Page 699-701, transcribed by Carolyn Ward from History of Butler County, Kansas by Vol. P. Mooney. Standard Publishing Company, Lawrence, Kan.: 1916. ill.; 894 pgs.


Peter Johnson, now deceased, was a Butler county pioneer, and one of the successful farmers and stockmen whose thrift, industry and foresight have built up a reputation for Butler county as one of the foremost stock counties of the State. Peter Johnson was a native of Denmark,


born at Easter Keeping, Denmark, October 30, 1841. He was left an orphan at a very early age, his mother dying when he was about two months old, and his father died a few years later. He grew to manhood in his native land and for a time served in the Danish army, and in 1867 immigrated to America and first went to Oshkosh, Wis., where he worked for a man by the name of Powell for two years. In 1869 he came to Kansas and for a time worked in the mines at Burlingame, Osage county, and while there he met William Jones and John and Henry Peters, and they decided to equip themselves with a traveling outfit and look for suitable government land for future homes.

Mr. Johnson bought a yoke of oxen and the other three men bought the wagon, and with this pioneer outfit they drove through to Butler county in 1870, and preempted claims in Prospect and Rosalia townships in this county. Their original intention was to get adjoining claims, but this they were unable to do. The first claim upon which Mr. Johnson settled was taken away from him by early day "claim jumpers." In those days it was not considered good judgment to argue over a little matter, like 160 acres of land, with a bad man who held a good gun. The next place on which Mr. Johnson located, proved to have no other claimants, and he settled where the present Johnson homestead is located in Prospect township. He walked to Humboldt, the nearest land office, which was about 100 miles distant, to file on his claim and he carried his shoes most of the way in order to save them, for shoes were scarce in Kansas in those days. He engaged in farming with his ox team, and kept the team for a number of years.

During the first few years in Butler county, Eureka was the nearest point at which he could get any milling done, and he frequently hauled a load of grain to the mill there with his ox team, the trip requiring two days. He worked hard and prospered in spite of bad years and other discouraging features of early life on the plains. He added to his original holding and at the time of his death owned 800 acres which now constitutes the family homestead. He was a successful stock raiser as well as general farmer, and was quite extensively interested in raising horses of a very high class. He was a great lover of the Morgan type, and bred and raised a great many of them, and he kept his cattle up to a high standard, the Red Durham being his favorite. Mr. Johnson was what might be called a successful and high class farmer and stockman, whom many others might do well to emulate. He took a keen interest in local affairs and served as treasurer of Prospect township, and was also school treasurer. Politically he was a Republican. He died January 16, 1903.

On March 7, 1882 Peter Johnson and Miss Lidia Heape were united in marriage. She was a native of Tamaroa, Perry county, Illinois, and a daughter of Levy and Lizzie (Knight) Heape, both natives of Somersetshire, England. The Heape family removed from Perry to Jackson county, Illinois, and in 1879 removed to Montgomery county, Kansas,


where they remained about six months when the parents went to Nowata, Indian Territory, where the father died in 1897, and where the mother now resides. Mrs. Johnson did not go to Indian Territory with her parents, but remained in Montgomery county, Kansas, about three years, when she came to Butler county, and was later married to Mr. Johnson, as above stated. To Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, have been born five children, as follows: Anna, married M. P. Hanson; H. P., lives in Boone county, Illinois; N. W., lives on a part of the homestead farm in Prospect township; Olaf R., Walter, OkIa; and O. B., on the home place with his mother.

Since her husband's death in 1903, Mrs. Johnson has conducted the farm, which consists of 800 acres of productive land, under a high state of cultivation. She specializes in white faced cattle, and usually has on hand about a hundred head. Mrs. Johnson has also met with unusual success in raising corn, having raised as high as eighty-five bushels per acre, and she, also, ranks among the successful alfalfa growers of Butler county. Mrs. Johnson is a Democrat and takes a keen interest in State and National politics, as well as in local affairs. She is a member of the school board, and belongs to the Enterprise Grange. Her husband was also active in the Grange Lodge, during his life time. Mrs. Johnson is recognized as one of the capable business women of, not only Butler county, but Kansas.

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