Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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JOHNSTON, William Freame, governor of Pennsylvania, born in Greensburg, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, 29 November, 1808; died in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, 25 October, 1872. He was admitted to the bar in 1829, and, removing to Armstrong county, became district attorney. He also represented his county several terms in the legislature, and originated the bill to issue relief-notes. In 1847 he was elected state senator and president of that body. On the resignation of Francis R. Shunk in July following, he became governor of Pennsylvania, and in October, 1849, was elected for the full term. As an antislavery Whig, he took strong grounds against the fugitive-slave law. On retiring from office in 1852, he became president of the Alleghany Valley railroad. During the civil war he took an active part in organizing troops, as chairman of the executive committee of public safety, superintended the construction of the defences at Pittsburg, and, in connection with John Harper, became financially responsible for a large amount of ammunition that was sent to West Virginia. He was appointed collector of the port of Philadelphia by President Johnson, but was not confirmed.
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