Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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A Stan Klos Biography - Samuel Johnston was the only man to refuse the
elected office of President of the United States in Congress Assembled
Johnston, Samuel, senator, born in Dundee,
Scotland, 15 December, 1733; died near Edenton, North Carolina, 18 August, 1816,
came to this country in 1736 with his father, John, who settled in North
Carolina, and acquired large estates there. Samuel was educated for the bar, and
in 1767-'72 was clerk of the superior court of Chowan county, North Carolina,
and at the same time a naval officer under the crown. He soon became known as a
politician and lawyer, was an ardent patriot, a member of the assembly in 1769,
where he was placed on its standing committee of inquiry and correspondence, an
active member of the first two Provincial congresses, and presided over the
third and fourth. In August, 1775, he was elected chairman of the provincial
council, and virtually became governor of the state.
He was chosen treasurer of the northern district of North Carolina in
September of that year, was a member of the Continental congress of 1781-'2.
In July 1781 he was the first man elected as President of the United States in
Congress Assembled under the newly ratified Articles of Confederation. He
refused to accept the US Presidency and the following day Thomas McKean was
In 1788 elected governor of North Carolina, presiding over the convention
that failed to ratify the Federal constitution, which he supported with all his
influence. In the following year he also presided over the convention that
adopted the constitution. In 1789-'93 he was a member of the United States
senate, as a Federalist, and in February, 1800, was appointed judge of the
superior court, resigning in 1803.
JOHNSTON, Samuel, inventor, born in Shelby, Orleans County, New York, 9 February, 1835. His father was a farmer and a weaver of fine linens; his mother was also a weaver. At the age of twenty he invented a corn and bean planter and a bean harvester. The most successful machines now in use in this line are built in many respects like those first made by him. In 1856 he applied his first self-rake to the Ketchum reaper; its success attracted wide attention, and its manufacture was begun in Buffalo, New York, in 1858. In 1864 Mr. Johnston established a factory at Syracuse, New York, and in 1868 bought one at Brockport, New York, and organized the Johnston harvester company. In 1875 he resigned from active interest in the company, and since that time his business has been confined to inventing. The Johnston self-rake caused a revolution in the harvesting of grain throughout the world. In 1879 ninety-five percent of all the reapers made used the inventions of Mr. Johnston. He has just completed (1887) a new self-rake binder.
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