John Johnston (1781-1851)

John Johnston, Merchant & Co-Founder of New York University

He was born at Barnboard Mill in the Parish of Balmaghie, Gallowayshire. In 1822, he came to New York as a bookkeeper in Robert Lenox's Counting House. In connection with James Boorman, he formed the firm of Boorman & Johnston, which almost entirely controlled the Dundee linen trade from Scotland. The firm was one of the major exporters in New York of Virginia tobacco and one of the biggest importers of iron from Sweden and Russia. He co-founded New York University and was the President of the Saint Andrews Society of New York. He lived at 7 Washington Square, New York. He was married in 1817 and had five children. His daughter, Margaret, lived at Blithewood and co-founded Bard College. His son, John, co-founded the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 13/12/2019 and last updated on 30/08/2021.