Col. Witter Johnston

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Witter Johnston

Birthdate: (86)
Birthplace: Sidney, Delaware, NY, USA
Death: October 4, 1839 (86)
Sidney, Delaware, NY, USA
Place of Burial: Sidney, Delaware, NY, USA
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. William Johnston Jr. and Anna Witter Johnston
Husband of Lois Johnston and Jane Johnston
Father of Hugh C. Johnston; Mary Baxter; Ann Baxter; Harvey Johnston; Milton Johnston and 4 others
Brother of Capt. Hugh Johnston and William Johnston

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Col. Witter Johnston

A Patriot of the American Revolution for NEW YORK with the rank of LIEUTENANT. DAR Ancestor #: A064121

Colonel Witter Johnston died in Sidney, New York, which is located on approximately two square miles in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains at the junction of the Susquehanna and Unadilla Rivers. It is situated in the northwest corner of Delaware County, abutting both Chenango and Otsego counties. Sidney is located at the junction of Interstate 88 and State Route 8, making the cities of Oneonta, Binghamton, and Utica readily accessible. (This description came from the town's web site in 2009: <>)

Recorded history of Sidney began in the early 1770's when Colonel Witter Johnston's father, Reverend William Johnston, built his home in the location of the current Sidney Airport. The area was referred to as the Johnston Settlement or Sidney Plains and was geographically part of the Otsego County and the township of Unadilla.

During the American Revolution Reverend Johnston and most of the nonloyalist population of the area fled to Cherry Valley for protection from the pro-British Native Americans and the Tory claim-jumpers. In July 1778, in order to scatter Native Americans, New York's Governor Clinton ordered Colonel William Butler to burn their villages along the Susquehanna River. Soon after Reverend Johnston and the other white settlers returned to the area.

Katharine Newbury Manierre wrote (1905-06): "Colonel Witter Johnston's services in behalf of American Independence were with the N.Y. state troops and mainly in the Mohawk County. In a pamphlet containing an account of the Sidney Plains, NY Centennial Jubilee, Judge David McMaster of Bath, NY, gave a historical address in which full statements of the services of Col. Johnston and the patriotic character of the Johnston family, see pp 38-9-40. The history of their experience in the massacre of Cherry Valley may be found on pp 33-36 of the same pamphlet. The only known copies of these pamphlets are held by Mrs. Frances Newbury [here KNM inserted 'Now owned by Mrs. George Manierre'], Jackson, MI and Mrs. L.F. Selfridge, Chicago, and Jane Blair, Crawfordsville, Indiana."

In 1796 the state legislature subdivided Otsego County. Delaware County was created from this subdivision. Later the Town of Sidney was subdivided to create the Town of Masonville.

During its formative years, Sidney's economic base consisted of farming, timber, potash harvest, and services catering to farming needs.

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Following is a message sent 7/7/2011 by Alexandria Agnelli-Bond to Michael Reid Delahunt, both descendants of Col. Witter Johnston.

Buona Sera Michael:

I looked at other DAR records and have a bit more info as delineated below:

Volume 23, [p.383] ROLL OF HONOR, page 231

Miss Lilian Whitney Blair.

DAR ID Number: 22660

Born in Crawfordsville, Indiana.

Descendant of Rev. William Johnston and of Sergt. Witter Johnston, of New York.

Daughter of Robert Blair and Jane Johnston, his wife.

Granddaughter of Rev. James Henry Johnston and Eliza Grover, his wife.

Gr.-granddaughter of Witter Johnston and Jane Campbell, his wife.

Gr.-gr.-granddaughter of William Johnston and Anne Witter Cummings, his wife.

William Johnston, (1713-83), was a patriot preacher who had the courage of his convictions which made him obnoxious to the Tories and Indians. The manuscript of his Thanksgiving [p.231] sermon delivered, 1782, was shown at the Sidney Centennial Jubilee, 1872.

Witter Johnston, (1753-1839), was a pioneer of Cherry Valley, gave valuable service to the close of the war and was among those who dined with Washington when he visited that locality, 1783. He was placed on the pension roll of Delaware county, 1831, for service of private and sergeant in the New York Continental Line.

Also Nos. 9040, 10002.


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Col. Witter Johnston's Timeline

Sidney, Delaware, NY, USA
January 19, 1792
Age 39
Tecumseh, MI
July 19, 1793
Age 40
February 1, 1795
Age 42
Age 44
October 14, 1798
Age 45
September 17, 1800
Age 47
Age 55
October 4, 1839
Age 86
Sidney, Delaware, NY, USA