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Walter B. Johns    

WALTER B. JOHNS was born in Louisiana October 8, 1833. His father, Doctor Herbert D. Johns, located and practiced his profession in New Orleans, where he married. Our subject was orphaned by the death of his mother when he was seven years old. He graduated at Bockhill Academy, Rockville, Maryland, in 1845. Declining the opportunity to pursue a higher grade of school studies, he entered the printing office of John T. Towers at Washington city. In June, 1846, he went with Company G, First Baltimore and District of Columbia Battalion of Mexican Volunteers, and landed on Brazos island, gulf of Mexico, July 3. 1846. He participated in the battle of Monterey in Captain Randolph Ridgely’s field battery (formerly Ringgold’s), forming part of General William O. Butler’s division, marched to Tampico with General Quitman’s brigade, and formed one of a detachment to take charge of quartermaster’s supplies for General Taylor in January, 1847, reporting to Captain Meigs, quartermaster, at Saltillo, February 15th. He took part in the battle of Buena Vista on the 22nd and 23rd, serving in Captain Washington’s field battery, returned to Tampico, and remained until the term of enlistment (twelve months) expired in June, 1847. During this time he was connected with the Tampico Sentinel—his first venture in journalism. At the expiration of term of enlistment he re-entered the service as a member of Company L, Captain L. F. Chevallie, First Regiment Texas Rangers, under Colonel Jack Hays, and marched with General Scott from Pueblo to the city of Mexico. He returned to Washington at the close of the war and worked at his trade. In 1854 he worked on the Columbia, South Carolina, Times, and afterward on the Louisville, Kentucky, Democrat. In the spring of 1856 he was editor and publisher of the Lawrence Democrat, Bedford, Lawrence county, Indiana. In 1859 he was offered and accepted editorial charge and publication of the Clay county, Illinois, Jacksonian. At the breaking out of the Rebellion he left that paper in charge of friends, and enlisted under the first call of Governor Yates in Company G, of Xenia, Clay county, Illinois, and joined the Seventh, afterward the Twenty-First, Illinois regiment, which was mustered in at Mattoon and subsequently commanded by U. S. Grant. Invalided and discharged at the end of four months’ service, he came to Pennsylvania in September, 1861, and was married at Rimersburg, Clarion county, October 8, 1861, to Josephine, daughter of Henry and Sophia Fox, of Centre county, this state. He established the Oil City Register, the first paper published at Oil City, January 14, 1862, and has since been identified with oil region journalism. In 1870 a book entitled “Petrolia,” a history of the petroleum development, was issued by D. Appleton & Company, of New York, with the names of Walter R. Johns and Andrew Cone as authors, which is acknowledged to be the standard work written on the subject. At the present he is in the employ of the National Transit Company. Mr. Johns is so widely known from his identification with the journalism and history of the petroleum developments that extended comment in his case is unnecessary.

History of Venango County, Pennsylvania : its past and present, including its aboriginal history, the French and British occupation of the country, its early settlement and subsequent growth, a description of its historic and interesting localities, its rich oil deposits and their development, sketches of its cities, boroughs, townships, and villages, neighborhood and family history, portraits and biographies of pioneers and representative citizens, statistics, etc., etc.
Chicago, Ill.: Brown, Runk & Co., 1890, pages 857-858. 
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