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Johnson Families of Mercer County

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Alternate Spellings - None found for Johnson; Wilson - Willson

Links - Seastone, Wilson, Hoover, Woodruff, Thirtyacre.

Contacts - June Carroll has shared her research on Jonas and Lucinda Jane Wilson Johnson. Much of it is given below. 10/2008 she sent us a link to the obituary of Charles Johnson Wilson (son of Jonas and Lucinda) which she has posted on Findagrave: Yes, Charles Wilson Johnson did change his name to Charles Johnson Wilson per June's research below.

7/2011 Jan Dunlap advised us she is descended from Minor Hargrave Johnson through his son Benjamin Franklin Johnson and grandson Roy Johnson. She sent us the 1850 census for Minor, the 1900 census for Franklin Johnson, and the 1910 census showing Roy (all in Eliza township). Information has been entered below. We have also made a correction to show Drury Reynolds Cemetery as located in Rock Island County (just north of Mercer County).

There were many Johnson families in Mercer County. Since the subject of this Web Site is the history of New Boston and Eliza Townships in Mercer County we will confine ourselves to Johnson Families in those two townships for the time being.

Jonas and Lucinda Jane Wilson Johnson

Jonas Johnson owned land in Section 15 in Township 14N Range 6W as proven in his estate records after his death in 1878 (Description of Property from Estate). New Boston Township was composed of T14NR5W and a portion of T14NR6W fronting on the Mississippi River. Jonasís land in Section 15 consisted of 305 acres and fronted directly on the Mississippi. In our collection of maps we are missing the New Boston portion consisting of T14NR6W from the 1875 Atlas and would dearly love to have it if anyone can share a copy. It is of no avail to use later versions (which we do have) as the Mississippi River was a constantly changing entity and the coastline of New Boston Township changed significantly over the years as did the adjoining islands in the River. Since the 1875 Atlas was close to the death of Jonas it should pretty accurately reflect his property. Part of the problem in doing research is that T14N Range 6W was also swampy and filled with creeks and lakes and was not really accessible to census takers.

According to death information obtained by June Carroll, Jonas was born about 1828 and had been in Mercer County about 26 years, thus arriving about 1852. He evidently purchased his property from a private party as it is not listed in public land purchase records for Mercer County. His marriage record in the Illinois Marriage Index tells us he married Lucinda J. Wilson on 2/23/1865 (license date?), so he was about 37 years old and Jane was about 20. Such age differences were not uncommon, particularly in 1865 at the end of the Civil War, when thousands of young males had been killed in the war.

Jonasís house is actually shown on a portion of a Mercer County map (look along the river to the left edge of the map and you will see the house marked on Section 15 just above the "ippi" in the name of the River. For information on purchasing these maps see bottom of the page.) Jonas owned a small sliver of land separated from his main parcel which may have been timberland or perhaps his boat launching area.

Since Jonas and Jane do not appear in the 1870 census (T14NR6W was not censused) we are not sure of his occupation. He was not censused in 1860 either. Surely his occupation included some type of fishing, or perhaps hunting, on the islands in the River, or a combination of both. In his estate records there were some 470 posts for sale so he may also have cut and sold timber items.

Jane, This is Your Life (by June Carroll)

Lucinda Jane was born about 1846 probably in Pine Township, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. I'm not sure about her birth date at this time but the 1850 census gives her age as 3 and 1860 census gives her age as 12.

Her grandparents also lived in Pennsylvania and they joined the Mormon faith in about 1836. Jane's parents were Samuel and Sarah (Strong) Wilson. Her parents didn't join the Mormon faith. Jane had at least 9 siblings but I only have found the names on seven of them, William, Jacob, Susan, Mary Ann, Mariah, James and Utah Elizabeth. The grandparent went on the exodus to Nauvoo, Illinois in about 1839 with others of that faith and from there to Utah. Sarah and her husband, Samuel and children didn't go with them but by 1860 they were living in Drury, Rock Island County, Illinois. At this time Jane was about 12 years old.

On February 23, 1865 Jane married Jonas Johnson in Mercer County, Illinois. The property they lived on was in New Boston Township, Mercer County, Illinois. The property was located right on the Mississippi river with Eliza Lake and Creek running very close to this land on the east side making the area look much like an island. The description of the property put it in Section 15, Township 14 North, Range 6 West.

