Thursday, November 12, 2015

John August Johnson - Part 4 - Alamo and a Spider

John and Ida raised their family on the homestead in Delmore Township. John farmed the land; planting wheat and oats on some of the sections and raising cattle and hogs. He was instrumental in bringing the farmer's union to McPherson County and his name can be found in many McPherson newspaper articles as he helped to unite his fellow farmers to consider their situation.
His grandchildren remember John as an interesting man to be around and listen to. He enjoyed talking to his neighbors and had many friends throughout the county. He never drove a car and walked miles around the area visiting farms and getting to know the farmers in his township. There were so many John Johnsons in the county that people began to give them each nicknames to keep them straight in conversations. John August gained the name, "By-Gosh Johnson" as that was one of his favorite phrases. People who knew him say they remember him wearing a white and blue pinstriped suit and straw hat with a black band when he went calling. He always carried a cane on his walks and he was seen jauntily walking the county roads swinging that cane many times.
As their children reached adulthood, John and Ida began to think about moving. Some of the farmland they had bought years back was now producing crops and oil. They decided to move to Texas and bought a fruit and vegetable farm seven miles North of Alamo; near the Mexican border. In about 1919, they left their Kansas farm in the hands of Arthur and his new wife, Ida, and moved to their second farm. Although they never lived in Kansas again, they made trips back to the homestead to visit and help with decisions involving the farm and land holdings. Emil and Edith never married. Edith stayed with her parents and helped them in Texas. Emil spent time on both farms, helping out as he could.
Both John and Ida suffered from arthritis as they aged. The Texas farm never truly flourished as they had hoped as the area went through several dry spells. There are stories of a fire that burned down most of the Texas farmhouse. It was rebuilt the next year. Sometime during these years, John was bitten by a black widow spider. After recovering from the bite, he discovered his arthritis was much improved. His son, Arthur, recalled in an interview that John never wore glasses after the bite healed as he found his vision was nearly perfect.   
John died 7 Feb 1940 at the age of 92 in the city of Alamo, Hidalgo County, Texas after a short battle with Bronchial Pneumonia. He is buried in Roselawn Cemetery in the town of McAllen, Hidalgo County, Texas. Ida sold the farm in Texas and she and Edith moved to a smaller home nearby. Ida died in 1952 at the age of 86. Carl Emil signed the death certificates for both John and Ida.

 This is an old family photograph of John and Ida with four of their children and families. They sit in the middle of their descendants. My Grandpa, Arthur Johnson, sits first from the right with his hat in his lap. John, dressed in a straw hat, dress shirt, tie and suit vest; seemingly clothed as everyone remembers. He has a baby grandson on his knees and another one leaning on him. His arms are wrapped around both of them and his eyes stare straight into the camera. The photographer captured the genuine Johan August Johannesson that day.

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