"Stephen D. Johnston was born in Sackets Harbor in 1820, son of William Johnston and Ann Randolph. He came to Clayton with his parents from Cape Vincent, after remaining on Grindstone Island for a short time. He married Miss Maria Angel in 1846, and they have raised one daughter, Miss Ida E.
Mr. Johnston began to keep a hotel in 1849, in the stone building now a part of the well-known and justly celebrated Izaak Walton House. He was one of the first to keep a hotel designed particularly for summer boarders and transient sportsmen, being contemporaneous with Charles Crossman, Sr., at Alexandria Bay, who was probably the earliest pioneer in that business.
         Mr. Johnston was zealously determined that his house should be select, and one to which heads of families could bring their children. The corners where the Walton House stands had been a country tavern for many years, and this old country hotel he raised to the front rank of excellence and importance. In the midst of his usefulness and honor he was stricken with paralysis, and died within a few hours, February 1st 1893. His death was a loss to Clayton, for he was a useful and much respected citizen. His beloved wife survives him."
(Above from Haddock's "Growth of a Century: The History of Jefferson County, NY 1793-1894," pp. 536-537).
        Willard L. Cook, keeper of Rock Island Lighthouse from 1870 to 1879, used to stay at Walton House with his family during the winter when the light was put out for the season. In 1876 when his wife Charlotte became ill, Willard sent her back to Walton House to be cared for. Unfortunately, her condition only worsened, and on April 17th, Willard (who prided himself on his near-perfect attendance at the lighthouse) took a leave of absence to be with her—sadly, she died at Walton House on Sunday May 7th, at noon. Willard was at her bedside.
"Walton House" card (above) donated by Gordon and Patricia Hopkins of Yardley, Pennsylvania.
© 2002, Rock Island Lighthouse Historical & Memorial Association
Online at http://rockislandlighthouse.org/waltonjohnson.html