JOHN JOHNSON. - John Johnson is now one of the venerable citizens of Rochester township, having passed the seventy-sixth milestone on life's journey. He was born October 23, 1828, within a mile and a half of his present farm on the old family homestead southeast of Rochester. His parents were Andrew and Mary (Williams) Johnson. The former was born in Scotland, and, having come to America, he was married in New England to Miss Mary Williams, a native of Vermont. His death occurred about 1831 and his widow afterward became the wife of Greenbury Baker, who is also deceased, while her death occurred in 1841.
John Johnson in early boyhood days began working as a farm hand and was thus employed until twenty-one years of age, when he started out as a farmer on his own account, having the further development and cultivation of the property left by his father to himself and his brother Samuel, who is two years his junior and now resides in Springfield.
John Johnson took up his abode upon his present farm on section 28, Rochester township, in 1857 and it has been his home for almost half a century. He has here three hundred and twenty acres of land, rich and arable, and his possessions have at times been greater, but he has deeded two hundred and ninety acres to the four children of his first marriage. His life has been characterized by untiring thrift and enterprise and as a farmer he has followed progressive methods and has secured good results as the reward of his earnest and persistent labor.
It was on the 1st of March, 1849, that Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Phoebe Bell, who was born November 1, 1830, and a daughter of Robert and Susanna (Baker) Bell. Her death occurred February 14, 1871. There had been five children born of this marriage: L. B., who was born May 9, 1851, and is now married and lives in Kansas; Laura J., who was born February 14, 1854, and is the deceased wife of Henry Heidrick; Robert Sumner, who was born September 28, 1857, and died at the age of three years; John A., who resides near his father and was born March 1, 1861, and married Annie Brock, now deceased; and Minnie S., deceased, who was born September 17, 1866, and was the wife of William Hoffercamp, of Rochester Township, by whom she had one child.
After the death of his first wife Mr. Johnson was again married, his second union being with Teresa Taff, who was born October 21, 1846, near Mechanicsburg, Illinois, and is a daughter of William and Mary Ann (Robbins) Taff. Her father was born in England and died January 1, 1850. Her mother, whose birth occurred in Mechanicsburg, passed away near that town on the 12th of January, 1862, and Mr. Taff was later again married. He was one of the early and representative pioneer settlers of Mechanicsburg and took an active part in the development of that portion of the county. Mrs. Johnson has two half-brothers living, John Taff, who resides in Florida, and William H., who resides in Cotton Hill township, Sangamon county. One brother died from illness while serving as a soldier in the Civil war October 29, 1861, his remains being interred at Ironton, Missouri. Unto John and Teresa (Taff) Johnson have been born six children: Lorretta, born July 16, 1874; Lawson S., February 2, 1877; Clara Mable, November 20, 1879; Mary, March 31, 1882; Stella Hazel, May 28, 1885; and Waldo E., October 20, 1888. Of these Clara M. was married to Henry Knott, February 11, 1903, and they are now living in Chicago; Lawson was married February 23, 1899, to Miss Daisy Maxfield, of Cotton Hill township, and he now has a fine farm of one hundred and sixty acres in North Dakota, but is a resident of Rochester township, this county.
Mr. Johnson is a man who stands very high in the community because of a life of industry, activity and honesty. His has indeed been a busy and useful career and he has displayed those sterling traits of character which everywhere command respect and regard. He and his family are devoted members of the Christian church and their influence in the community has ever been on the side of right, progress, reform and good government.