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Wayne County, Ohio
History & Genealogy


Biographical Record of Wayne & Holmes Co.
Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co.

(Contributed by Sharon Wick)



  ADAM FOREST JOHNSON, a well-known farmer of Wooster Township, was born in Salt Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio, Mar. 19, 1856.  His grandfather, James Johnson, a native of Pennsylvania, married Mary White, and in 1816 they came to Wayne County, settling in Salt Creek Township on a piece of wild land, where the sound of the white man's ax had never been heard.  Here they died, the grandfather in 1869, at the age of seventy years, and the grandmother in 1884, at the age of eighty-four.  Four children, three sons and one daughter, were born to this couple, two of whom are yet living: St. Clair Johnson, in Salt Creek Township, Wayne County, and Mrs. Ruth Grant, in Stark County, Ohio.  One son, William Johnson, father of Adam F., was born in Fayette County, Penn., in 1815, and remained on the home farm until he was twenty-one years of age, at which time he married Mary Hatfield, a native of Wayne County, and daughter of Robert and Nancy Hatfield.  In 1868 our subject's parents removed to Wooster Township, where they spent the remainder of their lives.  They were the parents of ten children, as follows: James W., who was for three years a soldier, and is now living in Salt Creek Township, this county; Nancy M., deceased; Ruth E., residing in Wooster; Margaret L., now Mrs. Robert Mackey; Catherine, now Mrs. B. C. Smith, of Fredericksburgh; Jennie, living in Wooster; Adam F.; Lucinda B., a teacher in Wooster; Homer E., deceased, and Ezra D., a resident of Indiana.  The parents of this family died, the father in 1873, at the age of fifty-eight years, and the mother in 1883, at the age of sixty-two, both members of Apple Creek Presbyterian Church, then of Fredericksburgh, later of Wooster, of which church the family are also members.  William Johnson passed a busy life, and did much toward the development of the county.  He won success solely by his own exertions, and without help from any adventitious circumstances.  Politically he was first a Whig, and afterward, on the formation of the party, an active Republican.
     Adam F. Johnson has most of his life made his home near his parents' place, his sister keeping house for him part of the time.  After some five years' residence on the "lower farm," he removed to the parental homestead, where he has since remained.  In 1885 he was married to Miss Laura J. Searight, a native of Fredericksburgh, Wayne County, and a daughter of Gilbert and Matilda J. (McCullough) Searight.  Mr. and Mrs. Adam F. Johnson have one child, named Adam Forest.  The parents are members of the Presbyterian Church, and in politics Mr. Johnson is a Republican.  He has met with success in life, and socially is highly esteemed and warmly beloved by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.
     Gilbert Searight, father of Mrs. Adam F. Johnson, was a native of Salt Creek Township, Wayne County, Ohio, and was born on the farm on which he died.  Here he grew to manhood, and in 1849 was married to Matilda J., daughter of James and Sarah (McCall) McCullough, natives of Holmes County, Ohio. Dec. 2, 1879, Mrs. Gilbert Searight died, aged nearly forty-seven years, and the mother of ten children, viz.: Ohio J., living in Fredericksburgh; William A., in Carlisle, Penn.; John F., deceased; Leonard M., in Cook City, Montana; Laura J., now Mrs. Adam F. Johnson; Lucinda F., now Mrs. H. C. Bishop, in Mount Vernon, Knox County; Sadie M. and Frank D., at home; Annie D. died iu 1875; Gilbert S. died in October, 1888.  For his second wife Mr. Gilbert Searight married, June 30, 1885, Miss Nancy Haley, and on July 7, 1888, he departed this life, at the age of sixty-nine years.  He was a stanch Republican, and a member and deacon of the Presbyterian Church of Fredericksburgh.  Before there were any churches in the locality services were held in his house, and he gave the land for the church.  His widow, Mrs. Nancy Searight, continues to live at the old home place, at Fredericksburgh.
     William Searight, father of Gilbert Searight, was a native of Carlisle, Cumberland County, Penn., born Oct. 17, 1779, the son of a Revolutionary soldier, who came from Ireland in about 1760, settling in Carlisle, Penn.  William Searight married, in Carlisle, Miss Jane Johnston, and in 1811 they removed to Salt Creek Township, this county, where they settled on the 460-acre tract he had entered shortly before, and which now constitutes the home farm of the family.  Here they endured all the trials and hardships of pioneer life, and for a long time were the only family in Salt Creek Township, their nearest neighbors being residents of that part of Holmes County now known as Prairie Township.  William Searight built, in 1813, the first saw-mill on Salt Creek, a short distance from the residence of Gilbert Searight.   William was a man of large physical proportions, weighing 300 pounds.  He died July 16, 1846, and his wife in February, 1848.  The paternal and maternal grandparents of Mrs. Adam F. Johnson came to this country together (from Pennsylvania), her maternal grandparents settling in Holmes County, becoming the nearest neighbors of William Searight, and the first blockhouse in the country was built there.

