Thursday, May 12, 2016

Too Many Johnsons

A recent post was about Hugo William Kent. Now I'd like to talk just a little about his second wife's family.

If we look at the Kent farm in 1921, we find it owned by a John Johnson.

2016-5-12. Johnson 1921
From, courtesy of Steven R. Shook.

John was Anna's father. Just south of Joliet Road and east of N 750 W, you see a little square marked "Res. of Theo. Johnson." Theodore was Anna's brother.*

I'm a little hazy on the composition of the family. The Johnsons (or Johannessons) lived a good part of their lives in Sweden, and some of their children were born there; the family came to this country only in 1882, thus missing the 1880 census — and the 1890 census, of course, is lost to us. It doesn't help that Johnson is a common name, and this area was crawling with them in the timeframe we're discussing.

Someone on has compiled a list of the Johnson family as part of the Krachey Family Tree:

John (Johann Magnus) Johnson (Johannesson) b. 1841 in Sweden
m. Ulrika Ulla Kristina Swanson b. 1849 (in Sweden)
1. Anna Elisabet (1874-1878)
2. Charles Carl Johan (1876-1945)
3. August Albin (1879-1882)
4. Oscar Emil (1881-1949)
Arrival in New York 1882
5. Theodore Clauss (1886-1955)
6. Anna (1889-1971)**
7. Hulda Josefina (1895-1980)

This almost-but-not-quite matches the listing in John Johnson's 1930 obituary:
John Johnson, aged 89 years, pioneer Porter county resident, passed away at the family homestead, where he had resided for the past 37 years, now the home of his daughter, Mrs. Hugo Kent, and family, one mile east of Deepriver, on Friday, Jan. 3, the cause of death being heart trouble.

Mr. Johnson's birthplace was in Sweden, and he was born on March 11, 1840. He was united in marriage to Ulricka Swanson in 1872. To this union was born eight children, two dying in infancy. In 1880 he and his family emigrated to this country and settled near Crisman, where they resided for twelve years. They then moved to Deepriver on the place where he had since resided. His wife preceded him in death seventeen years ago.

He leaves to mourn his death, four sons and two daughters — Charles, Oscar, Albin, Theador, Mrs. Anna Kent, all of Porter county, and Mrs. Hulda King of Rockford, Ill., two sisters and twenty-one grandchildren.
This gives us an approximate date for the Johnson family's purchase of the Union Township farm — 1893. The 1895 plat map backs that up. So does Ulrike Swanson Johnson's obituary, which I happened to save, back when I was reading the 1912 microfilm, because it mentioned "a farm near Deep River."

2016-5-12. Ulrike Swanson Johnson obituary
(Click on image to enlarge)

Ulrike and John Johnson are buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, among many other Johnsons.

One day last year, Eldon Harms and I went out driving so he could show me where Huffman's mill had been. As we turned south off Joliet Road onto N 750 W, he pointed to the old farmhouse on that corner and said, "That was Constance Kent's house." I still haven't figured out who Constance was. The Porter County records have 1892 as the construction date of that house … which may mean the Johnsons did not build it themselves. Assuming a little carelessness on the part of the 1921 plat-map maker, that might be the house marked as Theodore Johnson's residence. I gather that after Anna Johnson married Hugo William Kent, it became the Kent home.

*But I can't find Theodore in Porter County in the 1920 Census.
**Theodore's birthplace is given as Miller, Indiana; Anna's as "Union City," which may be the area in Porter County known as Union Center, today memorialized only by Union Center Elementary School.

Obituary Sources:
♦ "John Johnson, Pioneer of Porter Co., Passes Away." Hobart News 9 Jan. 1930.
♦ "Obituary." Hobart News 26 Dec. 1912.

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