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History of Adair
County, Iowa, 1915.

Biographical.  Volume 2.


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R. L. Johnson.

R. L. Johnson became one of the pioneer residents of Adair county and for many years was actively identified with agricultural pursuits.  Even after he put aside the work of cultivating the land he engaged in the stock business for a time but at the present writing is living retired, enjoying a well earned rest.  He was born in Highland county, Ohio, December 16, 1844, a son of Ashley and Mary (Heiston) Johnson, who were also natives of the Buckeye state.  The year 1848 witnessed their arrival in Iowa, at which time they took up their abode in Van Buren county, where they lived in a log cabin.  After six years spent in that locality they became residents of Warren county, Iowa, where the father purchased a farm and with characteristic energy began its further development and improvement.  He lived thereon until October, 1884, when his wife died, after which he returned to Ohio, where he passed away in December, 1885.

R. L. Johnson is one of the six survivors of a family of nine children.  His youthful days were passed upon the home place, he being but four years of age when the family came to Iowa.  His time was divided between the work of the school room and the labors of the farm until the Civil war, when he enlisted for service in the Union army, becoming a member of Company C, Forty-eighth Iowa Infantry.  He went to the front in response to one of the later calls for troops and served until the close of the war, being mustered out at Davenport in 1865.

When military operations in the south had ceased Mr. Johnson returned to his home in Warren county, Iowa, where he resided until 1868, when he removed to Adair county, purchasing a farm in Orient township.  It was then a tract of raw prairie but he soon turned the first furrows upon the place and converted it into richly productive fields.  He hauled his lumber from Des Moines in order to build his house and year after year he carefully tilled the soil and continued to improve his place until 1894, when he retired from active farm life and removed to Orient.  He remained in business, however, as a buyer and shipper of stock until a recent date but at the present time he is living retired, the fruits of his former toil supplying all his needs and also bringing him many of the comforts of life.

On October 6, 1870, Mr. Johnson was united in marriage to Miss Ada Dillow, a native of Dayton, Ohio, and a daughter fo Reuben and Mary (Rife) Dillow, natives of Ohio and Pennsylvania respectively.  They were married in the former state and the mother died there in May, 1855.  The father removed with his family to Adair county in 1860, settling on a farm in Orient township.  He was the first settler in that township and lived there for six years before any other resident had penetrated within its borders.  Deer were very numerous when he first came and other kinds of game were to be found in abundance.  There were many wild animals and all of the conditions of pioneer life were prevalent.  He at once began to develop and improve his land and lived to convert it from a raw prairie tract into highly cultivated fields, from which he annually gathered good crops.  Upon that place he lived until his death, which occurred in 1898.  By his first marriage he had five children, but Mrs. Johnson is the only one who survives.  After the death of her mother the father married again, his second union being with Miss Eliza Welsh, by whom he had six sons, four of whom are living.

To Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have been born nine children:  Clara M., who is a graduate of Drake University at Des Moines and is now the wife of Dr. Eugene Tinnsman;  Stella E., the wife of Charles Myers, of Creston, Iowa;  Albert E., a resident farmer of Adair county;  Rella P., who died at the age of one year and nine months;  Reason E., who is now engaged in the banking business at Colorado Springs, Colorado;  William E., who is also a banker of Colorado Springs;  Bessie M., the wife of G. W> McCracken, of Orient township;  Walter W., also living in Colorado Springs;  and Florence A., the wife of H. L. Augustine, who is engaged in the lumber business at Maloy, Iowa.

Mr. Johnson gives his political allegiance to the democratic party.  He has served as school director and as justice of the peace but has never cared to hold public office, as he feels that the pursuits of private life are in themselves abundantly worthy his best efforts.  His wife is a member of the Congregational church and both are representatives of old pioneer families of this state and have long been witnesses of the growth and progress of Iowa.



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