JOHNSON, HENRY RICHARD, retired farmer of Morgan County, Ill., residing in Jacksonville, was born in Ross County, Ohio, April 2, 1828, the son of Zacharia and Barbara (Richart) Johnson. When he was seven months old his parents brought him to Morgan County, where they spent the remainder of their lives. At the time of his mother's death, which occurred when she was ninety_five years old, she was the oldest resident of the county. His father died at the age of fifty_six.
Richard Johnson, father of Zacharia Johnson, was a native of New York State. Thence he migrated to Ohio and (in 1824) to Illinois. In New York he served in the War of 1812. He married Diana Wagner, of Pennsylvania. When he came to Morgan County, he bought a claim of 120 acres where the town of Arcadia now is, a portion of which, under the name of New Lexington, he platted and laid out in lots. By occupation he was a blacksmith. He also entered 80 acres under a patent signed by President Andrew Jackson. This land is still owned by the family, being held in Mrs. Zacharia Johnson's name until her death, January 1, 1904. In the pioneer period Richard Johnson's house was used for many years for church purposes, services being held for three weeks continuously.
Henry R. Johnson received his early mental training in the primitive subscription schools of Morgan County, and was reared to farm work, in which he engaged until the time of his retirement. He still supervises his farming interests, having 700 acres of fine farm land, devoted to general farming and stock_raising. On it are fed and raised over 300 head of stock annually. As his possessions indicate, he has been diligent and intelligent in his farming methods, always successfully contriving to secure the best results. In 1869 he moved to Jacksonville, where he has since resided.
On March 11, 1852, Mr. Johnson was married to Martha Helen Reeve, a daughter of Isaac B. Reeve, who, in 1819, started the first blacksmith shop in Morgan County, first using a stump for an anvil block and working out of doors under the shade of a tree.
Five children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, namely: Mary E. (Mrs. Stephen O. Shuff); Anna Maria (Mrs. Charles B. Strawn); Hattie (Mrs. Charles Jeffers), Henry Jackson and James B. The mother of this family died in June, 1893. On November 14, 1894, Mr. Johnson married as his second wife Mrs. Elizabeth Murray, a daughter of Tison and Catherine (Griffith) Bell. She was born in Pike County, Mo., and was first married to James Murray, April 13, 1852. He died July 24, 1882. They had seven children, namely: William E., Mary Elizabeth (Mrs. Martin M. Crum), Catherine (Mrs. James McFillan), Sarah (Mrs. Albert Crum), Irwin E. and Flora May (Mrs. Theodore Martin, who is deceased.
For twenty_seven years Mr. Johnson was a Director of the Jacksonville National Bank, resigning this position in 1904. Politically he is a Democrat, and has served three terms as Alderman, and three years as Justice of the Peace. He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. Formerly he was affiliated with the Odd Fellows.