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William Johnson Sen.

JOHNSON, CRAIN, PETRIE, WILLETTS, GEORGE, WHITELY, PERKINS, WHITMORE

Posted By: Rich Lowe (email)
Date: 9/28/2001 at 07:12:36

William Johnson, deceased, is numbered among the honored pioneers of Van Buren County, Iowa. He was born in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania in 1789, and died at his home in this county in September, 1845, respected by all who knew him. Little is known concerning the early history of the family but it was undoubtedly established in America at an early day. In 1801, when our subject was a lad of twelve years, he accompanied his parents to Cincinnati, Ohio, which at that time consisted of a few log cabins on the bank of the Ohio River, not a frame house having been built in the place. Soon afterword the family made a location in Warren County, about forty miles north of Cincinnati, where William grew to manhood. In that community he also formed the acquaintance of Miss Nancy Crain whom he afterword married. The year 1829 witnessed the removal of himself and family to Fountain County, Indiana, but previous to this time, while still a resident of Ohio, he enlisted in the War of 1812 and was place in charge of a provision train. He was near St. Mary's at the time of Hull's surrender but succeeded in making his escape and when hostilities were brought to a close was discharged from the service.

After some seven years spent in Fountain County, Indiana, during which time he devoted his attention to farming, he again resumed his westward journey and in 1836 made a settlement in Monmouth, Illinois, but in the spring of the following year, accompanied by his son, William J., he crossed the Father of Waters and made a location in what is now Van Buren County on land which is now the property of Robert Watt. They erected a log cabin, 18 X 20 feet, hewing out puncheon for the floor and when preparations for a home were complete sent for the family which arrived in August of the same year. Then began life in earnest. Hardships and privations incident to pioneer life were to be borne, but these they overcame and uncomplainingly and in course of time the combined efforts of parents and children met with a reward which attends earnest and constant labor.

In the family of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were five sons and five daughters, all of whom lived to mature years. John C. married Sarah Petrie and settled in Kansas, where his death occurred in 1887; William J. will be remembered more fully in this volume; Perry is a resident of California; Mary E., wife of Andrew George, died in California; Margaret J. married Hiram Willetts and since 1850 they have made their home in California; Indianne, died at the age of eighteen years; Joseph A., who wed Kate Van Cleave, died in Van Buren County; Hattie A., wife of Joseph A. Whitely, died in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa; Thomas B. married Miss Perkins for his first wife, and Josephine Whitmore became his second wife.

The parents of this family ranked among the best citizens of Van Buren County. Their lives, though quiet and unostentatious were marked by uprightness in all things and their many commendable qualities secured them a large circle of friends. Both have been called to their final rest but they will be remembered by many of the early settlers and in order to perpetuate their memory we record this sketch.
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Portrait Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa
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Lake City Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois - - 1890

William Johnson Gravestone Photo
 

Van Buren Biographies maintained by Rich Lowe.
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