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H. K. Johnston Company Records

Identifier: MS-BC370

Scope and Contents

The H. K. Johnston Company Records, 1884-1960, consist of 1 linear foot, 1 archival box and 12 bound volumes which include cash books, journals, ledgers, inventories, tax papers, minutes and bylaws documenting the financial history of this business. The bound volumes consist of cash books and journals from the 1950’s and ledgers from 1938-1960. The tax papers include personal property, excise, sales, unemployment and social security and withholding tax records from the 1950’s. The minutes cover the board of directors and stockholders’ meetings from 1884 through 1933. The bylaws are handwritten from 1885.


  • Created: 1884-1960



1.00 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Alton, Illinois hardware store incorporated in 1884 and owned by Hugh Kirkwood Johnston (1844), who had emigrated from Scotland in 1853 with his father and siblings. After he completed school, Johnston worked in gas and steam fittings for three years until he became a blacksmith. He worked at this until he enlisted in Company K, 97th Illinois Infantry on July 25, 1862. He served throughout the Civil War and was mustered out as a Sergeant-Major in July 1865. He returned to work as a blacksmith until 1875 when he was chosen as secretary for the newly opened Alton waterworks. While he worked there he also opened a hardware store at the corner of State and Second Street which soon grew to take up four storefronts. Johnston’s original stock included stoves, harnesses, saddles, carriages, buggies, farm wagons, agricultural implements and painting equipment. This store withstood several floods over the years, which left watermarks on the building, only to be destroyed by fire in 1905. The store was rebuilt and remained at Second and State Street until 1916 when it was moved to West Broadway where it remained until 1960 when it closed for good.

Arrangement Note

Arrangement of this collection is by material type: tax papers, bound volumes (cash books, journals, ledgers), and miscellaneous items.
Archon Finding Aid Title
Connie Butts, August 2001
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

112 North Sixth Street
Springfield IL 62701 US
(217) 558-8923