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Archibald Johnston (1793-1818)


Archibald Johnston (1793-1818)

James Dodson


Archibald Johnston was born in Truro, Nova Scotia, August 16, 1793. His parents were Covenanters from Hamilton, Scotland. In 1805, he and his family relocated to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where he received his earliest education and was apprenticed for the printing business. In 1808, he left off secular pursuits and began to study in preparation for Christian ministry. He attended the Canonsburgh Academy, and graduated from Jefferson College in 1813. He studied theology in the Philadelphia Seminary, under Samuel B. Wylie, and was licensed by the Middle Presbytery, April 9, 1817. During the summer of 1817, he visited Nova Scotia and, after his return in the fall, he supplied vacancies in the Reformed Presbyterian church in the East. Because of failing health, he moved near his parents, then living in Chillicothe, Ohio, and became a stated supply to the congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio. He married on his death bed, in October, 1818, and died on the 26th of that month of tuberculosis, still a licentiate. His death was lamented by Alexander McLeod, who said, “The time for the millennium has not come, and the world cannot stand before Archibald Johnston.” John Black, said, “Archibald Johnston was the most accomplished orator ever licensed in the Covenanter Church.” He published a lengthy poem entitled “The Mariner,” in 1817. He was also directed by Synod, in 1817, to compose an article for the “Argumentative” part of the American Testimony upon the “Headship of the Mediator.” This article was published long after his death, in 1841, in the Contending Witness.