WILLIAM JOHNSON, seventh in the line of children of Swan and Kjerstin Johnson, was born in Chicago, Illinois, on January 30, 1870. He followed the family first to Bement, Illinois, then to Genoa, Nebraska. He grew up on the farm one and one-half miles west of Genoa.
After his father’s death he managed the farm until about the age of 26, at which time the family moved into Genoa where he associated with his brothers Peter and Eric who were already established in the mercantile business. He enlisted with the First Nebraska Volunteers for the Spanish American War June 20, 1898.
He served in the Philippines. Harry Coil, Lue Gable, and John Gardner were other Genoa boys who went in the same regiment, while his brother, Victor, went as Lieutenant to W. J. Bryan to Cuba. Will was discharged March 15, 1899, his services no 1onger being required, and he returned to Genoa and again entered the Johnson Brothers general store.
Will married Lottle L. Smith on November 29, 1900. They left Genoa September 3, 1907, for Portland, Oregon, and moved to Eugene in May 1908. In 1910 he associated with E. L. Dorr in the furniture business, bought Dorr’s interest in 1920, continuing to operate in the same location.
Four children were born to Will and Lottie Johnson: Cecile Lucille, Victor Edwin, William W. and Dorothy Louise.
Cecile Lucile was born October 17, 1901, at Genoa, Nebraska, and married Stanley P. Summers on August 22, 1925. They now live at Eugene, Oregon. Three children were born to this union — Larcia Louis on July 20, 1927; Mary Joanne on November, 10, 1928, and Stanley Robert, Jr. on June 1, 1931.
Victor Edwin was born December 23, 1903, at Genoa, Nebraska, and married Nellie Fennell on February 28, 1936. He became associated with his parents in the furniture business at Eugene, Oregcn. At a later date Edwin became Mayor of Eugene and has been interested in politics.
William W. was born December 10, 1907 in Portland, Oregon, and died October 12, 1908, at Eugene. Dorothy Louise was born June 7, 1913, in Eugene, and died July 5, 1926. She was a very lovable girl.
The following obituary appeared in one of the Eugene newspapers:
- “WILLIAM JOHNSON RITES WILL BE HELD MONDAY
- “William Johnson, 1763 Olive Street, died in Eugene Saturday, August 22, at the age of 72. He as born January 30, 1870, in Chicago, Illinois. He maried Lottie
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- Luella Smith in Genoa, Nebraska, November 29, 1900. He came to Portland from Nebraska in 1907, then to Eugene in 1908.
- “Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Monday at the Branstetter-Simon chapel, with Dr. B. Earle Parker officiating. Interment will be in Rest Haven cemetery.
- “In 1910, he became associated with E. L. Dorr in the furniture business. From 1914 to 1920, he operated the Creswell branch of the firm.
- “In 1921, he purchased Mr. Dorr’s interest, and had since been managing-owner of the Johnson Furniture Company of Eugene.
- “He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church board of trustees, as well as the official board. He was a charter member of the McKenzie River lodge A.F.& A.M. and a Nebraska volunteer in the Spanish-American war.
- “He was also a member of the board of directors of the Retail Furniture Association here.
- “Survivors are one daughter, Mrs. Cecile Johnson Summers, and a son, V. Edwin Johnson of Eugene; six grandchildren; two sisters, Mrs. Ellen Follis of Los Angeles, and Mrs. Frank Balcer, Seattle; a brother, Nels Johnson of Wyoming.”