The Family of

Samuel & Isabella [nee Burns] Johnston


Of Northern Ireland

and Toledo, Ohio


Samuel JOHNSTON and Isabella BURNS were married in the Townsend Street Presbyterian Church in Belfast, Ireland, on 5 May 1838. Samuel was said at that time to be 'of Carrickfergus', while Isabella was said to be 'of Ballynahinch'. Two men from Belfast stood as witnesses to the ceremony - Arthur Johnston and John Johnston. Their relationship with Samuel is not presently known.

Nothing is known about the origins or parents of either Samuel Johnston or Isabella Burns, although some family speculation has suggested that Isabella's father was named Robert. Naming pattern usage within their family, however, suggests that it was Samuel's father who was named Robert.

Samuel worked as a gardener in Ireland, as did his son Robert before he moved to the United States in the late 1870s. Samuel & Isabella's second child - son John, also worked as a gardener for some time after emigrating to Canada around 1871.

Samuel & Isabella's seven known children were:

  • Robert Johnston, b. 06 Apr  [1839-1840 ?], Ireland; d. 05 Oct 1925, Toledo, Ohio, USA.
  • John Johnston, b. 1842, Belfast, Ireland; m. Elizabeth ORR, Belfast, 1864; d. 08 Nov 1916, Toronto, Canada. Discover more about John & Elizabeth's family here.
  • Maria Johnston, b. 1845.
  • Isabella Johnston, b. 1849; d. 1942.
  • Annie Johnston, b. 1850; d. 1944; m. John PETTIGREW,  b. 1850; d. 1931.
  • Martha Johnston, b. 1853; d. 1926; m. Albert OSBORNE.
  • Samuel Johnston, b. 1855; d. 25 Jan 1950, Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Isabella [nee Burns] Johnston died in Belfast aged 62 years on 27 July 1878. Her remains were buried in the City Cemetery, Belfast, Ireland, on 29 July 1878 [Section I, Grave 596].

Samuel subsequently moved to the United States - Toledo, Ohio, probably late in 1900 or early 1901 [no details pertaining to Samuel have been found in 1900 federal census records from the Toledo area. Nor have any details about him been found in 1901 Census of Ireland records]. It's believed that he lived in Toledo within his oldest son Robert's household. 

Samuel Johnston with Son Robert, Grandson Samuel, and Great-Grandson in Toledo, circa 1898 (ex pj 4GENJOHNSTON)Samuel Johnston with Son Robert on the left, Grandson Samuel on the right, and Great-Grandson (either Everett or Herbert) in Toledo, circa 1900 (ex pj 4GENJOHNSTON)


Samuel died in Washington Township, Lucas County [Toledo], Ohio, on 20 September 1902. At that time he was said to be 91 years and 6 months of age, implying that he was born in about March, 1811. Samuel's remains were initially interred in Woodlawn Cemetery, but his remains were later (4 November 1902) removed and re-interred in Forest Cemetery, Toledo [Section N, North-east part of Lot 34]. Samuel & Isabella's son Robert was also interred there in 1925. No memorial stones are evident concerning Samuel or Robert in Forest Cemetery today (2023). Slightly inaccurate details about the burials and gravesite of Samuel Johnston, his son Robert, and Robert's wife Elizabeth [nee SUMMERSKILL], can be found here.

See this collections of photographs which show additional photographs of some of Samuel's descendants. Also found there are photos of Isabella's grave site and memorial stone in Belfast. No photographs of Isabella [nee Burns] Johnston herself are presently known to exist.

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.


Are you aware of any photographs which show images of

Samuel Johnston, or particularly his wife Isabella Burns,

or any of their children or descendants?

What about stories or facts, even speculative ones, about any of these people?

Are you willing to share them?

We would love to learn about them, and add them to this collection. Thank you for your help!