John Albert Longston was born in Gloucestershire, England, Sept. 3, 1869, the descendant of pure English stock. His parents, William and Mary (Law) Longston, were both born and reared in England, where unto them were born their seven children. In 1881 the parents emigrated from the Mother Country, and after a brief residence in Pennsylvania, came to Kansas, locating at McCune, Crawford county, in 1884. Four years later they established a home at Cherokee, Crawford county, where the father engaged in the manufacture of brick, and became a well known business man of Eastern Kansas. He died there in 1902, aged seventy-five years. The mother died March 19, 1911. Both she and her husband joined the Christian church early in life and were life-long workers in the church. John A. Longston was a boy of eleven when his parents crossed the ocean to the New World, and was fifteen when they located in Kansas. During his boyhood and early youth he worked in his father's brickyard and had only limited educational advantages in his youth. At the age of seventeen, desiring a better education, he left the brickyard, and entered the Cherokee High School, from which he graduated with honors in 1891. He had purposed to devote his life to the work of the ministry, and, aiming at a still higher education, he entered the employ of the Christian Publishing Company, in order to earn money to defray his college expenses. During one summer he earned enough to enable him to enter what is now Transylvania University, Lexington, Ky. He remained there five years, and in 1896 graduated from the Bible course. Returning to Kansas, he at once entered the ministry as pastor of the Christian church at Oswego, Kan. For three years he devoted his energies to building up the congregation in Oswego, then resigned his charge in 1900 to take a trip to Europe. Landing at Naples he passed on his bicycle through Italy, Switzerland, Southern Germany, Belgium, Holland and then into France. He visited Paris during the World's Fair there, then crossed the channel to his native country, England. He spent several weeks cycling through the delightful English scenery; passed into the Welsh mountains and thence to Scotland. From Scotland he sailed for America after an absence of nearly seven months. In January, 1901, Reverend Longston became the pastor of the First Christian church of Independence, where he continued to serve with general satisfaction, succeeding in building up one of the largest and most active congregations of the Christian church in Kansas until August, 1911, when he resigned. Due largely to his influence a handsome and commodious new church has been built, which was dedicated in April, 1909, and is considered one of the finest church edifices in the state. Reverend Longston's success has been largely due to his active work in the Bible school of the church. As a pastor, he is beloved; as a pulpit orator, he has won an enviable reputation, and in the city of Independence he wields a strong influence for right living. On Jan. 1, 1902, Reverend Longston was united in marriage with Elizabeth Ramsay, the daughter of Robert Ramsay, who came to America, in 1893, from Scotland and located at Pittsburg, Kan., where his sons, under the name of Ramsay Brothers, had already established themselves as merchants, the vocation their father had followed in Scotland.
Mrs. Longston was born, reared and educated in Scotland, where she attended St. Andrew's University, graduating from it with the degree of L.L. A. She has been an invaluable help to her husband in his ministerial work; takes an active part in all church societies, and is highly esteemed and loved by all who have come under the influence of her consecrated efforts in the building up of the Master's Kingdom. Three children have been born to Reverend and Mrs. Longston: Frances Elizabeth, Robert William and Jessica Lyle. Reverend Longston is a prominent member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and also of the Masonic fraternity.Pages 78-79 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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