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Christian County Illinois

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Named after Christian County in Kentucky through the influence of emigrants from that county.
Established February 15, 1839 as Dane County (Laws, 1839, p. 104). Name changed to Christian County in 1840.

Portrait and biographical record of Christian County, Illinois : containing biographical sketches of prominent and   representative citizens, together with biographies of all the Governors of the state, and of the Presidents of the United States.  Chicago, Ill. : Lake City Pub. Co., 1893, p264.  Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards, 2007.

JOHNSON BROTHERS are the prosperous proprietors of Maple Farm, Assumption Township, their residence being on section 21, and they are well known in this and neighboring counties, as they have been residents of Illinois for forty-three years, and for a third of a century their lot has been cast with the inhabitants of Christian County. They are numbered among the honored old settlers and most worthy citizens, and their many friends will be pleased to read the history of their lives in this record.

Benjamin Johnson, the father of the gentlemen who are the subjects of this sketch, was born in London, England, June 8. 1799. He early learned the cabinet-maker's trade, and in 1823 emigrated to the New World, first locating in Baltimore, Md., where he followed his trade for a few years. Removing to Ohio, Mr. Johnson first located in Belmont County, in St. Clairsville, afterward going to Guernsey County, where he resided for a number of years, still working at his trade. While in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1826, he was married to Miss Elizabeth Foote, who was a native of County Cork, Ireland, and emigrated to America the same year Mr. Johnson came to this country.

In 1849, he removed to Illinois, and settled in Greene County, where he and his sons entered into partnership with a Mr. Harden, and engaged in farming and stock-raising for ten years. In 1860, the family removed to Christian County, and purchased a tract of land located in Assumption Township. Here the father spent the last years of his life, dying in January, 1876, at the age of seventy-seven years. His wife, who survived him and passed away March 12, 1891, reached the advanced age of ninety years.

The family of Benjamin Johnson comprised seven sons and two daughters, who lived to maturity. The eldest, Robert G. Johnson, was born in Belmont County, March 10, 1827; Wade F. was born in the same county, September 13, 1828; Margaret died in 1878; Edward was a partner with his brothers for several years, and after his marriage was a successful farmer of this county until his death, in 1882; Martha lives with her brothers; Walter was also in partnership with the brothers until his marriage, and engaged in farming until his demise in 1890, when he left a wife and two sons; William L. is next in order of birth; and Benjamin and Leo, both well-to-do farmers, complete the family.

The firm of Johnson Brothers originally comprised the father and seven brothers. They bought land, farmed and raised stock, and carried on an extensive business for years. As the brothers married, they withdrew their interests from the firm, and at the present time it consists of the following: Robert G., Wade F. and William L. They own about eighteen hundred acres of valuable land in this county, besides other real estate and personal property.

They first entered a tract of nine hundred acres of raw land, which they improved, and set out maple and other forest trees. This beautiful grove, so well known in the locality, stands near the home, and many of the trees now measure from twenty-four to thirty inches in diameter. The substantial residence, barns and outbuildings are kept up in good shape, and, surrounded as they are by the noble trees, make a most pleasing picture of a model farm.

Three of the Johnson brothers served in the Union army during the late Civil War. Edward F. and William L. both enlisted in Company G, One Hundred and Sixteenth Illinois Infantry, in 1862, and served until the close of hostilities. They were with Sherman, and took part in all the engagements in which that army participated, including the celebrated march to the sea. Benjamin J. enlisted May 14, 1864, for the one hundred-day service, but served about five months.

Wade Johnson was only a lad when he planted one and a-half acres of corn, and cared for it until it was harvested. He has taken quite an active part in local politics of late years, and served for ten consecutive years as Highway Commissioner. During that time eighty miles of township roads were laid out and opened on the section lines. He also served for thirty years as Township Trustee, and for live years was President of the Assumption Fire Insurance Company, at the same time serving as Treasurer. 

Since locating in this county, the brothers have given their attention more especially to the raising of stock, and have a large portion of their land devoted to pastures. In politics they are all true-blue Republicans, and active in local politics. Robert Johnson, like his brother, has also held numerous local positions of responsibility, the duties of which he has discharged satisfactorily.

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