JOHNSON FAMILY. Some of the Families Listed.
A. A., Charles, Lewis, William Johnson.
The following was published in the Traveler of October 20, 1898. It is a report presented at the Old Settlers Association meeting.
The first settlers located in 1869, the first one being William Johnson who located on the west bank of the Walnut river in Section 20, Township 34, range 4 east. and he built the first log house.
The February 10, 1870, special census of Cowley County lists William, Charles, and A. A. Johnson.
Mr. and Mrs Lewis Johnson were married on August 24, 1870, and came to Kansas. They rode the Santa Fe to the end of the tracks at Emporia. There they joined a group of Boomer wagons, drawn by teams of horses, mules and oxen, which was headed south.
They ran into many delays, including having to actually lift wagons over some obstacles. They finally reached the cluster of shacks that had been named “Creswell” and found the Arkansas river so high it was necessary to ferry across and leave their baggage and teams on the other side.
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Johnson lived with Mr. Johnson’s brother, William, who had several years before settled on the townsite, until a log cabin could be erected for them on a claim he had taken just across the river northeast of the city, near the Green farm. The first night they spent at “Creswell” [later named Arkansas City], Mrs. Johnson was awakened by a shot. At first she had visions of Indian attacks, and discovered it was her brother-in-law shooting at a wood rat which was so large that it was carrying away the family stove wood. The strangest thing, to the new bride from the east, was the Osage Indians camped on their land. The Indians at that time were in a most turbulent state, and while not actually murderous, were very hostile and warlike. They never scalped anyone that Mrs. Johnson remembered, but they did burn all the settlers’ hay stacks.
Fire was a valuable household necessity at that time, and yet one of the greatest of the pioneer perils. Mrs. Johnson vividly remembered going several miles to borrow fire from a neighbor, carrying it home in a kettle, and on the way accidentally spilling a portion which aided by a high wind set the prairie on fire. “That night I could see the fire traveling for miles,” said Mrs. Johnson. “It was a wonderful and yet a horrible sight.”
The first crop planted in those days had to be something that would thrive on sod ground. The new farmers did not have the land to work with that the farmer does today; they must make their farm land out of the barren prairie. “We planted hardy crops from seed brought overland, such as pumpkins, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and vining beans. We often had buffalo meat, and sometimes venison, and bear, and this meat was mostly brought up from Oklahoma by the Indians and traded for flour and sugar. Wild turkey were very common.”
Emporia News, July 15, 1870.
ARKANSAS CITY ITEMS.
ARKANSAS CITY, COWLEY CO., KANSAS, July 6th, 1870.
Mr. Johnson, carriage shop.
Arkansas City Republican, Saturday, March 12, 1887. From Thursday’s Daily.
DIED. W. R. Johnson was buried yesterday afternoon in Parker Cemetery. Mr. Johnson was an old soldier and resided in the First ward. The G. A. R. conducted the funeral exercises. The deceased was 53 years old; he served during the war in the 42nd Indiana regiment.
The book “Between the Rivers” states one of the first settlers near Arkansas City was W. Johnson.
The Fairview twp. census of 1882 lists, as living at Winfield, William Johnson, age 45, and his wife L. J., age 50.
The Ninnescah twp. census of 1874 thru 1882 shows a Warner Johnson living there.
There is a W. E. Johnson living at Polo, and a W. L. Johnson living at Baltimore, in the Omnia twp. census in 1880.