Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

William H. Johnson

WILLIAM H. JOHNSON. Prominent among the enterprising and successful agriculturists of Kearny County is William H. Johnson, of Lakin, who has used good business methods and excellent judgment in the management of his farm, and is now reaping the fruits of his many years of toil. A son of William G. Johnson, he was born September 22, 1856 in Clark County, Missouri, and was brought up and educated in Lee County, Iowa.

His grandfather, George Johnson, a farmer by occupation, spent the larger part of his life in Iowa, dying in Lee County. He reared a family of nine children, as follows: Thomas, a life-long resident of Eddyville, Iowa; William G.; Marvin, deceased, was engaged in mercantile pursuits; Eliza, deceased, married O. H. McPherson; Hannah, deceased, married George Currier; Christopher C., deceased; Elizabeth, who married Alexander Rumbaugh, died in Lee County, Iowa; John, deceased; and Mary Ann, wife of Waldron Scott, died at Fort Scott, Kansas.

William G. Johnson was born in 1831 in Ohio, and as a boy moved with his parents to Van Buren County, Iowa. When ready to establish a home of his own he located in Clark County, Missouri, where he was for a few years engaged in the calling of a farmer but gave his active life in Iowa later to the ministry of the Baptist Church. His last years were spent in Lee County, Iowa, where his death occurred in January, 1912, at the age of eighty-one years. He married, in Iowa, Sarah J. Leasure, a daughter of John L. Leasure, who was of French ancestry. She died in August, 1898. Eight children were born into their home circle, namely: Eliza, wife of John Watts, of Croton, Iowa; Wesley M., who died as the result of an auto accident in Ottumwa, Iowa; Albert B., of Truro, Iowa; William H., with whom this sketch is chiefly concerned; John L., a farmer of Lee County, Iowa, Clarence E., living on the parental homestead in Lee County, Iowa; Effie M., deceased, married Bert Roby, of Truro, Iowa; and Frank B., of Grand Junction, Iowa.

In the fall of 1885, accompanied by a brother and acousin, all from Lee County, Iowa, William H. Johnson made his first visit to Kearny County. At that time he entered land in section 28, township 22, range 38, and he not only proved up on that tract, but also took up a pre-emption and a tree claim in section 27. In 1886 he came here to make permanent settlement, coming across the plains with a mule team. He lived at first in a dugout covered with boards, paper and sod, but that humble abode was abandoned and since been succeeded in his present home, a modernly built and conveniently arranged residence. While proving up he raised in 1887 the biggest crop of corn ever grown on his farm. He afterward tried raising wheat and other kinds of grain, but finally abandoned that branch of agriculture, and has since been prosperously engaged in the raising of heavy draught horses and Shorthorn cattle.

After his marriage Mr. Johnson purchased his present home farm, the west half of section 18, township 25, range 36, it having formerly been owned by Daniel Thorpe, and proved up by Mr. Thorpe's widow, whose daughter became Mr. Johnson's wife. He is still devoting his time and energies to the raising of fine cattle and horses, while on that part of his land that is under irrigation he raises alfalfa and some grain. He and his wife have now a well improved ranch of 2,300 acres, 900 acres of it being in the Arkansas Valley, with 200 under plow. He has himself added many improvements to the place, having erected a modern cement house, and added to his barn room, making it possible to increase his stock of Shorthorn cattle and Percheron horses.

In October, 1892, Mr. Johnson married Miss May Thorpe, who was born in Ohio, July 12, 1872, a daughter of Daniel and Hannah (Robinson) Thorpe, who came from Rose County, Ohio, to Kansas with their four children, namely: Mrs. Johnson, the only daughter; E. R. and T. N. Thorpe, of Lakin; and Roy Thorpe, of Merced, California. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have no children.

Politically Mr. Johnson is an unswerving republican, in 1912 having been the only supporter in his precinct of William H. Taft. Fraternally he belongs to the Ancient Free and Accepted Order of Masons and to the Modern Woodmen of America. Both he and Mrs. Johnson are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which he has served as trustee.