My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Monroe County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

* * * *

Capt. Benjamin F. Johnson is a member of the general mercantile firm of B. F. & G. F. Johnson, they being also engaged in cotton dealing at Clarendon. This firm is one of the most successful and enterprising in Eastern Arkansas, and the senior member of the firm, our subject, was born in La Fayette County, Miss., in 1839, being a son of Benjamin J. and Harriet T. (Owen) Johnson, the former a Georgian, born in 1802, and the latter a Virginian, born in 1818. The nuptials of their marriage were celebrated in Maury County, Tenn., and soon after they removed to La Fayette County, Miss., coming to Monroe County, Ark., in 1848, and settling near Cotton Plant. Here they improved a good farm, but becoming a little dissatisfied with his location, he, in 1859, went to Texas. He soon returned, however, to Monroe County, and here spent the rest of his days, dying in 1869, a successful planter and one of the leading pioneers of the county. For some years he was a leading commissioner of what was then St. Francis County, and, as he was enterprising in his views and honest and upright in character, he had many warm admirers and friends. He and wife were Baptists, and he was a son of Henry Johnson, a native of Ireland who, when but sixteen years of age, came with a brother to the United States. He served in the Revolutionary War and afterward made his home and was married in Virginia, moving thence to Georgia, but his death occurred in Alabama, he having settled where Decatur is now situated. The maternal grandfather, John W. Owen, was born in Scotland and being of an enterprising and adventurous disposition he emigrated to America when a young man and also participated in the American Revolution. He spent many years of his life in the Old Dominion, but his declining years were spent on a farm in Fayette County, Tenn. Capt. Benjamin F. Johnson lost his mother in 1854, and in 1858 his father married again, having one daughter by his last wife, and three sons and two daughters by his first. Benjamin F. is the only child living born to his parents, and many of the important years of his life were spent on a farm, but although engaged in the monotonous duties of farm work he obtained a fair education in the schools near his home. September 13, 1859, witnessed his marriage to Miss Jane E., a daughter of William A. and Mary Pickens, who were born, reared and married in Tennessee, and moved from there to Mississippi, thence to Monroe County, Ark., in 1858, both parents dying here in 1860, having been farmers and worthy citizens of the county. Mrs. Johnson is a native of Tennessee, and two years after her marriage her husband left her to join Company B, First Arkansas Infantry, and during a service of about three years he was in the fights of Pea Ridge, Big Black, Richmond, Murfreesboro and many others. On account of failing health he was furloughed and remained at home about three months, but soon recovered his wonted energies, and in 1862 returned to the army, becoming one of Price’s men, and was with him while on his raid through Missouri. He was paroled at Wittsburg and returned to farm life, but in 1869 also engaged in merchandising at Crockett’s Bluff. Owing to the dullness of trade he moved to Clarendon in April, 1869, and began business after settling in Clarendon, continuing until 1874, when misfortunes overtook him and all his accumulations of years were swept away. He then went to Helena, Ark., where he worked for wages a few years, and by dint of economy and many self-denials he had accumulated sufficient property by 1878 to permit him to again embark in mercantile pursuits on a small scale. Owing to the many warm friends he had previously made in Clarendon and to his honesty, industry and strict attention to the details of his business, his patronage has steadily increased and he now does an annual business of about $90,000 in Clarendon, besides a business of $25,000 in Indian Bay. His nephew, G. F. Johnson, whom he has reared from a lad of thirteen years, is his partner and is an intelligent and wide-awake young business man. Mr. Johnson owns about 3,000 acres of land, with about 1,700 acres under cultivation, all of which he has earned since 1878. He is a Democrat, a member of the A. F. & A. M., the K. of H. and the I. O. O. F. He and wife are worthy members of the Presbyterian Church. They have no offspring, but have raised and educated seven orphan children, one girl and six boys, all of them steady and of good habits. One of the boys will study law, another medicine, one civil engineering and still another one will embark in stock- raising out west. G. F. Johnson is his partner, and the sixth and last one, died just as he was in his eighteenth year. The names of these children are James B. Benson, Jasper W. Benson, Frank Miller, G. F. Johnson, William H. Johnson, E. B. Montgomery and Miss Mattie Lee Benson.

* * * *

This family biography is one of 86 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Monroe County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Monroe County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

To view additional Monroe County, Arkansas family biographies, click here

Use the links at the top right of this page to search or browse thousands of other family biographies.