California Genealogy and History Archives
San Bernardino County and Riverside County
CHARLES E. JOHNSON — San Bernardino has in its employ some of the most capable men in this part of the state, whose efforts and capabilities are exerted to furnish the municipality a service not to be found in all of the cities, even those of a much greater population. Many of these men are young, enthusiastic and ambitious, and bring to their work a knowledge of it gained either through technical training or practical experience. Charles E. Johnson, city engineer of San Bernardino, has the advantage of being a professional civil and mining engineer and practical man of his calling, and he is also a veteran of the World war.
Born at Los Angeles, California, January 18, 1890, he is very proud of the fact that his grandfather, Charles McNutt Johnson, went from. Nova Scotia to the Isthmus of Panama by sailing boat, walked across the Isthmus, and took a sailing vessel from the western coast for San Francisco, California, where he arrived in 1849, being one of the first in the army of gold seekers of that year. Like the majority of them, he prospected for gold during many years. His son, Charles McNutt Johnson, father of Charles E. Johnson, was born at Sacramento, California, and received his education in the public schools of San Francisco. In 1886 he went to Los Angeles, and from there to Little Bear Valley, following his profession of a civil engineer for two years under E. T. Wright. For the subsequent years he was with the Santa Fe Railroad, and from 1890 to 1895 was with the Cucamonga Water Company, before he was made superintendent of it, and as such served from 1895 to 1907, when he began building and contracting. Some time later he went with the Santa Fe Railroad, but in 1921 joined his son, who has him with him in his office.
Charles McNutt Johnson married Margaret J. Stehens, who was born near Springfield, Illinois. She was very young when her family moved from Illinois to Maine, and only a little older when migration was made to Alabama. From the latter state the Stephens family came to California, first living in Los Angeles and then going to Ontario, California. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson became the parents of eight children, but the first born died in infancy; Alden McNutt is employed in the Santa Fe shops; Marie L., who married Kenneth Rogers, has one son, Kenneth, Junior; Lillian Frances married Dalmer Devening; John W. is in the employ of the Standard Oil Company; James, who is in the medical department. of the United States Army, stationed at San Francisco, California; Mae, who is attending the public schools pf San Bernardino ; and Charles E., whose name heads this review.
After attending the public schools of Cucamonga and Ontario, California, Charles E. Johnson took a course in Civil and Mining engineering, and has followed engineering as a profession. In 1915 he came to San Bernardino, and was with the county surveyor for about a year, and then was associated with M. L. Cook until June 1, 1917, when he returned to the city, and continued with it during the Catick administration, or until 1919. In that year he returned to M. L. Cook, continuing with him until he was appointed city engineer June 1, 1921.
On November 6, 1918, Mr. Johnson went to the Engineer Officers Training Camp at Camp Humphries, and was there about a month, when the armistice was signed. He had to return to California as a witness in an important mining: case that was tried at Los Angeles in the Federal Court and after its termination he came back to San Bernardino.
Mr. Johnson was one of the first to help organize the American Service League, and served as its first secretary. Major Stromee being at that time chairman. When the American Legion was organized he was one of the organizers of the Fourteenth Post, Department of California, with rank of adjutant, and Major Stromee became its commander
Alden McNutt Johnson, brother of Charles E. Johnson, enlisted in the Aviation Department, and served for thirteen months in a Southern aviation camp as sergeant.
On June 1, 1915, Charles E. Johnson married Blanch Rountree, who was born at Riverside, California, and died March 11, 1918, at San Bernardino. In June, 1919, Mr. Johnson married Miss Edith M. McLaren. She was born at Dedham, Massachusetts, June 26, 1898, and there resided until 1919, when she came to San Bernardino. She died June 11, 1920. She was a member of the Eastern Star and was the second secretary of the Woman's Auxiliary of the American Legion. Mr. Johnson has a son, Charles E. Jr., by his first marriage. He belongs to the Native Sons of the Golden West, is secretary of the Better City Club, and a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Fraternally he is a Blue Lodge, Chapter, Commandery and Shriner Mason, and belongs to the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, the Eastern Star, American Association of Engineers, the Lions Club, the La Societe De 40 Hommes and 8 Chevaux of which he is secretary of the last organization and Grande Guard of de Prisonnies of the State of California.
Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011