Source:  Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne County, Ohio Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1889 -
  J. R. JOHNSON, farmer, is a member of one of the representative families of Wayne County.  His father, Henry Johnson, was a native of Washington County, Penn., and in his boyhood went with his father to Stark County, Ohio, where he lived until eighteen years of age.  He was married in that county to Catherine Gingry, a daughter of John Gingry, of Pennsylvania. In 1836 they came to Wayne County, and settled in the northeastern part of the county.
     J. R. Johnson was the eldest of a family of ten sons and three daughters.  He was born in Stark County, Ohio, Aug. 7, 1833, and was but three years old when his parents moved to Wayne County.  Being the eldest of a large family, his services were early required on the farm, and in his youth he acquired habits of industry that have been of lasting benefit to him.  He has a pleasant home, his farm containing 106 acres of valuable land, and his improvements being among the best in the county.  Mr. Johnson was married, in 1858, to Margaret Winkler, and to them were born two children:  William C. and Effie (now Mrs. Summers).  The mother died, and the father afterward married Martha O'Hail, of York County, Penn.  They have had a family of seven children: Mary E., John W., Benjamin F., Charles Wesley (deceased), James L., Morris and Hugh Jacob.  In politics Mr. Johnson affiliates with the Republican party.  He is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Source:  Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne County, Ohio Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1889 -
  MATTHEW JOHNSON and Sarah, his wife, settled in Wooster in 1817, having come from Beaver County, Penn.  They were two of the first members of the old Seceder Church, now called United Presbyterian.  He was born Mar. 20, 1785, and died June 17, 1853.  Mrs. Johnson was born May 20, 1787, and died Feb. 5, 1877, a remarkably smart and interesting old lady, loved and respected by all who knew her. They had a family of six sons and one daughter: John, Matthew, James, Elias S., William, Perry and Belinda, the hitter of whom married Thomas Power and resided in Wooster until her death, in l882.  The sons were all active business men, none now living, James, the last surviving one, dying iu Wooster in 1888.
Source:  Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne County, Ohio Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1889 -
Page 593
  SINCLAIR JOHNSON, a son of James and Mary Johnson, was born Feb. 23, 1824, on the farm now owned by him in Salt Creek Township, Wayne Co., Ohio.  His grandfather, Thomas Johnson, previous to the War of 1812, moved from near Baltimore, Md., to Fayette Co., Penn., where he remained several years, and then came to Wayne County, arriving Apr. 9, 1816; he died in a fit of apoplexy on the road southwest of Dalton, this county.  He was the father of five children, three sons and two daughters, all now deceased.
     James Johnson, father of the subject of this sketch, and also a native of Maryland, removed from there to Fayette County, Penn., where he married Mary, daughter of John White, of Uniontown, same State.  Here they located for a brief time, and then came to Salt Creek Township, Wayne Co., Ohio, where they settled on the farm now owned by Sinclair JohnsonJames Johnson died Oct. 26, 1870, and his widow in 1885.  Their children were William W., Isaac S., Ruth and Sinclair.  Of these, William W. married, and located in Salt Creek Township, Wayne County (he died at his late residence, near Wooster); Isaac S. married, and located in Salt Creek Township, where he was engaged in agricultural pursuits, and died; Ruth married W. C. Grant, of Stark County, Ohio.
     Sinclair Johnson, the subject of this memoir, when a child of eight months was stricken with fever, remaining ill for a period of three days, when he apparently fully recovered, his mother leaving him at play upon the floor while she engaged in spinning.  His screams called her attention, when she discovered that the child could not draw his limbs after him, and found that he had lost the use of his lower limbs.  He, however, retained his mental and physical vigor, and persevered in securing an education, receiving an elementary training in the schools of the county.  In 1851 he graduated from Jefferson College, and became a professional and eminently successful teacher, having taught at Fredericksburgh, Middletown, Shelby, Apple Creek, and in other schools of the county.
     On Mar. 1, 1860, he married Lucinda B. Hatfield, and they have four children, viz.: Mary E. (now Mrs. Amos B. Derr, of Franklin Township), James A., Isaac A. and Sarah I. Cuinnugham, of Valparaiso,  Ind.  In1880 Mr. Johnson was again visited with an affliction, a stroke of palsy, which necessitated the relinquishment of active business life.  Mr. Johnson is a Prohibitionist, and both he and his wife are members of the Presbyterian Church, and he has been a ruling elder a number of years in his church at Apple Creek, Ohio.  In his affliction he feels that "He who noteth even the fall of a sparrow must have some purpose in the fate of one like him."  Mr. Johnson has been reasonably successful financially, and is much esteemed by a large circle of acquaintances.