John was their first child and he was born in December of 1865. In December of 1870 their second son, Charles was born. He was followed by two sisters: Emma "Dora" born July 6, 1872 and then Alida "Esther" who was born April 30, 1875. Tragedy hit the family in Nov of 1878 when their last child was born. Jane died shortly after giving birth to her last baby and the baby died shortly thereafter. Jane's death was on Nov 24, 1878. Jonas died a couple of days later. Jonas died of tuberculosis. There were quite a bill list of medicines listed in his probate records such as quinine, sulphur etc.

I have a bill that was submitted by David Kirlin after they died for one coffin. The price was $12.50 and was bought on the 25th of November, two other coffins were purchased on November 26 for wife and child. The price for those was $12.50 for wife and $5.00 for child. They were charged $6.50 for digging 3 graves. By Jonas' death certificate he was 50 years old when he died and Jane would have been about 32. Jonas' death certificate and the children's papers from the orphan home states that Jonas was born in Ljusdal, Halsingland, Sweden.

In a letter written by Jane's mother, Sarah (Strong) Wilson, in 1880 to her family in Utah it stated: "My daughter and her husband both died a year ago last November. One died the 24th and the other the 26th and left five children, an infant 4 days old. It died a month old. There are two boys and two girls. One boy 14 years old. We have him and the others are in an Illinois orphan home. I sent and got the girls but we could not keep them on account of their estate not being in Iowa and that caused me a good deal of trouble".

It seems that Charles, Emma Dora, and Alida Esther were admitted into the Swedish Andover Orphanage in Andover, Henry County, Illinois on August 26, 1879. They lived there until they come of age. I believe John continued to live with his uncle William and family in America, Plymouth County, Iowa as I found him on a census there in 1880 but by 1900 he is living in Johnstown, Brown County, Nebraska with his two sisters Dora and Esther. They are all living next door to their cousin Jonas Wilson and family. I can't locate John anywhere else but was told he delivered mail in Carrolls, Cowlitz County, WA for a time. (This hasn't been confirmed)

It stated in papers I received from the Andover orphanage that Charles changed his last name to Wilson which was his mother's maiden name. I believe when Charles was 18 he headed for college and by 1895 he secured a position at North Park College in the Science Dept in Chicago, Illinois. In about 1899 he married Jenny (Modine) and in the 1900 census I find him and Jenny living with his in-laws. In 1910 they are on their own in Chicago, Cook County, IL and they have added two children to their family, Stanley born about 1900 and Bernice born about 1904. Charles died on November 27, 1936 in Chicago, Cook County, IL but at present I don't know where he is buried.

I think Dora, Esther, and probably Johnnie headed for Oregon in about 1905. Dora married Benjamin Silas Prather on Nov 24, 1906 in Kalama, Cowlitz County, Washington. In 1919, 1920 and 1930 they are living in Killin Pct. Clackamas County, OR. Together they had two children, Cleo Hartman Prather born Aug 20, 1906 and Roland W. Prather born July 8, 1913. Looks like Benjamin was a farmer by all of the census reports. Dora died on February 20, 1959 in Monitor, Clackamas County, Oregon and she and her husband are both buried in the Miller cemetery in Silverton, Marion County, Oregon.

Esther married Frank H. Louis Blaue in about 1901. I'm not sure if they were still in Nebraska or not. By census their only child, Stanley Blaue, was born in Nebraska on Dec 11, 1904. His obituary states in was born in Oregon City, Clackamas County, OR. Esther died on July 13, 1951 at Park Place, Clackamas County, Oregon. She and her husband are buried in the Mt View Cemetery in Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon.
Johnson Children - Back L to R: Charles (Johnson) Wilson; A. Esther (Johnson)Blaue; John Johnson
Front E. Dora (Johnson)Prather

More on the family of Lucinda Jane Wilson Johnson

We have a Wilson page up for Mercer county which is linked at the top of the page but will continue here with Lucinda Janeís family for continuity. Our own research is only in readily available public records so it is wonderful to have June Carrollís family story.

