Kansas History and Heritage Project- Marshall County

Marshall County Biographies


Herman Johnson, one of Marshall county's substantial pioneer farmers and the proprietor of a fine farm in section 2 of Vermillion township, where he has made his home for nearly forty years, is a native of the far-away kingdom of Norway, but has been a resident of this country ever since the days of his young manhood. He was born on a farm near the city of Christiania, Norway, February 24, 1847, son and eldest of the seven children of P. J. and Karen Johnson, natives of that country, who spent all their lives there, the former, who died in 1915. living to the great age of ninety years.

Reared on the home farm in his native Norway, Herman Johnson remained at home until after attaining his majority, when, in 1868, he came to the United States and proceeded on out to Minnesota, whence so many of his countrymen had preceded him, and there he became engaged as a member of a railway construction crew. In 1871, at Preston, Minnesota, Mr. Johnson married Lottie Nevins, of Elyria, Ohio, and presently went with his wife to Elyria, in the vicinity of which city, in Lorain county, he became engaged in farming and was thus engaged there for six years, at the end of which time, in 1877, he came to Kansas on a bit of a prospecting trip and bought a tract of one hundred and twenty acres in section 2 of Vermillion township, this county, and in the spring of the following year, 1878, brought his family out here and settled on the farm, where he ever since has made his home and which he had developed into one of the best-improved and most highly cultivated farms in that part of the county. The land for which he paid seven dollars an acre is now well worth one hundred and twenty-five dollars an acre and he has never regretted the choice which caused him to settle in Marshall county. In addition to his general farming, Mr. Johnson has long given considerable attention to the raising of live stock and has done very well. He has some particularly fine Percheron stock on his place and formerly exhibited his horses at the local fairs. He has given much attention to this line of stock and has done much to improve the strain of horseflesh in his neighborhood.

Mr. Johnson has been twice married. His first wife. Lottie Nevins, whom he married in Minnesota, died at her home in this county in 1S95, leaving six children, namely: Gertrude W., who is a trained nurse, now living at Carrollton, Missouri; Grace, wife of Doctor Olson, of Clay Center, this state; Karina, who is a clerk in a dry-goods store at Manhattan, Kansas; Edward S., who is engaged in the hardware and agricultural-implement business at Rockford, Minnesota; Carl O., who is a graduate architect and is now engaged as a building contractor at Clay Center, and Mina, a graduate nurse, who married Lewis Rea and is now living on a farm near Carrollton, Missouri.

On October 14, 1909, Mr. Johnson married, secondly, Mrs. Sarah Elizabeth (Wharton) Richards, of Olney, Illinois, widow of Henry Richards, whom she married at Olney in 1894 and who died in 1900. Mrs. Johnson was born in Indiana on December 18, 1858, a daughter of Joseph and Catherine Wharton, natives of that same state, who moved to Illinois in 1859. Joseph Wharton served as a soldier of the Union during the Civil War, a member of a company in an Illinois regiment of volunteer infantry, and during that period of service was captured by the enemy and was held in Libby Prison for thirteen months and fourteen days. Both he and his wife spent their last days in Illinois, the latter dying in 1885 and the former living until 1892. It was at Olney, Illinois, that Sarah Elizabeth Wharton grew to womanhood and there she married Henry Richards, who died six years later, without issue. Some time after her husband's death she came out to Kansas on a visit to friends and here she met and married Mr. Johnson. The Johnsons have a very pleasant home and take a proper part in the general social activities of their home community. They are members of the Presbyterian church and Air. Johnson is a member of the Frankfort lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and of the Daughters of Rebekah, of which latter lodge Mrs. Johnson also is a member. Mr. Johnson is a Republican and has given his earnest attention to the political affairs of his adopted country ever since acquiring citizenship here, but has never been a seeker after public office.

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This website created July 4, 2011 by Sheryl McClure.
2011 Kansas History and Heritage Project