Source:  Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne County, Ohio Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1889 - Page 374
  SOLOMON H. JOHNSON was born in that part of Richland County (Vermillion Township) which is now Ashland County, Ohio, Apr. 12, 1829, and is a son of John E. and Sarah (Harmon) Johnson, the former a native of New Jersey, the latter of Pennsylvania.  Other members of their family are William E. Johnson, in Canaan Township, Wayne County; Thomas Henry, in Medina County; John E., in Clay City, Ind., and Abraham, in Gratiot County, Mich.  Our subject was reared on the homestead farm, receiving but a limited education, means being slender.  He remained at home until the age of eighteen years, when he worked for two years at carpentering.  In 1848 he came to Wayne County, Ohio, and for one year found employment as a carpenter.  In 1849 he rented a farm for six years, in Milton Township, and then purchased a farm in Medina County, Ohio, which he carried on for eight years; then purchased a farm in Medina County, Ohio, which he carried on for eight years; then purchased a farm at Sterling, and in 1871 he moved to his present place in Milton Township, Wayne County.  In addition to farming Mr. Johnson has followed the occupation of an auctioneer for twenty-five years, with an average of fifty-five sales per year.  He is popular as an auctioneer in four or five of the surrounding counties.
     Nov. 20, 1849, Mr. Johnson married Rosana, daughter of John and Sarah Lance, of Milton Township, Wayne County.  She died July 12, 1866, leaving eight children: Sarah, wife of Barnhart Bartholomew, of Medina County, Ohio (has three children): Wesley, Irvin and Charles); Polly, wife of C. G. Beesey, of Abilene, Dickinson Co., Ks. (has two children:  Fay and Ray); John O. (deceased); Casper, in Milton Township, married to Emma daughter of J. H. Ruggles, of Creston, Ohio, who died, and he afterward married Mamie, daughter of H. P. Fassig, of Medina County, Ohio, and they have two children: Nellie and Carl;  Hettie, wife of George Spooner, of Gratiot County, Mich., has one child, an infant; Rosana, Alice Tiola, Solomon J.  In 1872 Mr. Johnson married his present wife, Harriet, daughter of John M. and Elizabeth Smith, of Milton Township, Wayne County, and by her has six children, as follows:  Thurman, Corwin, Thomas, David, Belle and FrankMr. Johnson is an ardent Democrat in politics, and has always taken an active part in the affairs of his township.  He has served as constable, supervisor, school director and assessor, and at the present time (1888) he is one of the township trustees.  He is a member of Seville Lodge, No. 74, F. & A. M., and of Seville Council, No. 474, R. A., also of Sterling Lodge, No. 173, K. P.  He is a member of the Untied Brethren Church in Christ at Sterling, Wayne  Co., Ohio.

Source:  Commemorative Biographical Record of Wayne County, Ohio Publ. Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co. 1889 - Page 25




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