Sanders Walker Johnston
Captain, United States Army - Judge
"Company G, 1st Regiment.
His wife, Sarah Brown Hall Johnston, born in Oneida County, New York,
February 18, 1832. Died: Washington, D.C. January 11, 1921) is buried with
"S.W. Johnston, the ninetieth name on the list of attorneys, came to Kansas early in 1854, as one of the United States territorial judges appointed by President Pierce. He was the Free State Judge and appointed from Ohio and was assigned to the extreme western district where there were but few settlers and little business to be done at that time. He remained as Judge of that district for some three or four years with but little judicial business to do, as the district was but sparsely settled at that time and it was during the most unsettled years in the history of the territory. He resigned his judicial position and came to Leavenworth to reside, opened a law office and in due course of time became the head of the law firm of Johnston, Stinson & Havens, one of the leading law firms in the city and territory. A short time after the dissolution of the above firm, Judge Johnston moved to Washington City and took up the practice before the departments and the U.S. Supreme Court. He died in the spring of 1905, having reached the ripe old age of eighty-three years, honored and respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance."
Marriage Notes for AMANDA HAMER and SANDERS
In 1854 the Kansas-Nebraska Act established the Territory of Kansas. President Franklin Pierce appointed Samuel D. Lecompte, Rush Elmore, and Sanders W. Johnston as justices to a Territorial Supreme Court. With the arrival of Chief Justice Lecompte to the Kansas Territory in 1855, the court was organized at Leavenworth. In the next few years before Kansas became a state, several men served in this territorial supreme court, including Sterling G. Cato, Jerimiah M. Burrell, Thomas W. Cunningham, Joseph Williams, and John Pettit who replaced Lecompte as Chief Justice.
The territorial judges flouted the law as often
as they impartially determined it. President Pierce had to remove two judges
from office for the illegal acquisition of Indian lands. Another judge,
Chief Justice Samuel Lecompte, devoted far more time to farming and promoting
slavery than to judicial duties. He, too, was removed from office. Judicial
replacements also furthered the cause of slavery at the expense
of legal justice. One exception was Judge Joseph Williams who was more
concerned with impartial justice and with protecting settlers from marauding
outlaws. Judge Williams continued to press for law and order until his
term expired in 1861, when Kansas became a state and territorial judgeships
ended. A dual system of state and federal courts replaced the territorial
court, and Congress established the U.S. District of Court of Kansas under
Article III of the Constitution.
Photo By Michael Robert Patterson, 1999
Updated: 16 December 2000 Updated: 18 August 2001 Updated: 19 December 2001 Updated: 10 July 2002 Updated: 19 October 2002
Updated: 14 June 2003 Updated: 20 July 2003 Updated: 6 November 2005
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 28 June 2003