Rev. Alexander Orrock Johnston

Minister

The Reverend Alexander Orrock Johnston (1840–1905) was the son of a linen manufacturer in East Wemyss, Fife. 1 He grew up in the Free Church Manse, suggesting that his family was related to, or supported, the ministers who seceded from the established church during the 'Disruption' of 1843. They left assured incomes and tied houses on principle, forming a breakaway sect, free of state or hereditary proprietors' interference in choosing clergymen.

Johnston graduated from Edinburgh University in 1861, attended theological college, and was appointed minister to Cambuslang 'with high approbation', in 1868. 2 He was founding pastor of Great Western Free congregation in 1876, which opened Westbourne Church in 1881. 3 Johnston's 'incursions into ... public life were rare', but he supported the Glasgow Institution for Destitute Girls among numerous other causes, such as the Seaman's Friends' Society. 4 He also attended Samaritan Society and British Mission Homes meetings alongside Michael Honeyman, accountant brother of architect John Honeyman, who was an elder at Westbourne Church. 5 Johnston had been 'responsible for the introduction of the organ' into Free Church worship, and saw the latter join with the United Presbyterians in 1900, forming the United Free Church. 6

In failing health, and unable to preach in Glasgow in winter, Johnston retired to Kilmacolm in 1897. 7 However, he managed to speak at the laying of the foundation stone of Ruchill United Free Church, a daughter mission of Westbourne, in 1903. 8

Amy Hepburn Gulland became Mrs Orrock Johnston in 1869. Their two sons became colonial administrators; one daughter, Lucy, was an early female university graduate (Glasgow, 1901), and the other, Katherine, married John Wingate, brother of an architect Alexander Wingate (1875–1915). 9

Notes:

1: Census data, www.ancestry.co.uk [accessed 1 May 2013].

2: Glasgow Herald, 6 February 6 1868, p. 2; 16 March 1905, p. 3.

3: Glasgow Herald, 17 November 1876, p. 3; 20 September 1881, p. 4; J. A. Lamb (editor), Fasti of the United Free Church of Scotland, 1900–1929, Edinburgh: Oliver & Boyd, 1956, pp. 258–9.

4: Glasgow Herald, 13 February 1883, p. 3; 22 January 1884, p. 3; 16 March 1905, p. 3.

5: Glasgow Herald, 16 January 1895, p. 6; 14 December 1892, p. 11.

6: Scotsman, 16 March 1905, p. 4; Glasgow Herald, 16 March 1905, p. 3.

7: Glasgow Herald, 15 May 1897, p. 6; 16 March 1905, p. 3.

8: Scotsman, 5 October 1903, p. 9.

9: ‘Johnston, Sir Frederick William’, Who Was Who, A. & C. Black, online edition, December 2012, www.ukwhoswho.com [accessed 9 March 2013]; Scotsman, 8 November 1901, p. 9; The Times, 7 September 1948, p. 1; census data and statutory marriages, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 2 May 2013]; Dictionary of Scottish Architects, 1840–1980, www.scottisharchitects.org.uk [accessed 2 May 2013].