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William Johnston and Jane Mussenden

William1 Johnston is said to have been a son of one John Johnston and _____ Leathes.1 During the reign of William of Orange (William III) and directly after the massacre of Glencoe in 1692 John (and his sister) came from Scotland to Ireland.2 We can surmise that if John at that time was an adult he may have already sired William and brought him to Ireland as a young child, along with his wife and any other family. If we follow this line of thinking, for which there is no proof, we can guage a date of circa 1690 to William for his birth. If, conversely, William was born in Ireland it would have been shortly after 1692. William proved a capable man and became Commisioner of Customs at Belfast as well as Sheriff of County Antrim.3 William married Jane Mussenden, a daughter of John Mussenden, (some sources say William Mussenden) who died in 1700 and Jane Leathes.4 Evidently, both William Johnston and his wife Jane Mussenden had mothers whose maiden name was Leathes (they were sisters), and so there was a strong connection with this family. This Leathes family originated in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England.5 William and family resided at Newforge, near Belfast. In 1733 William received a 41-year lease in perpetuity to almost all water sources for Belfast from trustees of the Earl of Donegal. Subsequently, William engineered and built the waterworks of Belfast and was known in the area as "Pipewater Johnston". This endeavor failed to become lucrative and it was eventually decided in 1762 to sublet the venture to others, although the family continued to receive some income from it.6 William and Jane Johnston had issue ten children,7 two of whom were:

Jane2 Johnston. Jane married Rev. James Saurin of Belfast.8

William2 Johnston, born circa 1728. William, his father's namesake and youngest son, also led a notable life. In the mid 1700's, during the Seven Years War (also called the French and Indian War), he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a midshipman, and "served at the capture of Louisbourg in 1758 (June 8th-July 26th)." Louisbourg was the a French stronghold on Cape Breton Island. Peace was declared on 26 July 1758. Probably in 1757, and certainly prior to the events at Louisbourg, William had married Elizabeth McNeil. After Louisbourg William returned home to his nascent family and was appointed Surveyor of Port Rush and the Barony of Dunluce in County Antrim. His wife Elizabeth was a daughter of John McNeil, Esq., possessor of the quarterlands of Currysheskin and Craigballynoe (Craig), in Ballantoy Parish.9 A digression, rather than a footnote, can be made here to describe this historic area of Antrim. This is an area along the rugged northern edge of Ireland, just east of where McDonnell's Dunluce Castle stands, and near where one of the Spanish Armada's ships The Girona had been wrecked (at Port na Spaniagh) during late August of 1588.10 It is directly south-west of nearby Rathlin Island where legend says an illiterate Johnstone clansman made an endeavor to warn the beleaguered Robert Bruce, who was hiding in a cave, that the English were coming for him. A spur with feathers attached was presented, whose meaning, take flight with speed, would have been obvious to the Bruce.11 The Johnston/e Clan crest displaying "A winged spur Or", and known as The Spur and Phoenix, is said to be the result.12 Across the water and visible on clear days, is Scotland. William died in 1771 at 43 years of age.13 William and Elizabeth had issue five children; three daughters and two sons.14 They were:

Jane3 Johnston, born circa 1758
John3 Johnston, born 25 August 1762. Died 22 September 1828.
Eliza3 Johnston.
William3 Johnston.
Charlotte3 Johnston.
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1 The Descendants of John Johnston and Oshauguscodaywayquay of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Compiled by Margaret Curtiss Weaver with the assistance of: Elizabeth Hambleton, et al., n.d., page 2 "Pedigree of John Johnston" [1762-1828].
2 The John Johnston Family of Sault Ste. Marie, edited by Elizabeth Hambleton and Elizabeth Warren Stoutamire, The John Johnston Family Association, 1992, page 1. Printed by Hundley Incorporated, Washington, D.C., 1992.
3 Ontarian Families: Genealogies of United Empire Loyalist and Other Pioneer Families of Upper Canada, Edward Marion Chadwick, 1894, Volume 2, page 45.
4 The Descendants of John Johnston and Oshauguscodaywayquay of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, Compiled by Margaret Curtiss Weaver with the assistance of: Elizabeth Hambleton, et al., n.d., page 2 "Pedigree of John Johnston" [1762-1828].
5 Ibid.
6 George Benn, A History of the Town of Belfast from the Earliest Times to the Close of the Eighteenth Century, (London: Marcus Ward & Co., 1877), pages 485 - 489.
7 Ontarian Families: Genealogies of United Empire Loyalist and Other Pioneer Families of Upper Canada, Edward Marion Chadwick, 1894, Volume 2, page 45.
8 Ibid.
9 The John Johnston Family of Sault Ste. Marie, edited by Elizabeth Hambleton and Elizabeth Warren Stoutamire, The John Johnston Family Association, 1992, page 1. Printed by Hundley Incorporated, Washington, D.C., 1992.
10 Robert Stenuit, Treasures of the Armada, (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc. 1973), pages 146 - 163.
11 Justice Russell C. Honey, The Gentle Johnston/es, (Canada: Fallsbrook Publishing Inc. 1996), page 103.
12
13 The John Johnston Family of Sault Ste. Marie, edited by Elizabeth Hambleton and Elizabeth Warren Stoutamire, The John Johnston Family Association, 1992, page 1. Printed by Hundley Incorporated, Washington, D.C., 1992.
14 John Johnston, "Autobiographical Letters of the Late John Johnston, Esq. of the Falls of St. Mary's, Michigan." Introductory Remarks by Henry R. Schoolcraft, 1844. Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections 32 (1903): page 330. The christian names of John's siblings have continued to be used in the family until nearly the present day.