This blog will focus on the life and ancestors of my grandmother, Pansy "Joni" Louise Lancaster as I research her families. Additional ancestral surnames include: Allen, Coor, Cox, Ellis, Hughes, Kethley, Lancaster, Loveless, Martin, Medlock, Neel, Nixon, Perry, Polly, Porter, Ro(d)gers, Singleton, Walker, Welch, Whitfield, Wilkins, & Young.
My grandfather, Tom J. Johnston Jr was born one hundred
years ago on 7 October 1912 in Gustine, a town in Comanche County, Texas. His parents were Thomas Newton Johnston and
Nell L. Hutson. He was the third child
of five, having two older sisters, Beryl and Mildred, and two younger brothers,
Hal and Luther. His mother, Nell died 14
Jul 1919 at the young age of 31. Tom was
only six and half years old and his youngest brother, Luther, was only eighteen
months old. It must have been very hard
on his father to raise five children without a mother.
He married my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster, on 15 December
1933 by the Justice of the Peace in Gustine, Comanche County, Texas. They had one child, Lela Nell Johnston.
He served a short time in the United States Navy, leaving
after four months with a medical discharge due to an ulcer. The family was living in Idaho at the US
Naval Training Center, Farragut, Idaho. They
spent the rest of the war in construction work on other military bases.
Tom with daughter, Lela Nell
After the war, they moved to California, living in Walnut
Creek out in “the country” at Mr. Ford’s property. I don’t know who this Mr. Ford is (time to do
some research). Tom had a business in
town with his brother, Hal. They owned a
pool hall and taxi service.
Tom manning the Billiards Hall
Tom loved working with his hands and with wood. He worked as a carpenter for many businesses,
his last job as carpenter for the Contra Costa Community College District at
Diablo Valley College. He liked to build
furniture and some of his pieces are now cared for by his grandchildren.
Tables & lamp made by Tom
Tom died 11 July 1973 in Pleasant Hill, Contra Costa County
and was buried at the Oakmont Park Cemetery in Lafayette. I was only 18 years old when he died and his
was the first funeral I had been to. Tom
was a quiet man, never one of those fun grandpas. When we were small, we called him Tom-Tom,
instead of Grandpa. When we got older,
it was much easier talking to him, I think, because we were not so rambunctious
and loud. Tom gave me my first tennis
racket, a wooden one with a wooden press.
I used it all though college.
Happy 100th Birthday, Tom-Tom!
 Bureau of
Vital Statistics, Comanche County, Birth Record of Tom J Johnston Jr, Vol 8 (or
80--the eight is dark, the zero is very light), pg 553, 1941, affidavit signed
by J.P. Brown, MD.
 State of
Texas, County of Hood, Marriage Record of Tom Johnston and Pansy Louise Lancaster
(certificate copy), recorded in Vol I, p 161 Marriage License Records.
Naval Record for Tom Johnston Jr, 938 69 00, United States Navy,
National Personnel Records Center, St. Louis, Missouri.
Business Card for Johnston Bros Taxi, Photo with caption on back stating “Johnston
Brothers Billiards,” author’s personal collection.
 State of
California, Dept of Health Services, Death Certificate of Tom J. Johnston Jr