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Eliza Johnston's Geni Profile

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Eliza Johnston (Griffin)

Birthdate: (74)
Birthplace: Fincastle, VA
Death: September 25, 1896 (74)
Los Angeles, CA
Place of Burial: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Caswell Griffin and Mary Griffin
Wife of Gen Albert Sidney Johnston (CSA)
Mother of Henrietta Preston Johnston; Albert Sidney Johnston, Jr.; Hancock McClung Johnston, Sr.; Margaret Strother Prichard; Griffin Johnston and 1 other
Sister of Viola Griffin; Mary Griffin and Caroline Griffin

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Eliza Johnston

Eliza Griffin Johnston, artist and diarist, was the second wife of Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston. She was born in Fincastle, Virginia, on December 26, 1821, the youngest child and only surviving daughter of John Caswell and Mary (Hancock) Griffin. Her parents died when she was five years old, and she was raised by her Grandmother and later an uncle. She was a cousin to General Johnston's first wife, who died in 1835 and he began courting her when she was about eighteen years old. They married on Oct. 3, 1843.

Her diary from the fall of 1854 and winter of 1855 as she traveled with her husband and his regiment from Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, to Fort Mason, on the Texas frontier, is the best source of information on the regiment's journey.

Eliza's obituary, from The Los Angeles Herald, Volume 25, Number 362, 26 September 1896, reads: HER LONG ILLNESS ENDED:

Death of the Widow of the Late Gen. AlBert Sidney Johnston.

Mrs. Eliza Griffin Johnston, widow of the late Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, died ln this city yesterday morning; at the residence of her son-in-law, United States Attorney George J. Denis, at the age of 75 years, after a lingering illness. She leaves one son and two daughters, all residents of this state. Mrs. Johnston came to California in 1861 with her husband. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, then in command of the dlvlsion of the Pacific with headquarters at San Francisco. Gen. Johnston resigned his command in the United States army, and, leaving his family in San Francisco, returned east and entered the service of the confederacy, being killed at the battle of Shiloh. Mrs. Johnston resided in San Francisco with her family until 1880, when they removed to this city, which has since been her home. Mrs. Johnston was a member of the Episcopal faith, and for years was prominent in that faith. She was of a singularly lovable character, and had many friends, not only ln Los Angeles, but throughout the state, who will sincerely mourn her death.

The obituary doesn't mention her short sojourn in a home she named "Fair Oaks" and had built in Pasadena on land purchased from her brother, Dr. John S. Griffin, a retired military surgeon, who purchased and developed the Rancho San Pasqual. The residence was completed in the spring of 1863 and had nine rooms including three bedrooms, a parlor, dining room and kitchen. The house was later moved and is now the oldest framehouse in the San Gabriel Valley.

Eliza Johnston left the house after the death of her son Albert Sidney Johnston Jr. in the explosion of the steamship "S.S. Ada Hancock" in San Pedro Harbor on April 27, 1863. He was one of 26 people killed when the ship's boiler exploded during rough weather. Among the survivors were the ship's owner Phineas Banning and his wife, who were both injured in the explosion.

In 1894 she donated relics of her husband and family to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.The donation included a book she had compiled for her husband of watercolors of Texas wildflowers she had painted in the 1840s and 1850s. She continued to reside in Los Angeles until her death on September 25, 1896. Texas Wild Flowers, a book of 101 of her paintings, was published in 1972.

Buried next to her are her sons Griffin Johnston, and Albert Sidney Johnson, her daughter Alberta Johnston Denis, son-in-law George Jules Denis and grand-daughter Alberta Denis.



Albert Sidney Johnston (1803 - 1862)



Albert Sidney Johnston (1845 - 1863)


Hancock McClung Johnston (1847 - 1904)


Margaret Strother Johnston Prichard (1851 - 1922)


Griffin Johnston (1857 - 1895)


Alberta Johnston Denis (1861 - 1947)

Maintained by: Kathleen

Originally Created by: James Henkel

Record added: Feb 09, 2005

Find A Grave Memorial# 10447261

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Eliza Johnston's Timeline

December 26, 1821
Fincastle, VA
Age 10
Age 23
Age 25
China Grove Plantation, Brazoria, Texas, USA
Age 29
March 21, 1857
Age 35
Texas, USA
Age 39
September 25, 1896
Age 74
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA