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George Burr Johnson
DEEDS am thoughts crystallized, and according to their brilliancy do we judge the worth of a man to the countr which produced him, and in his works we expect to find the true index to his character. A study
of the life of the representative American never fails to offer much of pleasing interest and valuable instruction, developing a mastering of expedients which has brought about most wonderful results. The late George Burr Johnson, for a number of decades a prominent citizen of the city of Cincinnati, was a worthy representative of that type of American character and of that progressive spirit which promotes public good in advancing individual prosperity and conserving popular interests. The Johnson family has long been prominently identified with the affairs of the State of Ohio, especially its Southern metropolis, and while the endeavors of its numerous representatives along material lines have brought them pronounced success, they have also greatly advanced the general welfare by accelerating industrial activity and civic progress.
Mr. Johnson was born August 16, 1837, in Amelia, Clermont County, Ohio. He was a son of John S. and Susanna (Sheldon) Johnson to whom four other sons and two daughters were born, namely: Nathaniel, now deceased; Thomas Sheldon Johnson, to whom and his wife these children were born: Emma, who is married; Ida, who is deceased; Tills, who is married; Grace, who is married to John L. Adair, now residing in Portland, Indiana. Mr. Adair is Congressman from that district. William Christie Johnson married Eliza Littell and to them these children were born: Eugene L., Bessie F., Walter, deceased, and Park S. John L. Johnson, living and the youngest of the sons; Bulah Moore, and Mrs. Mary Ann Stuart.
George B. Johnson received his education in the common schools of Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio. When a boy he assisted his father in a general store and a bank at Bethel, until he was twenty-two years of age. Being industrious, courteous and wide-awake, he soon gave evidence of becoming a successful man of affairs and under the training of a wise father laid an excellent foundation for his subsequent career, and upon leaving the town of Bethel he ran a dry-goods store of his own in Lebanon, Ohio. Later, he gave up merchandising although he had gotten an excellent start, to accept the position of United States assessor of internal revenue for the State of Ohio, which President U. S. Grant had honored him by appointment. In this responsible position he served faithfully for a period of eight years, then was appointed inspector of mails for the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee, and continued for some time to discharge his duties for the Government with fidelity and honor, giving the utmost satisfaction to all concerned and with great credit to himself. Later he was appointed assistant postmaster at Cincinnati, which position he held for about four years. His long record as a public servant is one of which his descendants
may well be proud, not only regarding the positions referred to above, but also as a United States marshal, which post he filled for some time with equal satisfaction. Indeed, his record was so exceptional and commendatory that President Grant himself, in a letter which the family possesses, highly complimented him on his efficient work and especially as to the accuracy and honesty of his reports, and further stated that if he had men of such honesty and caliber in adepartments he would be very proud and that the United States would receive better government throughout.
In his earlier career, George B. Johnson and his brother, William C. Johnson, purchased a large hardware store in Cincinnati, which was long operated successfully under the firm name of Johnson Brothers, our subject having been president of the company. However, he did not take an active interest in the business. For a period of sixteen years he was manager and cashier of the great Methodist Book Concern of Cincinnati.; then became cashier and treasurer for all the moneys of the Methodist Episcopal Church at large in the United States. He discharged his duties in this honored and important position with zeal, acumen and fidelity, and he was also treasurer of the Freedman's Aid Society at Cincinnati, and did much for the success of the same.
Mr. Johnson was married in 1858 to Missouri Augusta Griffith, a daughter of James and Mary (Simpson) Griffith. who lived at Bethel, Clermont County, Ohio, both being now deceased. The
mother of Mrs. Johnson, Mary (Simpson) Griffith, was a sisterof Mrs. Hannah Simpson Grant, mother of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.
The death of Mrs. Missouri Augusta Johnson occurred at the home in Avondale, Cincinnati, February 14, 1915.
To George B. Johnson and wife, two children were born,
Percy Mason Johnson, deceased, and Mary Susanna, who be-
came the wife of William Monford Johnson, now deceased; she is
the mother of one child, Mrs. Elizabeth Johnson Woodlouse, wife
of John Shepherd Woodhouse, who is now deceased; they lived in
Norfolk, Virginia, and have one child, John Burr Woodhouse,
now three years of age. Mrs. Mary Susanna Johnson, to whom
we are indebted for the data in this sketch, resides in Cincinnati.
George B. Johnson was a prominent Mason, having
attained the thirty-third degree in that order, a degree which very
few attain; he was also a member of the Independent Order of
Odd Fellows and was a Knights Templar. He was very religious,
in fact, was a pillar in the Methodist Church for many years.
In disposition he was always cheerful, kind and gentle, cordial
and lovable, was very strict in his business principles, honesty
being his watchword at all times. He was broad-minded,
charitable and public-spirited; there are many people in Cincinnati and
elsewhere who can testify to his great generosity as well as to his
brilliant intellectual attainments. His worthy life companion
was a woman of quiet and reserved disposition, dry wit, and while
a church member was never active in religious work; she was loving and kind, but a somewhat stern disciplinarian, and she never discussed trivial subjects.
The death of George B. Johnson occurred December 11, 1911.
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