Charles Henry Johnson

Charles Henry Johnson, a Civil War veteran, who with his wife and two small daughters, May and Emma, moved from Maine to Fargo, North Dakota in 1880.  In 1882 his wife died and his daughters lived for a time with relatives in the Grandin-Kelso area north of Fargo.  The Fargo Fire of 1884, which was so disastrous to so many including himself, was probably the reason for his move to the new town of Cooperstown.

In Cooperstown he worked at the carpenter trade.  He built houses, sold them, and did very well for himself.  He remarried and had five children.  He started a new venture, which proved to be a total disaster.  He took his family and moved to the Willow Lake area and here he started a mercantile business and a blacksmith shop.  He called this new little inland town "Willow."  The next years were drouth years and crop failure after crop failure finally 'did the little would-be town of Willow in'.

The Johnson family then moved back to Cooperstown and back to the carpenter trade, building and selling homes to recoup his fortune.  One building he built still stands in the same place.  It was the Larson Store for many years.  He was a partner of Albert Larson for a short time when the store was first started.  He then became County Judge and held that office until his death in 1899.  So important did he consider the job to be that on his deathbed he sent for C. C. Purinton so that he could be sworn in by him and the County would not be left without a Judge.

May and Emma Johnson attended school in the first school building in Cooperstown.  They were later sent to Fargo to boarding school.  Emma, at the age of 17, went out to teach a school west of Cooperstown (Frigaard School).  In the spring she died of pneumonia.  May married Glenn Dyson in 1898.

Source: Griggs County History 1879 - 1976 Page 69

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