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Sheboygan County, Wisconsin Genealogy & History

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John Johnson

History of Door County, Wisconsin : The county beautiful Chicago: by Holand, Hjalmar Rued; S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1917, Pages 458 - 459

For more than three decades, John Johnson has resided upon his excellent farm on section 2, Sevastapol township, and has gained recognition as a progressive and high successful agriculturist. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio, October 7, 1842, a son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Goodgin) Johnson, who were natives of England. A short time after their marriage they came to the United States, where all of their thirteen children were born. Only three, however, now survive, namely: Thomas J., a resident of Jacksonport township, Door county; John; and Jennie, who is the wife of James Noble of Milwaukee. For several years the father engaged in merchandising in Cleveland, Ohio, but when his son John was six years old he removed to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, where he conducted a store until his death. On first coming to this country he had been stationed at Green Bay, Wisconsin, as a fur trader and then removed to Sheboygan, where he traded extensively with the Indians. His store was one of the first established in Sheboygan and he was one of the leaders in the early business life of that place. He passed away in 1862 and was survived by his wife until 1878, she spending her later years with a daughter at Manitowoc. She is buried, however, by the side of her husband in Sheboygan.

John Johnson received a good education for his day, attending school until he was eighteen years old. During the next five years he was a tally clerk on the pier at Sheboygan and at the end of that time went to Chicago, where he was employed in a shipyard for two years. He then took up his residence upon a farm near Manitowoc, which he operated two years. On leaving that place he came to Door county and for three years was engaged in cutting cedar timber in Jacksonport township. He subsequently went to Sturgeon Bay and built the Arc, the first steam ferry boat constructed there. He put it into service between that place and Sawyer, acting as its engineer. He owned the boat in partnership with Robert Noble until 1886, and they were also the owners of a second and larger boat, the Robert Noble, which was built under their direct supervision and also ran between Sturgeon Bay and Sawyer. The partners also conducted a farm implement store at Sawyer until 1886. Mr. Johnson then disposed of his half interest in both the ferry and the implement business to George Bassford and invested his capital in the south half of the northwest quarter of the northwest quarter of section 2, Sevastapol township. This one hundred and twenty acre tract was then covered with a dense growth of timber and it was some time before it could be put under cultivation. As the years have passed he has made excellent improvements upon the place, which is now one of the highly developed farms in the township. He engages in general farming and derives a good profit from his labors.

Mr. Johnson was united in marriage March 12, 1868, to Miss Susanna Noble, a daughter of William and Jane (McCoy) Noble, who were natives respectively of Scotland and Ireland but were married in New York state, where they resided until 1856. In that year they removed their family to Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where the father engaged in farming until his death. Both are deceased and are buried in a cemetery in Manitowoc. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have five children, namely: Jennie, who married Ed W. Washburn, of Sturgeon Bay; Susan, the wife of Dennis Broman, of Sevastapol township; Cora, who married Mell Austin, of Hettinger county, North Dakota; William, who is assisting his father and has purchased part of the homestead; and Edith, now Mrs. William O'Hern, of Egg Harbor. The son William married Josephine Finnegan, whose parents were early settlers of Sevastapol township but are now deceased and are buried in the Catholic Institute cemetery. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have an adopted son, Sanford.

Mr. Johnson cast his first presidential ballot for Abraham Lincoln and still supports the republican party as a rule when national issues are at stake but often votes independently at local elections. He has made all that he has and the fact that he is now in more than comfortable circumstances is evident of his industry and good judgment.

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