Franklin (Frank) Lewis Johnston, also referred to as F. L. Johnson, Confederate soldier, attorney, state representative, and state senator, was born in Madison County, Mississippi, on October 1, 1840, the son of Luke and Mary Jane (Farrar) Johnston. The Johnston family immigrated to Texas in 1844, settling in Shelby County where Johnston was raised. In February 1862 following the outbreak of the Civil War, Johnston volunteered for service in the Confederate Army, enlisting as a private in Company H of the Eleventh Texas Infantry Regiment. He received promotion to sergeant as well as served as quartermaster's clerk and remained with this unit until it was disbanded at Hempstead, Waller County, in May 1865.
Johnston had married Margaret Williams in Shelby County on February 7, 1865, immediately prior to this disbandment, and upon being discharged he returned to Shelby County, settling at Buena Vista. He was admitted to practice law here in 1866 and in addition was active in state and local politics. In 1873 he won election on the Democratic ticket as representative for District Two—comprised of Nacogdoches, San Augustine, Sabine, Shelby, and Panola counties—to the Fourteenth Texas Legislature. He won reelection to the house for the Sixteenth Legislature in 1878, this time representing the District Eight counties of Shelby and Panola. In 1882 he won election as senator for District Two—comprised of Shelby, Sabine, San Augustine, Rusk, Nacogdoches, and Panola counties—to the Eighteenth Texas Legislature. After these turns at state office Johnston retired to Shelby County. He died here on July 12, 1897, and was buried there at Johnson Cemetery in Tenaha.