Sarah Caroline Ross Johnston Interview, January 6, 1988


Gladys Peterson



Download Audio Interview (175.8 MB)

Download Transcript of Sarah Caroline Johnston Interview (618 KB)


Sarah Caroline Ross Johnston speaks about her life beginning in the late 1800s, and her family’s history in Montana and Illinois. She recalls her childhood and her education, which included her attending college for a teaching certificate. She recounts stories about her classmates dying of the Spanish Influenza as well as her childhood illness which kept her from participating in school much of the time. Johnston discusses meeting her husband after she moved to Montana for a teaching job and starting a family with him while they worked on a sheep wagon. She describes how the Great Depression affected her family, forcing them to sell their livestock and move to the Bitterroot Valley to work in the beet fields. Johnston discusses the difficulty of raising 11 children on very little money, and the amount of housework she oversaw, including canning enough food for the winter months. She touches on the lives of her children, then talks about her divorce and how it affected her emotionally and financially. She recalls her missionary trip to Iran in the 1970s where she lived for a year with the financial support of her children.


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Document Type

Oral History


Homesteading; Family life; Missionary work; Iran; Polio; Ranching, Montana; Bitterroot Valley, Montana; Beet farms, Montana; Military service; Great Depression 1929-1939

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage

Montana; Iran



Original Collection

Settlers, Homesteaders, Ranchers, and Farmers Oral History Collection Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana-Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 181-001, 002, 003

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

3 sound cassette (60 min.): analog + 1 transcript (46 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

02:22:04 minutes

Local Filename

OH_181_001_002_003.mp3; OH_181_001_002_003.pdf

Sarah Caroline Ross Johnston Interview, January 6, 1988