Lucinda Jane is found in Drury Township, Rock Island County, just north of Mercer County in 1860: #79 Samuel Wilson, 48,mill wright; Sarah, 43, Pa; William, 21, mill wright; Jacob, 17, day laborer; Mary Ann, 14, Ia; Jane, 12, Iowa; George {James?], 6, Il; Elvira, 2, Il. This record is a little "iffy" and Lucinda and Mary Ann were definitely born in Pennsylvania, not Iowa. This is proven by the 1850 census in Pine, Indiana County, Pennsylvania: #163 Samuel Willson, 30, farmer, Pa; Sarah, 28, Pa; William, 12, Pa; Jacob, 10; Susan, 8, Pa; Lucinda, 3, Pa; Mary 9/12, Pa; Wm J. Patterson, 21, laborer, Pa.

Samuel Wilson died before 1870 as widow Sarah Wilson is found in Plymouth County, Iowa, in 1870:#22 Sarah Wilson, 47, Pa; James, 15, Il, laborer; Uta, 11, Il. Next door to her is son William: #23 William Wilson, 30, Pa, laborer; Eda, 21, Iowa; Elizabeth, 6, Il; Jonas, 4, Il; Samuel, 2, Il. We believe son James is the one listed as George in the 1860 census in Rock Island.

Sons William and James Wilson are found in America Township, Plymouth County, Ia in 1880: William Wilson, 40, farmer, Pa, parents born Pa; Edith, 30, Ia, Oh, In; Jonas, 14, Il, Pa, Ia; Samuel, 12, Ia, Pa, Ia; James, 24, brother, farmer, Il, Pa, Pa; John Johnson, 14, nephew, Il, Norway, Pa. This is John Johnson, son of Jonas and Lucinda Jane. (Note: in later censuses John gives his father as born Sweden).

Daughter Susan married George Gibbons 1/15/1857 in Rock Island County, so does not appear in the family in the 1860 census. In 1880 they are in Plymouth County, Iowa, with other family members: Washington Township #56 George Givvens, 50, farmer, born England, parents born England; Susan, 49, born Pa, parents born Pa; George W., 18, Il; Sarah L., 14, Il; Mary, 10/12, daughter, Ia.

Daughter Mary Ann Wilson is apparently the one who married John Jennings 7/3/1865 in Muscatine County, Iowa (across the river from Mercer County) as they are found in 1900 in Plymouth County, Iowa. There was another Mary A. Wilson marriage to Jewett Colburn in Rock Island about 1866 but they remained in Rock Island County.

June Carroll mentions daughter Utah Elizabeth . She appears to be listed as Elvira in the 1860 census. She married Michael Hoover, daughter of James Hoover and his first wife, Elizabeth Johnson. James Hoover married second to Sarah Murphy Woodruff, widow of Robert Clark Woodruff of Mercer County. We will be putting up a Hoover page but in the meantime there is information on James and Sarah on the Woodruff page. Michael and Utah Hoover are found in Washington, Plymouth County, Iowa in 1880: Michael Hoover, farmer, 26, born Wi, father In, mother In; Utah, 21, Il, parents Il; Sarah, 4, Ia; Edna, 1 mo, Ia. With them is Sarah Wilson, mother-in-law, 57, born Pa, parents born Pa. Next door to them is step-mother Sarah Hoover, 45, born In; father Va, mother Pa, and her Hoover children. Sarahís obituary is posted on the Woodruff page, courtesy of June Carroll.

Plymouth County Iowa is located at the extreme western line of the State of Iowa and was a jumping off point for 1900 immigration of Wilson family members to Washington and Oregon.

Minor Hargrave Johnson of Eliza Township

Jan Dunlap sent us the 1850 census: Minor H. Johnson, age 45, married, farmer, value of real estate $1000, born Va; Elizabeth Johnson, 35, wife, born South Carolina; William, 16, son, farmer, born In; Franklin 15, son, farmer, born In; Martha, 12, daughter, born IN; Charles, 8, son, born Il; Joanna, 3, daughter, born Il; John, 1, son, born Il; Sarah, 6, daughter, born Il. Jan also tells us that Minor Johnson, son of Nicolas and Martha Hargrave Johnson, married Elizabeth Ann McGreer in Union County Indiana on December 17, 1832 (date from marriage license).

