Andrew Johnston is noted for authoring the first two volumes of 50 Years in the Saddle, inventing the cattle guard and being instrumental in starting brand inspections in the Dakotas, keeping detailed brand records that are still used today as historical mementos of the west.
Born March 25, 1885, near Taylor, Andrew spent most of his life in North Dakota in a ranching career that began at age 12 when his father put him in charge of the family’s cattle herd near Taylor. He filed for his own homestead near Watford City at age 21.
With partner August Jens, Andrew ran the Townsend Ranch on Wild Cow Creek for many years. He and Nels Langdon operated the VVV Ranch near Alpha from 1937 1945 and then worked on an Arizona ranch.
Back in North Dakota, Andrew operated the Western Trading Post, a ranch supply and saddle shop in Dickinson, operating it until 1966. In early 1929, Andrew offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any cattle thief who had stolen cattle, an impetus for organizing the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association later that year.
One of the founders of the NDSA, Andrew served as its first secretary/ treasurer and as president from 1939 1941. He received a lifetime membership in the early 1960s and was the first recipient of the ‘Top Hand Award.’ Andrew was also a member of the American National Cattlemen’s Association for 55 years. Andrew died on March 3, 1970.