Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The
Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties,
State of Washington", published by Western Historical Publishing
THOMAS J. JOHNSON is a prosperous farmer residing three miles southeast from Harrington. Born in Clark county, Missouri, February 15, 1855, he was the son of James and Ellen E. (Butts) Johnson, both natives of Kentucky. The father, was an early pioneer of Clark county, and in 1878 he removed to Santa Cruz county, California, where he made his home until his death in 1899, aged at the time eighty-three years. The mother lived to be fifty-three years, when she died in Clark county, Missouri, in 1877.
The brothers and sisters of our subject are, Robert, John, Mrs. Margaret P. Crutcher, Mrs. Mary Hayes, Mrs. Martha Kenoyer, William H., Amanda F. Tinsley, and Andrew J. The family originally comprised thirteen children.
Mr. Johnson grew to maturity in the state of his birth, and in the spring of 1877 went to Illinois, whence the following year he went west by way of Cheyenne to the Black Hills country in South Dakota. Here he tried with poor success to farm until 1892, when he came to Davenport, Washington. So discouraging had been his success that he was compelled to borrow seventy-five dollars with which to get out of the country, only twenty cents of which he had upon his arrival at Davenport. After coming to this county Mr. Johnson, his wife and the children, who were old enough went to work for wages, and thus lived through the hard times. After two years, or to be exact, in 1894, Mr. Johnson purchased his present home of a quarter section of choice grain land. His circumstances were so poor that he purchased the land all on time, giving a mortgage on the land as security. He farmed the place with poor success until 1897, since which year he has continued to gain, until he now has in his own name four hundred and eighty acres of as good land as the Big Bend has to offer. The land is all cultivated, well improved and is altogether a most desirable farm. Mr. Johnson also owns three hundred and twenty acres of pasture land on Coal creek, all of which he has fenced and stocked with well bred cattle and horses.
On December 21, 1881, Mr. Johnson was married to Josie E. Northrup, a native of Sussex county, New Jersey, and daughter of Joseph and Ella (Ward) Northrup, the former now a resident of Clark county, Missouri, the latter being dead.
To this union have been born twelve children; Ellen E., wife of Henry Gunning, of Reardan; Samuel J., married to Viola Adams, at Reardan; Lawrence, deceased; Ethel G., Edith F., William H., R. B. Franklin, Alonzo E., Lulu C., Gladys M., Estella M., and Bertha L.
Mrs. Johnson has one brother, Ellsworth M. Northrup, of California.