Early Days of Greenbush


Walter Johnson

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Walter Johnson was born in 1805, in Hawkins county, Tennessee. He was a son of James and Polly Ann Johnson. James Johnson the father of Walter Johnson, at one time owned and worked a plantation consisting of 1,300 acres of land in Carter Valley, Tennessee. He died during the civil war. Walter Johnson came to Warren county, Illinois, about the year 1831.He was married November 25, 1836, to Susanna Bond. She was born in Overton county, Tennessee, August 10, 1819, and was a daughter of Major John C. and Polly (Grimsley) Bond. She died at the residence of her daughter Arvie Cayton, in Youngstown, Illinois, December 26, 1902.

To Walter Johnson and wife the following-named children were born:

  • James Crossman, born in Wisconsin, June 30, 1839. He married Emily R. Pittman, May 16, 1861. She was born in Austin, Scott county, Indiana. September 24, 1844, and was a daughter of John B. and Susan (Cunningham) Pittman. Her father died October 18, 1863; her mother died January 22, 1880.
  • James C. Johnson enlisted in the civil war, in 1862, and was second lieutenant in company H, 83rd regiment Illinois volunteer infantry. On account of failing health he resigned and returned home in April, 1863. He moved to the village of Greenbush, January 15, 1864, where in October, 1866, he bought the interest of W. H. H. Butler in the stock of goods then owned by David Adams, W. H. H. Butler, and Riley Adams. He continued in the mercantile business with the Adams brothers about two years, when he purchased their interest and engaged in the business alone until January 1, 1891. He was supervisor in Greenbush township for four years. He moved to Avon, Illinois, April 7, 1891, where he is now engaged in buying and shipping live stock.
  • Mary Ellen, born in 1840; died April 5, 1855.
  • Joseph Paine, born in 1842; married Phebe Buzan.
  • Eva, born March 13, 1843; married George Howard Hoisington, September 23, 1868. He was born February 28, 1840. They have two sons:
  • Robert Lee, born December 29, 1870; married Casey Tipton.
  • Walter J., born October 19, 1873; married Helen Martin.
  • Susanna, born June 9, 1846; married James Thomas Vaughn. She died February 9, 1886.
  • Caridan, born April 4, 1848; married Ella Wingate.
  • Sarah L., born April 1, 1853; married Charles Thomas, March 20, 1873. He was born May 8, 1848. She died April 28, 1878.
  • Kate, born April 15, 1854; married John C. Bond, Jr., December 25, 1872. He was born January 10, 1853.
  • Charlie, born in 1856; died November 4, 1866.
  • Arvie, born March 9, 1858; married Clarence Cayton, November her 3, 1882. He was born January 14, 1859; and died October 30, 1898.
  • Ruby B., born February 20, 1865; married Harry B. Hoover, November 3, 1886. He was born September 16, 1860; and died October 1, 1890. Her second marriage was to John Brothers, November 22, 1891.

  • Walter Johnson, the subject of this sketch, was a soldier in the Black Hawk war, in 1832; having gone to the state of Wisconsin, he enlisted there. Later he returned to Greenbush, Illinois. In 1852, he went to California in company with a party driving ox-teams. Shortly after his arrival in the golden state, he met a man to whom he became strongly attached, whose name is not now known, as Mr. Johnson always spoke of him as “Old Dad.” They entered into a partnership and engaged in buying groceries and provisions in Sacramento and conveying them over the mountains with pack mules or burros. The sale of these goods to the miners proved a profitable business. At one time when their stock of provisions and groceries had grown low, Old Dad took the pack animals and cash on hand and started to Sacramento to replenish stock. Johnson waited long for his return and finally started to hunt him. After going a short distance, he found where Old Dad had sold a part of the animals and afterwards he found that all the animals had been sold. Johnson had hopes of his return for several weeks; but as time went on, he gave it up. Old Dad had skipped the country. Mr. Johnson returned home in 1853. He had a great love and strong attachment for good horses. He in company with F. G. Snapp owned the noted horse Humbolt in his last days. Mr. Johnson took the world easy, had great faith in humanity, and was a man who had many friends. He died December 13, 1876.

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