My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in the book,  Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company.  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.

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HON. ERIC JOHNSON was born in Sweden July 15, 1838. In 1846 he moved with his parents to America, settling in Henry county, Ill. September 14, 1861, he enlisted as a private in Company D, Fifty-seventh Illinois regiment volunteers. At the organization of the company a month later in Camp Bureau, near Princeton, Ill., he was elected first lieutenant. The first battle engaged in was in the capture of Fort Donelson and after the battle of Shiloh he was promoted to captain. He resigned in September, 1862, upon the recommendation of regimental surgeon, on account of sickness.

Captain Johnson married December 31, 1863, taking for a life companion Miss Mary O. Troil, who died April 23, 1890. This union was blessed with eight children, five of whom are now living, viz. — Axel T., Sadie O., Julia C., Eric Sixtus and Earnest G., aged respectively twenty-one, nineteen, sixteen, thirteen, and ten.

Captain Johnson entered the journalistic field in 1864 as editor and proprietor of the Galva Illinois Union, launching upon the sea of journalism in 1869. The Illinois Swede, at Galva, Illinois, which was afterwards changed to Nya Verlden, and moved to Chicago in 1871, and is today the leading Swedish paper in America, being now published under the name of Svenska Tribunen.

Captain Johnson never had the advantage of any higher grade of education than a few winters in the pioneer district schools of Illinois from 1849 to 1854. He cast his first presidential vote in 1860, for Abraham Lincoln and voted for him again in 1864. In 1868 he voted for U. S. Grant; in 1872, he voted for Horace Greeley; in 1876, he lost his vote for president by a short residence in Kansas; in 1880, he voted for Garfield, renewing his allegiance to the republican party, but he has never been a strong party man since 1872.

In 1871 he was journal clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives.

In July, 1885, he became a resident of Nebraska, and for one year edited the Stromsburg Republican. Moving to Holdrege in July, 1886, he started the Holdrege Citizen, remaining on that paper until December, 1887. In April, 1888, he took charge of the Holdrege Progress, of which he has been the editor and business manager up to date. The Progress has for several years been the official paper of the county, and has an actual circulation of one thousand and one hundred. It is now published by Eric Johnson & Son. This same firm commenced, April 16, 1890, the publication of Nykterhetsbasunen, a paper printed in the Swedish language devoted to prohibition, and has a circulation of five thousand.

In the fall of 1888, Captain Johnson was elected to the legislature from Phelps county, as an independent candidate, by a plurality of one hundred and forty-seven. T. M. Hopwood was the regular republican nominee and James J. Rhea the democratic nominee, the county giving Harrison a majority over all of six hundred and twenty-five votes. Johnson’s career in the legislature was so acceptable to the people of Phelps county, irrespective of party, that upon his return he was given a surprise at his residence by a large number of his constituents, many of whom had worked and voted against him when a candidate, and presented him with a purse of money and an elegant gold watch, bearing the following inscription: “From the people of Phelps county to Captain Eric Johnson for honest and faithful work as legislator in 1889.”

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company. 

View additional Phelps County, Nebraska family biographies here: Phelps County, Nebraska Biographies

View a historic 1912 map of Phelps County, Nebraska

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