The Hossack Case
At the time of the murder, Fred Johnston was about the same age as John Hossack—in his late fifties. The two men had known each other for almost three decades, and Johnston was one of Hossack's closest friends. They had served together as trustees of the county.
When Margaret Hossack left home, on the evening of Thanksgiving 1899, Johnston was instrumental in persuading her to return home the next day, saying that he was strongly opposed to the notion of the family separating and dividing up the property. Johnston himself traveled to the Hossack farm and, along with Frank Keller, talked to the family and convinced them to try to live together peacefully.
The day after the murder, Johnston was named as one of the three jury members serving at the coroner's inquest. After hearing from the witnesses, he voted against naming Margaret Hossack in the jury's verdict. Later, Johnston served as the administrator of John Hossack's estate and organized the sale of the farm at an auction.