Biography - Nels Johnson

NELS O. G. JOHNSON was born in Mollegarden, Skane, Sweden, Jan. 10, 1844, but grew up in Maglarod in that province, whither his father removed shortly afterward. Both parents died there in recent years. The elder Johnson was a merchant in his younger days and in later years operated a large farm, now owned by his youngest son. Mr. N. O. G. Johnson's mother, Bengta Pehrson, was the daughter of Nels Pehrson of Skeinge, Skane, who owned a large dairy farm and also traded in grain and iron. The son was educated in private and public schools and grew to manhood in Sweden, which he did not leave until 1869. In May of that year he landed in New York, proceeding thence direct to Galesburg where he has been a resident since that time.
After his arrival in Galesburg, Mr. Johnson farmed for the first three years, then engaged in business as a partner in the grocery firm of Clarkson and Johnson. Then after nine years, the partnership was dissolved, Mr. Johnson engaged in milling in partnership with a Mr. Anderson. The Anderson and Johnson mill was profitably operated by them for a number of years; after that Mr. Johnson made heavy real estate investments and has been dealing in realty to the present time. He is treasurer and one of the directors of Illinois-Canadian Land Co. and prominently connected with other commercial interests, being director and vicepresident of the Bank of Galesburg and sustaining the same relations to the Commercial Union.
His prominence and influence as a citizen and Republican has never induced him to seek public preferment. To the local Swedish Lutheran Church he has given his services for a number of years as a trustee.
The liberal education afforded by travel Mr. Johnson has enjoyed in full measure. By extensive tours in the United States, Canada and Mexico he has thoroughly informed himself on conditions in these countries, besides what he has learned of old world conditions by travels in England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.
Mr. Johnson has been twice married. His first wife was Sophia Anderson of Galesburg, whom he married in 1878 and lost by death in 1882. There were in this union two children, Blenda Amelia, now Mrs. Charles E. Johnson of Galesburg, and Arthur Newton. On June 11, 1890, Mr. Johnson took for his second wife Miss Anna Bennett, of Galesburg, born May 6, 1865, daughter of Bengt P. Bennett. To them have been born: Frances Evangeline, born 1892; Ruth Genevieve, born 1896; Aldis Bennett, born 1900; Craig Russell, born 1901; Vivian, born 1904, and a daughter who died in infancy. The family residence is at 527 E. Main st.

Extracted 17 Sep 2016 by Norma Hass from the History of the Swedes of Illinois, published in 1908 by Engberg-Holmberg Publishing Company, Part 2, Knox County, pages 30-48.

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