JAMES JOHNSTON was brought from Westmoreland into the County of Durham in early life. Here he was reached in his early manhood by the Primitive Methodist Church, and led to Christ in 1850. This occurred at Crook, two miles away. From that time he endeavoured to secure an opening for his Church in his own village, eventually succeeding despite numerous difficulties. The stages of progress are – a cottage prayer meeting, a little room, a chapel, and finally the present commodious and centrally situated church.
As one of the “Founders of the Connexion” in Willington, he has worthily filled most of the offices in the church, and though with advancing years some of these have been relinquished, there is one that he still retains after holding it for fifty-four years, that of Class Leader, and class leading with him means leading a class at its weekly meetings in praise, prayer, testimony; leading it to a life of faith, love, service. Thus he differs from the leader who simply distributes class tickets, collects quarterages, and attends official meetings, though he by no means overlooks such matters, for his members pay as well as pray, and toil as well as talk.
Now, in his eighty-fourth year, Mr. Johnston inevitably looks back to “the good old times” occasionally, but does not live in them. With the faith that “the best is yet to be” he moves forward full of projects for the future. But amidst them all there is one thing that he prays for and talks about continually, namely, an old-fashioned revival of religion. And, there is a sign, only as large as a man’s hand, of its coming. For this he thanks God and surely expects “showers of blessing.”
Family and other information
James was born in 1827 at Bickpool, nr Shap, Westmorland, to parents John and Jane. John was a coal miner.
James followed his father as a coal miner.
James married Ann Pescod (abt 1828-1895) in the summer of 1852 in the Auckland Registration District. Census returns identify two children.
- Thomas Pescod (abt1853-1883) – a printer compositor
- Jane Ann (abt1855-1940) – married Cornelius Ferguson, a coal-mine manager (1901), in 1873
James married Mary Mason (1843-1914) in the spring of 1897 in the Durham Registration District.
James died on 19 December 1922 at Willington, Co. Durham.
Christian Messenger 1911/91
Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers