The Family of

John & Elizabeth [nee Orr] Johnston


From Belfast, Ireland,

to Montreal, Cornwall & Ottawa, Canada

and on to Toronto


John JOHNSTON and Elizabeth ORR were married in Belfast, Ireland, in 1864 (read about her parents' family here). By 1871 they had migrated to Canada, living initially in Montreal, Quebec, then in Cornwall, Ontario. The famly was in Ottawa, Ontario by the spring of 1889 - Elizabeth died there of tuberculosis on 11 June 1889. At least one child subsequently moved to the Toronto, Ontario, area by 1891, and the rest of the family had followed by about 1894.


John Johnston, born Belfast 1842 - died Toronto 1916


The above photo shows John Johnston as he probably appeared in the 1890-1894 period. Facts found at suggest that the photographers James Arthur and [first name unknown] Philbric had a studio at 159 Summit Street in Toledo, Ohio, between 1890 and 1894. John's older brother Robert lived in Toledo in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, so it would seem plausible that John might have visited for a while after his wife died. No photograph has yet been found which portrays Elizabeth [nee Orr] Johnston.

John Johnston himself died on 19 Nov 1916, while residing in the Toronto Free Hospital for Consumptives in Weston, Ontario, just west of the then City of Toronto, and east of Weston. The death registration (Office of the Registrar General for Ontario: York County, No 039664; Volume 1916-31, Page 657; Archives of Ontario MS 935 Reel 227) compiled in his name was completed by N A CRAIG of 1255 Queen St West. Disappointingly, Craig did not apparently know John's father's name, and reported only that his mother's maiden surname was 'Burns'. Craig correctly reported that John was 'Widowed', and that he was a 74 year old native of Ireland. The Might's Directory for the City of Toronto that was published in 1916 (Streets section, Page 366)  shows that Norman A Craig was an undertaker whose premises were located at 1255 Queen St. West, so it's not surprising that he knew very little about John's origins. 

An interment register from Toronto's Prospect Cemetery (located in the west end) shows that John Johnston's remains were interred there on the 21st of Nov 1916 (see No 16905, Folio 82, Volume 2 (1914-1921). Edward Albert Johnston (John's second son) owned the plot in which John was buried - a single grave in Section 17, Lot 4437. But, a short time later, on 22 May 1920, John's remains were moved to Section 17, Lot 273. The interment register contains no remarks as to why the remains might have been moved, unfortunately. Curiously, John's father Samuel's remains were buried in one cemetery in Toledo, Ohio, after he died there on 20 September 1902, and then were removed and re-interred in another Toledo cemetery on 4 November 1902. Read about Samuel Johnston, John's father, here.

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.


Are you aware of any [other ?] photographs which show images of

John Johnston, or particularly his wife Elizabeth Orr,

or any of their children or descendants?

What about stories about any of these people?

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