Oconto County WIGenWeb Project
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MEN of EARLY OCONTO COUNTY

.Henry Johnson.


Log Cabin Days Fit Treasurer and

Wife for Climb to Capitol

The Milwaukee Journal

July 2, 1922
Mrs. Johnson Endures Hardships of Pioneer Life in Wilderness

MADISON -  Elected state treasurer five times, and going strong in the sixth inning, is a record breaker, but even that does not make Henry Johnson swell his chest out as much as his patriarchal family of eight children and 24 grandchildren.

The height of Mr. Johnson's ambition, be it mentioned here, is to gather around him some day a family of say 100 descendants — among them a goodly representation of great-grandchildren.

All his children are married except Violet, the youngest, who lives with her parents in Madison. The family included one set of twins — Leonard, who is in charge of the Johnson homestead in Suring, Oconto county, and Mrs. Lillian Carlson, Madison. One of the daughters married, but didn't change her name — she is Ms. Gladys Johnson, Madison.

Saves to Buy Farm


The Henry and Augusta Dieck Johnson Family
of Suring,
town of How, Oconto County 
c: 1900

In 1873 the youthful Henry Johnson emigrated to America from Denmark. He was 19. The same year, Augusta Dieck, 16, came from Mecklenberg, Germany. Both traveled west. Their paths converged at Shawano, where they were married. And thus was established the house of Johnson on American soil.

In 1879  Mr. Johnson bought his homestead in Oconto county, near what is now Suring - $3 an acre for 300 acres of unexplored forest. The money for the  purchase  was saved in six years' work in a Shawano hotel, owned by Tom Jennings, Milwaukee, father of Senator David V. Jennings, where both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were employed before they joined forces for the venture in the wilderness. It is a tribute to their caution and care that though they  endured the hardships of pioneer life for many years before fortune became kindlier, there has never been a mortgage or a debt against the homestead — no matter how badly they wanted new improvements and comforts, they waited until they had the cash to pay.

From Shawano they set out with an ox team to the new home. From ox team to automobile is quite a span in the life of the north woods farmer, but the change represents a transition that has occurred all along the line.

Their first log cabin was 14 by 20, in those days thought to be quit spacious and elegant enough. Land was cleared with the ax. There was no market for wood. Logs were rolled into huge piles and burned to make a place for growing crops. Despite the hardships, the Johnsons look back to those days with a great deal of pleasure.

Millard Johnson, the youngest son, was in the service 25  months, five  months of this time being spent in Germany. The morning papers carried the news that war (World War I) had been declared, and by 9 o'clock Millard was at his father's office in the capitol with the announcement that he had enlisted in a Madison company.

 "Good for you," was Mr. Johnson's comment. "The old man would have done the same thing if he were not too old to go."
 
Five terms as state treasure haven't taken away any of the energy of Henry Johnson, who is again a candidate on the Republican ticket. The picture above shows him at his desk in the capitol. His wife, shown in the inset, helped him build a log cabin on a farm hewn out of wilderness in Oconto county in the eighties. Mrs. Johnson passes up politics to devote her time to her home and eight children and 24 grand-children.

Home Duties First

For this campaign Mr. Johnson has published a platform of four words; "Courtesy, efficiency and economy." He has the endorsement of the June Republican conference.

With her own and her children's families to engage her attention Mrs. Johnson is not much of a politician. She votes, but does not agitate — never did, even when many women were. agitating because they could not vote. Home duties kept her busy, and even if she had had time, her husband's ability to meet the demands of public life were sufficient for the Johnson family.

In 1900 Mr. Johnson first came to Madison as assemblyman from Oconto county, a service he continued three terms. For six years he was assistant state treasurer. When Andrew Dahl, his chief, retired in 1912 Mr. Johnson was elected to succeed him. He has been re-elected without a break every two years since 1912. 



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