John W. Johnston

 

John W. Johnston

Term: 1833 - 1835
Party: Whig
Born: 1774
State of Maryland
Died: June 1, 1854
St. Louis, Missouri
 
John W. Johnston (Mayor 1833-1835)-Background
Mayor (1833-1835). John W. Johnston was born in the state of Maryland in 1774. He had little formal education. Johnston came west in 1808 as a government trader with the Sauk and Fox Indians near the junction of the Des Moines and Mississippi Rivers at Keokuk, Iowa. In 1818 he officiated in the purchase and distribution of $30,000 worth of presents to the 19 Indian Tribes who made peace at Portage des Sioux, in St. Charles County. Next he became Indian Agent at Prairie du Chien in Wisconsin. He also served as a Justice of the Crawford County Court in Wisconsin. In 1822 he moved to St. Louis and took an active interest in civic affairs.

As a government trader with the Indians, Johnston met and married the daughter of Indian Chief Keokuk. Following her death, he married Mrs. Lucy Honeywell Gooding in 1831. Under the care of his second wife, his three Indian daughters became prominent in St. Louis Society.

Back to the top


John W. Johnston (Mayor 1833-1835)-Administration
In 1833 John W. Johnston became the third Mayor of St. Louis.

John Johnston was chosen Mayor at a special election on November 9, 1833. Daniel D. Page had continued to serve as Mayor during the court action following the election in April of 1833. Dr. Samuel Merry, who had been elected, was declared ineligible because he held a Federal office -- United States Receiver of Public Moneys. This Missouri Supreme Court decision came in October of 1833.

During Johnston's administration the procedure in elections and election contests was amended and written in more detail. This legislation came as the result of Dr. Merry's contested election. The City's population had about doubled from the 4,000 in 1820, so it was decided to divide it into fours wards instead of the three set up under the first Mayor. The City Charter was changed by the Missouri Legislature, giving St. Louis Board of Alderman power to re-district the town into four wards. The Mayor approved an Ordinance regulating the revenues and taxes of the City. This Ordinance (March 28, 1835) set out the duties of the Assessor, Collector and Register in detail, to provide for the financial needs of the City.

One of the City's first parking regulations was put into effect. It was made unlawful to park carriages on the street overnight. No wagon, dray, cart, sleigh or other carriage could be left parked on the street or in an alley one hour after sunset. The fine was set at $5.00 for each offense. This fine was collected by action of debt before the Mayor, an Alderman, or Justice of the Peace. The City Constable took such carriages into his possession until the fine and costs were paid. Where the owner could not be found, the City sold the vehicle, deducted the amount of fine and costs, and held the remainder for the owner if and when he appeared.

Back to the top


John W. Johnston (Mayor 1833-1835)-Post-Administration
John W. Johnston died June 1, 1854, at the age of 80. He was buried in Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

Back to the top

St. Louis Public Library Search this Exhibit About this Exhibit Contact Us
Copyright 2001 St. Louis Public Library. (St. Louis, MO) All rights reserved.