Minor Johnson died in 1879 and is buried in Drury Reynolds Cemetery in Rock Island County (Minor Johnson 1806-1879). Wife Elizabeth is also buried there (1813-1887).

Son Franklin Johnson is found in Eliza Township in Mercer County in 1900: Franklin Johnson, white, born May 1835 in Indiana, 65, married, father born Virginia, mother South Carolina, farmer, cannot read or write, can speak English, farm owned free and clear; Eda L., white, born May 1853, 47, married 20 years, mother of 7 children, 6 living, born Il; father born Germany, mother born Germany, can read, write and speak English; Edward C, son white, born Dec 1882, 17, born Il, father In, mother Il; farm laborer, 5 months not employed, can read, write, and speak English; Roy W, son born Mar 1885, 15, born Il, father In, mother Il, farm laborer, 7 months not employed, can read, write and speak English; Zona F, daughter, June 1887, 12, Il, In, Il, at school, attended 7 months, can read, write and speak English; Lee J, Mar 1894, 6, Il, In, Il, at school, attended 2 months. In the 1910 census Jan found Eda Johnson, white, 57, widow, 7 children born, 2 living (altho 3 are listed), manages farm, farm not mortgaged; Roy W, son, 24, single, Il, In, Il, farm laborer on home farm, able to read and write; Zona, son (actually daughter?), 22, single, Il, In, Il, no trade or profession or kind of work; Lee J, son, single, Il, In, Il, farm labor, home farm.

Franklin is buried in Drury Reynolds Cemetery in Rock Island County: Franklin Johnson born 17 May 1836 died 21 April 1902 Co E 18th Ia Inf GAR served 3 yr 2 mo. Eda was buried 17 August 1913 in Drury Reynolds Cemetery. Jan tells us she had married Franklin on 30 December 1879 as Eda Lydia Thirtyacre. She was youngest daughter of John and Lena Friese (1st wife)Thirtyacre of Eliza Township.

Jan also has several newspaper articles about the families which she will share.

Other Johnson Families in Mercer County

Other Jonas Johnsons in Mercer County

We include two other Jonas Johnsons who died in Mercer County in order that they not be confused with the above Jonas Johnson since both were born Sweden and both were about the same age as the above Jonas. Jonas Johnson (Oct. 2, 1827-April 22, 1899) and Johanna, his wife (Mar 13, 1833-July 16, 1900) are buried in the Swedish Lutheran Cemetery in Section 13, Rivoli Township. Jonas Johnson (Oct 26, 1828-June 16, 1905) is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Section 35, North Henderson, Township.

Johnson Families in New Boston Eliza Townships

There were none in 1860 or 1870. In 1880 there were 3 persons named Johnson in Eliza Township and 18 in New Boston Township. In 1900 there were 15 persons named Johnson in Eliza Township and 26 in New Boston. As time permits we will research and post these families.

In the 1900 census we find in New Boston: #348 S. Quincy Johnson, 36, farmer, born April 1864, widower, born NC, parents born NC; Daisy, born March 1882, 18, born NC; Felix, born No 1884, 15, farm laborer, born NC; Lelar (female), 9, born Aug 1890, NC; Dora, 2, born July 1897, Il; Lora Dell, 11/12, born June 1899, Il. In New Boston Cemetery (Vol 2, page 50) we find: S. O[Q]. Johnson 1864-1920; Sarah Jane, his wife 1865-1900. We also find son Felix N. Johnson 1884-1938; and wife Ava Johnson 1888-1947.

Mercer County Map Source

The portion of the Mercer County Map that shows Jonas's house is from a "Historic Atlas of Illinois Counties - Zone 3" on CD. These maps are from an Atlas originally published in 1876. They can be purchased on-line at They are available for several states and are very useful in genealogic research.

10/14/2008 Added link under contacts to an obituary for Charles Johnson Wilson furnished by June Carroll.
5/13/2007 Added S. Quincy Johnson and family to the New Boston Johnsons.
7/21/2011 Added information on Minor Hargrave Johnson and family.