"History of Lincoln, Oneida, and Vilas Counties Wisconsin"

Compiled by George O.Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others. Printed in 1924 by H.C.Cooper. Jr. & Co., Minneapoli-Winona MN. ill. 787 pages. The first two hundred pages are history of the three counties, the remainder of the book is biographies.


Johnson, John S. proprietor of a good modern farm in Sec. 26, town of Merrill, was born in Norway, June 22, 1855, son of Andrew and Tina JOHNSON. The father was a merchant who also dealt in stock and farmed. He and his wife spent their lives in their native Norway, Mrs. Tina JOHNSON dying at the venerable age of 93 years. They were the parents of six children: John S., subject of this sketch; Carrie, wife of Peter OLSON, of the town of Merrill, Lincoln County; Sophia, Louise and Mary, who are still in Norway, and Anton, who resides in that state of Washington. John S. JOHNSON attended school in Norway until he was 15 years old. He then learned the tanner's trade, which he followed for four years, after which he served two years in the Norwegian army. It was in 1881 that he came to the United States, locating first at Baldwin, St. Croix County, Wis., whence he came to Merrill in 1883. Here he readily found work as a logger and was thus employed for 14 winters by Wright Lumber Co., also for one winter by the Scott Lumber Co. During the summer he worked in the mills. He had resolved, however, sometime to get on to the land and establish a farm home, believing that it was all things considered, the most reliable, as it was the most necessary, form of industry. Accordingly in 1913 he bought 120 acres in Section 26, town of Merrill and began its development. It was a tract covered with stumps and brush and its clearance involved the usual amount of hard work so familiar to the pioneer of this region. Up to the present time Mr. JOHNSON has cleared 40 acres of it, built a nice frame house of 11 rooms with a full basement, also two barns, one of them measuring 28 by 50 feet and the other 14 by 64 feet. The house and other buildings are lighted with acetylene gas. Mr. JOHNSON is engaged in general farming and dairying, having 21 head of grade Holstein and Jersey cattle, also a herd of Chester-White hogs, and four draught horses, and, making all allowances for occassional adverse conditions, he has had and is still enjoying a successful career. He was married at Merrill, this county in 1889 to Lena PEARSON, by whom he had three children: Lillian, wife of Peter SOLBERG of St. Paul, Minn.; Arvid and Louis of Merrill. Mrs. Lena JOHNSON died in 1896 and in 1900 Mr. JOHNSON married Tina REISBERG, of Merrill, who was born in Norway, daughter of Otto and Jeannette REISBERG and who came to the United States alone. Of this union six children have been born, John, Arvel, Sophia, Alfred, Otto and Berhart. Sophia, who was graduated from the Merrill Commerical College, now holds a position as a stenographer and bookkeeper. Arvel and Louis were in the United States' service in the World War. Arvel who entered the service July 23, 1918, trained at Camp Grant, Illinois and served one year in France with the 32d Division. Louis entered the service the same day as his brother and also served one year in France, but with the 28th Division. They are both member of the American Legion.

Transcribed by Susan Swanson, from pages 575; History of Lincoln, Oneida and Vilas Counties Wisconsin; Compiled by George O. Jones, Norman S. McVean and Others 1924, H. C. Cooper, Jr. & Co

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