John Johnson was a prominent citizen of Coshocton county for nearly half a century. He was born in county Tyrone, Ireland; came to America in 1816, and to Coshocton about 1820. Under the direction of his stepfather, James Renfrew, and after the manner of his time, he learned the tanner's trade. He was a member of the well-known merchandising and banking firm, W.K. Johnson & Co. For some years, about 1840, he resided at Walhonding. He represented Coshocton district in the upper house of the Legislature, and was also a member of the lower house in Congress. He was a member of the State Constitutional Convention 1850-51. His health was not firm for some years before he died, and on this and other accounts he was not so much engaged with public affairs in this later years as in earlier ones. With limited education, his industry and native shrewdness and caution enabled him to achieve a considerable degree of business and political success. He was averse to display, and believe in "solid" things. He was a devout adherent of the Presbyterian church, in the faith of whihc he had been thoroughly trained. He died February 5, 1867. His wife was Miss Harriet Humrickhouse, and he died with issue.

["Historical Collection of Coshocton County, Ohio 1764-1876" William E Hunt; Cincinnati, Robert Clark & CO: printers, 1876 — Submitted by FOFG]


Thomas Johnson, by the documentary history of the county, and the concurrent testimony of survivors, was one of the most prominent and spirited citizens. He was born in the parish of Glentubert, Monaghan county, Ireland, on the 16th of March, 1783. Early in youth he manifested a great desire to go to America, and urged his father to emigrate. He, being a very quiet, unobtrusive man, with quite a family of young children, could not think of bringing them to the wilds of America. Thomas remained with his father until he was twenty-four years of age, and had brothers grown up. He then told his father he was determined to go to the new world, an urged his suit with so much ardor that his parents could no longer withhold their consent. He left Ireland in 1806, and landed in New York with but one sovereign in his pocket. He there met with Joseph T. Baldwin, of Newark, New Jersey, who offered to employ him. He remained with Mr. Baldwin for three years. In 1808, he married Sarah Parker. About this time his parents and three brothers, Richard, William, and Robert, and his only sister, Margaret, joined him in Newark. Thomas then determined that Newark was not the place for his father's family to settle, and in 1808 he and his father's family came to Coshocton county, where they bought a quarte section of land from Esaias Baker, on which now stand the old homestead and also the village of East Plainfield and cemetery, in which his first son, William, was the first to be buried. In 1812, he and his brother, Richard, were in the army under General Harrison. He held the office of justice of the peace, and was long an associate judge of the Court of Common Pleas. He and Jacob Waggoner built the first mill of any note on Will's creek, of four run of burrs, that tapped a radius of twenty miles. From 1820 to 1830, he ran several flat-boats to New Orleans and other points south. He nearly lost his life the first cholera season. In running the dam at Zanesville one time he and two of his oarsmen were thrown out of the boat by the oars striking the pier of the bridge. Mr. Rankin, being a good swimmer, got out, WIlliam Smith was drowned, and he was rescued from the water by the exertions of sheriff Daniel Bush. Once, finding yellow-fever prevailing in New Orleans, and markets dull, he concluded to coast out his load of provisions, and poled his boat up the Tennessee as far as Florence, where muscle shoals prevented his further passage. He had large contracts on the Ohio canal. Owing to the high banks and mud bottoms, there was a difficulty in fording WIll's creek at his mills, and the commissioners being unable to unwilling to assist in bridging said stream, he petitioned the legislature, in 1834, to authorize him to build a bridge and collect toll. This was the first bridge spanning WIll's creek in Coshocton county, and remained a toll bridge about twenty years, when his son made a free-will offering of the bridge to the county commissioners, they agreeing to repair and keep it up. He was connected with the building of the bridges that span the Tuscarawas and Walhonding rivers between Coshocton and Roscoe. From 1838 to 1840 he had heavy contracts on the Walhonding canal. In 1812, the pioneer Methodist preacher founded this settlement, and the Johnson family were the first to unite in church fellowship. Thomas was appointed leader of the class, and also steward, which office he held to the day of his death. His house was always the preacher's home. About 1835, he build the largest meeting-house in the vicinity, on his land and principally at his own expense, giving it by will to the trustees of Coshocton circuit and their successors in office. After a protracted sickness, which first made itself manifest while attending court in Coshocton, he died, August 20, 1840, in full resignation and in great peace. His widow survived him almost twenty-two years, dying at the old homestead, March 29, 1862. His father also survived him eighteen days, dying September 7, 1840, in the eighty-first year of his age. Robert Johnson, his youngest brother, moved from near Plainfield, twenty years ago, and settled in Colwell county, Missouri, being in this seventy-eighth year, and the only survivor of the old stock.

["Historical Collection of Coshocton County, Ohio 1764-1876" William E Hunt; Cincinnati, Robert Clark & CO: printers, 1876 — Submitted by FOFG]

JOHNSON, William K.

William K. Johnson was born in County Tyrone in Ireland, and when only seven years of age was brought to America. The family, after a brief stay in Baltimore, came to Pittsburg, where a brother of Mrs. Johnson was married to James Renfrew, then doing business in Coshoction, and the Johnson children thus and then came to Coshocton. At first a clerk, and then a partner in the mercantile business, and afterward in banking and in real estate operations. William K. Johnson was for many years regarded as a representative business man of the county. He had the confidence of the whole community, and his name was a synonym for integrity, sobriety, diligent applicaton to business, adn great prudence. By all the sons of the Emerald Isle, especially, he was looked to as a wise counselor. His approbation of any matter of town and county interest was regarded as quite important in order to its accomplishment. His views and actions have very largely shaped the social and business affairs of the region where for nearly forty years he lived and labored. He was for many years a member of the board of education and of the town council of Coshocton. He was postmaster for some fifteen years. He was connected with the Steubenville and Indiana railroad, as a director, from its organization until his death. He was one of the most regular attendents and spirited supporters of the Presbyterian Church. In the earlier years of its history, he superintended the Sabbath-school, and led the congregational singing. For a number of years he served th County Bible society as its treasurer and depository. While not uninterested in political affairs, he had little ambition in that line.

He married, in 1836, Miss Elizabeth Humrickhouse, who, with six children, survived him. His death occurred in comparatively early years, he being about fifty years old. He did Monday (having been in his place of business on Saturday), December 10, 1860.

["Historical Collection of Coshocton County, Ohio 1764-1876" William E Hunt; Cincinnati, Robert Clark & CO: printers, 1876 — Submitted by FOFG]

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