Early Days

The Johnson Clan In America

Thank You Anne O'Leary for all of this wonderful information.

Who's Who In The Photo?  Point & Click to Find Out!

This is the earliest known photograph of my father, Wright R. Johnson

 

My Father's Father's Parents and the Crew:

Welcome to a little bit of fun here.  Just click in the photo to read a little bit of information about the person you're interested in.  I don't know the actual date of the picture, but I would think it was taken in the very early 1920s.  My father is, of course, the little guy.  Many thanks to my sister, Anne, for providing all of the information below.  We hope you enjoy this page.  

Great-Grandfather & Grandmother Johnson:

Starting on the left hand side of the photo at the bottom is Great-Grandpa and Great-Grandma Johnson. I do not know what their first names are. They were born and raised in Sweden. Great-Grandma Johnson’s maiden name was Ramsett. Now, does that name sound familiar? They came to this country when Martin (our grandfather) was about two years old.  (Discovered that Martin's father's name is H. L. Johnson)

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My Father's Parents:

Grandmother Johnson:

Sitting next to Great-Grandma Johnson is Bertha (our Grandmother). Her friends all called her Birdie. I believe her maiden name was Wright. She worked for several years as a school teacher. She mostly taught physical education. She was in her late twenties when she met and married Martin. He was probably her last chance for marriage and family. In those days, you were considered an old maid if you were not married by the time you were twenty-five. Because of this, she overlooked Martin’s Swedish heritage. She looked down on people of Swedish heritage. It wasn't’t until our father was an adult that he learned to be proud of his heritage.

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Wright Ramsett Johnson:

On Birdie’s lap is of course the star of this story, Wright Ramsett Johnson. This, incidentally, is not the earliest known picture of him. I have one of him and Birdie when he is an infant. Birdie was lucky to have had him. She had had several miscarriages and at least one stillbirth before Wright was born. As a child, he also had some health problems so he was pampered by his mother and probably by everyone else as well. Later, they adopted a little girl named Mary Lou.

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Grandfather Johnson:

Martin is sitting next to Birdie and Wright. He was a very tall man. He came to this country when he was about two years old. His last name at that time was Johansen, but his father adopted the Americanized version of Johnson shortly after arriving in this country to better fit in as many immigrants did. He worked for many years on the railroad. Most of the stories I remember about him have to do with his latest get rich quick scheme of which he had several. Dad told me once that Martin must have made and lost several fortunes.

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Alma Elizabeth Johnson:

Starting at the left in the back row is Alma Elizabeth Johnson. She is Martin’s sister. She never married. Alma worked for many years at Ebenezer Home. I assume that it was some kind of medical facility like a nursing home of today but I am not sure, nor am I sure what she did there. I have a silver tray that is engraved that was given to her when she retired. It states, "Miss Alma Johnson with thanks for faithful service at Ebenezer Home.

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Hjelmer and Effel Johnson (& son):

Next to Alma is Hjelmer. Hjelmer is Martin’s brother and next to him is his wife Effel. Yes the spellings are correct. I do not know very much about them.

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Wesley Johnson:

Next to Effel is Effel and Hjelmer’s son Wesley. He was Wright’s cousin an interesting character. He became involved in banking as a young man. At some point he moved with his family to California. I am unsure exactly when that occurred. He and his wife had two sons that still live in California. Wright became reacquainted with Wesley the year before Wright died. Wesley was able to share and instill in Wright a pride of his Swedish heritage that Birdie had done her best to tarnish.

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Notes From My Sister, Anne:

That is everyone in this photo. Once we get the scanner hooked back up, I will try to send you other photos. You may also be interested to pull out the genealogy that I gave to you one Christmas about Birdie’s family. They date back almost to the Mayflower or at least to colonial times. The family moved west and settled in Indiana for a generation or two before some of them headed north to Minnesota. You should have all that information already.

Try to get mother to start writing about her family and her experiences as a child. I am not having much luck. By the way, how are the plans for a family reunion for next summer coming. Is there anything that I can do to help?

I hope you enjoy all of this!

Love,
    Anne

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This page was created by Brian Johnson 1998


Last Updated February 2010.

This page has been slightly reformatted and preserved in memory of its creator and my brother.

This page is maintained by Senex Magister
(aka Bruce Johnson)

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