William D. Johnson, a prominent pioneer resident of Morrowville, Kan., is a native of Iowa and was born in Appanoose county, that State, March 13, 1852. His parents were Amos and Sarah Edwards Johnson, the former a native of Kentucky and a son of Daniel Johnson, also a Kentuckian, while the mother was a native of Illinois and a daughter of David Edwards, a Virginian, who was a pioneer settler of Illinois. Amos Johnson was a farmer and a stockman in Iowa to the time of his death in 1854. After his death his widow married Uriah Wooding. In 1858, before her second marriage, she came to Kansas with her family. They located in Marshall county and remained about a year, when they came to Washington county and bought Government land. At that time this section of the State was wild and unbroken; game of all kinds was plentiful; buffalo could be seen in herds of thousands, while the Indians came and went by the hundreds. In those days buffalo meat was a common article of food. The Johnson family endured all the hardships and privations incident to pioneer life on the plains. During the year of 1859 they subsisted on corn alone, this being the only crop raised that season. Their daily menu ranged from roasting ears with red pepper to johnny cake and then back to roasting ears. In 1861 the step-father enlisted in the army, and on account of the grasshoppers and crop failures the little family returned to Iowa. William Johnson, the subject of this review, returned to Kansas again in 1874, just in time to see the grasshoppers make another visitation and destroy everything in sight, with the exception of the wheat and oats crops which had been harvested before the hoppers came. That season the settlers were pretty well supplied, notwithstanding the devastation wrought by the pesky pests of the plains. When Mr. Johnson came to Kansas this time he settled in Smith county. His claim was on the present site of the thriving little city of Lebanon, but on account of the dry years and more crop failures he gave up this homestead and went to California, but before leaving Kansas he bought a quarter section of land in Washington county, for which he paid $600. He still owns this property and it is worth $10,000. He remained in California, working at odd jobs from one place to another, until 1884, when he returned to Kansas and settled on his Washington county farm. He lived on the farm alone about seven years, and in 1891 was married and remained on his farm about eight years, when he removed to Morrowville.
In 1899 he engaged in the hardware and implement business. He conducted this business about nine years, when, on account of failing eyesight, he was compelled to retire. Mr. Johnson has been very successful in all of his buiness[sic] ventures and is an extensive land owner. He has about a section in Pullman township. He is vice-president of the Morrowville State Bank and was one of the organizers of that institution. He is also a stockholder in the Peoples State Bank, of Hanover, Kan., of which he is a director. He is now treasurer of the Mutual Telephone Company and was one of its original stockholders, and for six years he was president of the Farmers Elevator Company and was one of the original stockholders in that concern. He is now one of its directors. He is a Republican and has taken an active interest in the welfare of that party, but he has persistently refused to accept office. Mr. Johnson was united in marriage, June 18, 1891, to Miss Elva D., daughter of William and Mary (Foellett) Flansburg, both natives of New York. Mrs. Johnson was born in Knox county, Illinois, where she was reared and educated, and spent her life until 1889, when she came to Kansas with her parents, who settled in Washington county, where her father was an extensive farmer and stock raiser. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are members of the Christian church, of which he is an elder. Mr. Johnson is one of the substantial men of northern Kansas who has made good.Pages 459-460 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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