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Fayette County, Iowa
Past and Present of Fayette County Iowa, 1910
Author: G. Blessin
B. F. Bowen & Company, Indianapolis, Indiana
Vol. I, Biographical Sketches
JAMES W. JOHNSON
The subject of this sketch, who now occupies the responsible position of general roundhouse foreman at Oelwein for the Chicago Great Western railroad, has during his comparatively brief residence here won a host of friends, who admire him for his sterling personal qualities and his genial disposition. Mr. Johnson was born at Marshalltown, Iowa, on January 17, 1865, and is a son of Wallace and Jane (Thorpe) Johnson, who were people of respectability and prominence in their community. The subject was reared under the parental roof and secured his education in the public schools of Marshalltown, his attendance in school ceasing with the completion of the eighth grade. Being ambitious to start out in life on his own account, he then became an apprentice to learn the machinistís trade, and in order that he might make as rapid progress as possible in an accurate knowledge of his trade he also took a full course in the International Correspondence School of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He was compelled, of course, to do all his studying at night, after the hard work of the day, but he was dauntless in his determination and in due time was graduated in the mechanical course and received his diploma. He continued to be employed in the shops of the Iowa Central railroad at Marshalltown more than eleven years, developing into an expert and proficient workman. On February 1, 1897, Mr. Johnson left the Iowa Central and entered the employ of the Chicago Great Western railroad at Des Moines, where he accepted the position of roundhouse foreman. He performed the duties of this position in an eminently satisfactory manner until February 7, 1907, when he was transferred to Oelwein and promoted to the responsible position of general roundhouse foreman. In this capacity Mr. Johnson has charge of several co-ordinate departments, each of which is in personal charge of a foreman, and Mr. Johnsonís position is one of great responsibility and importance to the service of the road. He long ago demonstrated mechanical ability of a high order and he has proven equally strong in an executive capacity, everything under his charge moving smoothly, without friction and in such a way as to best facilitate the purpose in view.
On December 24, 1889, Mr. Johnson was united in the holy bonds of matrimony with Margaret Shea, who is a native of the state of Michigan. She is the daughter of ______ and Mary (Sullivan) Shea and at the age of about five years she accompanied her parents on their removal from Michigan to Oelwein, where they now reside. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson has been a most happy and congenial one and has been blessed in the birth of two children, Helen and Lyle.
Fraternally Mr. Johnson is a member of the time-honored order of Freemasonry, having taken the Entered Apprentice degree at Des Moines. He is also a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Knights of the MacCabees, having been a member of the last-named order for the past thirteen years. Though unostentatious in personal demeanor, Mr. Johnson is sociably inclined and enjoys the companionship of his friends, whom he numbers by the score. A gentleman in the truest sense of the word, he has so ordered his life as to earn and retain the sincere respect of all who know him.
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