March 23, 1843
Joseph Forney Johnston (1843-1913) served two terms as Alabama governor, from 1896 to 1900 when terms were for two years. Johnston was born March 23, 1843, in Lincoln County, North Carolina, and grew up on the family farm. In 1860, he moved with his parents to Alabama and attended school in Talladega. At age 18, he joined the ranks of the military. Afterward, he practiced law in Selma until 1884, when he moved to Birmingham to become a banker. Johnston served as president of the Alabama National Bank for three years, and then became president of the Sloss Iron and Steel Company, the largest manufacturing company in the city. Johnston’s achievements in business were matched by his accomplishments in politics. He used his connections with leading figures in banking and steel to become a major politician at the state level after his move to Birmingham.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s bicentennial, go to Alabama 200.