Illustrated Atlas Map of Menard County, Illinois 1874|
Published by W.R. Brink & Co., of Illinois
Is one of the few men who were born in Menard County, and who has continued to reside within the neighborhood of their nativity ever since his birth. He is the son of William and Cynthia (Williams) Johnson, and was born September 5, 1825, Menard County (but Sangamon at the time), at the head of Indian Creek, near where North Sangamon Academy now stands.
He has been twice married, -first to Miss Harriett Jennison, daughter of John and Martha Jennison, old settlers of Menard County, and the parties to the first marriage in the County. Mr. Johnson's first marriage occurred December 1, 1846, and was blessed with the birth of two children, both now living: Miss Melinda A., born September 16, 1847, and William E., May 11, 1850. Mr. Johnson's first wife died October 11, 1855, and was buried in the Indian Point Cemetery.
His second wife was Miss Elizabeth Gaines, and daughter of Joseph and Eliza Gaines. This marriage took place March 1, 1859, and has been fruitful of four children: Miss Laura, born January 18, 1860; Miss Iona, September 12, 1862; Joe, September 19, 1865; and Ella, July 14, 1869.
Mr. Johnson has been engaged for the last twenty years in the live-stock trade, in connection with the agricultural business, and has been very prosperous. He has a fine farm of some three hundred and twenty acres, beautifully and advantageously located on the head of Indian Creek, principally the result of his own industry and good management. We enroll his name as one of our successful farmers and traders. It is not now definitely known from what nationality the Johnson family are descended. Mr. Johnson's grandfather, Daniel Johnson, was an early settler of Kentucky, where he died, in Bath County, after raising a family of five children: Mrs. Tharp, who married and went to Indiana at an early day; John, who moved to Missouri, where he died a number of years ago; Jacob, who moved to Illinois, and died in Sangamon County, now Menard, about 1825; Alice, who married James Mappin, who died in Missouri about 1842; and William, Mr. Johnson's father, and one of the first permanent settlers of Menard County, who also died about 1842. He was born in Bath County, Kentucky, in the month of January, 1801, where he was also raised and married. Immediately after his marriage he moved to Illinois, where he arrived in the fall of 1823. He made a claim and built a cabin on the head of Indian Creek, now included in the farm of his son Jefferson. This claim he afterwards entered, and lived upon the premises until the date of his death. He was noted for his honor and integrity, and was a man of quiet habits and unaspiring in his disposition. He invariable refused all proffers of office, preferring the even tenor of farm-life and domestic quiet and happiness. He raised a family of seven children, -six living: Melinda, who married Edward L. Swiney, John, the subject of this sketch, Jacob, Jefferson, Mrs. Hannah Bracken, and Joseph. These all, with the exception of Hannah, who resides in De Witt County, live in Little Menard. Mr. Johnson's first wife was born June 8, 1828. Her people, on her father's side, were from the East, and on her mother's, from Kentucky. The people of his present wife, Mrs. Johnson, on her father's side, the Gainses, were from Wales. Her father was born in the state of Virginia, and emigrated to Kentucky, where he died. The widow and family afterwards came to Menard County, Illinois, about eighteen years ago. Mrs. Johnson was born November 16, 1829, in Bath County, Kentucky, and is the eldest of a family of eight children, Henry, Thomas, Mrs. Minerva Hardin, Mrs. Mary Fulton, Mrs. Sarah (John W.) Powers, Miss Ella, and James, who died when about twenty-one years of age.