Johnson was ordained local preacher. He, together with Andrew A. Lomen and Halvor Carden, conducted Sunday Services both at Washington Prairie and Big Canoe, as well as classes and mid-week prayer meetings.

In 1855 Nelson Johnson left the farm and moved to Cambridge, Wl to take charge of the congregation at the Norwegian Methodist Church, where he served for two years.

In 1857 the Johnsons returned to Washington Prairie, where he continued to serve as local preacher when the regular minister was absent up until the time of his death 25 years later. During this time he was often called upon to perform marriage ceremonies, baptisms and funeral services in both Norwegian and English.

Nelson Johnson continued farming, and acquired more land until he owned 800 acres, of which 300 acres were under cultivation. He was the first man to commence breeding pure bred cattle in the county. At the county and district fairs he carried away so many premiums on his cattle that the managers of the fairs finally refused him the privilege of competing for premiums in order not to discourage other competitors. Likewise he practiced modern breeding methods to improve his stocks of horses and hogs. He secured the best of seed to improve his grain crops, and his wheat and oats were much sought after by neighbors for seed.

Nelson Johnson led the way in conserving the soil of his farm. He hauled his straw stacks out on the rich, new land. Most of his neighbors would burn their straw, claiming that the land was already too rich and did not need fertilizers. However, the raising of wheat very soon depleted the rich prairie soil, proving he was right.

Nelson Johnson was ahead of his time in the art of farming. He was the first in the neighborhood to buy a reaper and a grain drill. His large, comfortable barn was the largest in the county at one time. He was the first to sink a deep-drilled well for pure water. He made farming pay, always kept out of debt, and had money laid by so as to take advantage of opportunities when they came his way.

Nelson Johnson died in 1884, and his wife, Anna Selheim Johnson, died in 1885.

Johnson, Pauline Elisabeth

(Erlin and Lilly Womeldorf)

Pauline was born 30 sep 1880 on the Island of Stord, Norway, the third child of Jan and Iverine Jansen (John Johnson). She was educated in Decorah at the Trout Run School, District #7, and at Breckenridge’s Academy. While growing up, she and her family were good friends with the Nefstad family, who owned the farm where her nephew Erlin and Lilly Womeldorf live now, and with the Hjelle family whose descendants still own the farm where the Siewers Spring Fish Hatchery is located. Pauline taught school in the Decorah area at the Nerlie and Bakke schools. She came to the conclusion that her success as a teacher was mostly due to the fact that the school superintendent never came to visit.

After taking a business course during school vacations,

Pauline became a bookkeeper in Calmar, and later for the Upper Iowa Power Company in Decorah. While working in Decorah, she lived with the Ostenson family and retained a very close friendship with them all through the years. She left Decorah for Armour, SD when Mr. Burtis, for whom she worked in Decorah, went to the South Dakota utility firm and asked her to come there to work for him. While there, she lived with the Edwards family and was very fond of all of them. Other life-long friends made there were Mabel Draxton and the Roy Lane family (son of the Decorah Lane family).

Bio Photo

Pauline Johnson

While living in Huron, SD during the period when the banks were closing, Pauline decided to withdraw her savings and buy a Ford. Shortly after, the bank did fail, but she had her car. Pauline related many amusing incidents which occurred driving her Model T mostly because she never really learned to drive very well.

Pauline stayed in Huron, SD until late 1927. She then went to live in Chicago with sister Marie and her daughter Andrea in 1928 after the death of niece Ena. She became a bookkeeper for Einhorn Furriers until returning to Decorah in 1946. She then worked as a bookkeeper with Durwood Darling at the Nehi Bottling Company, staying for the last 26 years of her working life. Pauline had an excellent mind for math and was a whiz of a bookkeeper, as all who ever worked with her knew well.

Decorah friends included Stella Kirby and Jennie Robertson. The last years of her life she lived in an apartment on Mechanic Street owned by Peggy Steine Oxley. She died 30 Oct 1963 after being a resident at the Aase Haugen Home for a short time. (See the Jan Johnson [Jansen] story.)

Complete OCR transcription. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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