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Johnston Family Papers

Identifier: SpC MS 0267

Scope and Contents

Personal papers and business records of three generations of the Johnston family, builders of dams and bridges in Maine. Included are materials of William Jasper Johnston; his son, William Percy Johnston; and Percy's son, Donald Percy Johnston. A few items belonging to John Johnston, father of Jasper Johnston are also found in the collection. The collection includes many photographs of dams and other construction projects of the Johnston family. Included are phorographs and negatives, letters, correspondence, newspaper clippings, diaries, and picture postcards.


  • Creation: 1835-1972
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1890-1929

Restrictions on Access

Kept at Fogler Library's offsite storage facility. One week's notice required for retrieval.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Information on literary rights available in the repository.

Biographical Note

Jasper Johnston was born in 1844 in Veazie, Maine. He married Clara Jane Whiting in 1867, and the family moved to Bangor in 1874. Starting in the 1860's Jasper Johnston worked on several dams and bridges, including Chesuncook, North Twin, and Ripogenus. He worked for a time as superintendent for H.P. Cummings Construction Company, located in Ware, Massachusetts. His last job, in 1914-1915, was at Riley Dam for International Paper Company. He died in 1918 in Bangor.

Jasper's son Percy was born in 1868 in North Newport, Maine. In his early teens, Percy Johnston began training as a dam builder with his father. He had charge of the West Branch log drive for several years and then was in charge of dam construction and river improvement for Great Northern Paper Company. When concrete began to be used in dam construction, he built many large storage and power dams in Maine.He was superintendent of construction on Aziscohos Dam, erected on the Androscoggin River between 1909-1912, and worked on dams at Madison, Shawmut, Pittsfield and Rumford, Maine. He also worked as vice-president of the H.P. Cummings Construction Company. He died in 1928 in Bangor.

Donald Percy Johnston was born in 1896 in Bangor. A civil engineer, he attended the Bangor schools, Coburn Classical Academy, and the University of Maine, and graduated in 1921 from Norwich University in Norwich, Vermont. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War I. While still in high school, he had his first summer job working on Riley Dam with his grandfather. Before joining the Bangor Water Department as assistant superintendent in 1934 he worked as an engineer on various dam, powerhouse, bridge and building construction projects. In 1950 he became superintendent of the Water Department, later the Bangor Water District, retiring in 1963. The Johnston Pumping Station is named for him. Donald Johnston died in 1979.


5.5 cubic feet (9 boxes)

4 folio folders

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in eight sections: papers of John Johnston, papers of W. Jasper Johnston, papers of Percy Johnston, papers of Donald Johnston, time and payroll books for workers on dams, miscellaneous, plans and maps, and photographs.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Elizabeth Johnston Ostroff and Sue Ostroff in September 1998.

Guide to the Johnston Family Papers
Box And Folder List Available
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for uncoded script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Raymond H. Fogler Library Special Collections Repository

5729 Raymond H. Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono ME 04469-5729 United States