My Genealogy Hound

Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., 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.

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WILLIAM D. JOHNSON, late a prominent and very wealthy resident of Miami Township, Greene County, departed this life at his homestead June 3, 1875. He was born July 10, 1808 in Mason County, Ky., where he was given a practical education in the common school and subsequently occupied himself as a teacher. On the 10th of January, 1834, he was united in marriage with Miss Hannah M. Brewer, and soon afterward was employed as a dry-goods salesman in Mr. Mill’s store. He came to Ohio about 1828. His first business enterprise was as a merchant at Mad River and later he rented the Hertzler mill, which he conducted successfully for two years. Finally he purchased the Clifton mill at Clifton, which he operated for a number of years successfully and then retired from active labor.

Mr. Johnson was a man of good business abilities, well informed and was frequently selected to act as administrator in the settlement of estates. He was administrator of the Knott estate and was settling the affairs of the Hertzler estate at the time of his death. For a number of years he officiated as County Commissioner. The Presbyterian Church found in him one of its chief pillars, he serving as an Elder for years. He maintained a warm interest in Sunday-school work and frequently engaged as a teacher. Politically, he was a sound Republican. He was owner of a farm in Miami Township whereon he effected good improvements and which under his wise management became the source of a handsome income. He was successful in the accumulation of property and at his death left his widow with a fortune of over $100,000 besides $50,000 devoted to charitable purposes. His parents were James and Clemency (Dunavon) Johnson, natives of Kentucky and who spent their last years in Ohio. There was born to them a family of eleven children.

Mrs. Hannah M. (Brewer) Johnson was born in Lewis County, Ky., July 20, 1811, and was the youngest child of John and Rachel (Dunavon) Brewer, who were natives of Maryland, where they were married and whence they removed to Kentucky at an early day. The Brewer family was of English descent and the paternal grandparents of Mrs. Johnson were natives of England.

After removing to Kentucky Mr. Brewer purchased the old homestead of his wife’s father, near Orangeburg, Mason County, and there with his estimable wife he spent the remainder of his days. The mother died in 1834, after the decease of her husband. They were the parents of thirteen children of whom Hannah M. is the only survivor. She received only limited educational advantages and was reared to womanhood under the parental roof, receiving careful home training and becoming thorough mistress of all useful household duties. Of her union with Mr. Johnson there were born no children, but Mrs. Johnson has taken and reared several little ones, bringing them up as her own.

Mrs. Johnson like her husband, united with the Presbyterian Church early in life. Since her husband’s death she has had charge of all the property and has managed it in a remarkable wise and judicious manner. She gives liberally to the poor and unfortunate and is always willing and anxious to assist those who will try to help themselves. As a prominent member of the Woman’s Missionary Society she, with her large resources, is able to do much good. She has been quite an extensive traveler, and keeps herself posted upon the important happenings all over the world. Although approaching the seventy-ninth year of her age, she is remarkably active, with a clear, bright mind, and bids fair to live and attend to her business for many years to come.

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This family biography is one of the many biographies included in Portrait and Biographical Album of Greene and Clark Counties, Ohio published by Chapman Bros., in 1890. 

View additional Greene County, Ohio family biographies here: Greene County, Ohio Biographies

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