My connection to this family is Ella Johnson Hall, my paternal 2nd great grandmother.
Published in The Record-Post, Au Sable Forks, NY, Thursday, December 18, 1930:
LARGE FAMILY RAISED AT TROUT POND RECALLED
Father of Late Olive (Johnson) Kee Located on Farm Four Miles From Clintonville
(By George L. Brown)
The death of Mrs. Olive (Johnson) Kee at Glendale, Cal., which was announced in The Record-Post two weeks ago today, started a train of thought in our mind. Looking back through the vista of years to the time when our memory runneth not to the contrary, there is pictured in our mind’s eye an old time country gentleman—the late George Johnson, sr., happily located on a farm which was surrounded by sylvan beauty. The above mentioned farm was located at what has long been known as Trout Pond which is about four miles from the village of Clintonville on the Ausable River where then stood the largest charcoal iron making forge ever erected on earth. This forge, according to figures furnished by our late lamented friend E.E. Banker who was superintendent there for 12 successive and intensely busy years, was 16 rods longs and 60 feet wide, the sides and ends of which were built of stone, the roof being of iron. The ordinary forge in other sections of our charcoal iron making North Country contained 5 to 6 “fires” while the mammoth building at the dam on the Ausable River at Clintonville contained there times as many as the average. In those days when “Iron was King” Clintonville was in the heyday of its industrial glory. The Peru Steel and Iron Company employed hundreds of men at and around Clintonville, the latter village then being a ready market for any produce farmers had to sell. Conveniently near this busy mart, George Johnson, sr., happy in having found what was the proper bent of his genius, calmly followed the even tenor of his way, content with his farm and family, his contentment recalling the words of Dryden:
Look round the habital world, how few
Know their own good, or knowing it, pursue.
The late John Wood, native of Ireland, solder in the Papineau War in Canada way back in 1837-38 and finally an Elizabethtown farmer after he and his son Robert H. Wood (now the most venerable all the year around male resident of the Essex county seat village) had purchased the late Willard F. Deming’s farm in the spring of 1868, often visited the George Johnson, sr., at his “Trout Pond” farm. In this connection it may be added that Robert H. Wood also often visited Mr. Johnson and recalls the beautiful brook which meandered through the farm and the big house cat that caught the 8 and 10 inch speckled trout and took her “catch” to the house for cooking. It was at the Johnson farm house that the late John Wood, our neighbor for 20 years, was stricken with paralysis way back in 1873, as a result of which he lived a cripple for 18 years, dying in 1891.
It is, however, of the large family of children of the late George Johnson, sr., that is proposed to speak at this time.
Besides Mrs. Olive (Johnson) Kee, a sketch of whom was given two weeks ago, there were the following:
Jane M. Johnson, who married the late George Wood, an older brother of Robert H. Wood. George Wood was a Free Mason, being a member of Morning Sun Lodge way back in 1866. As such he attended the funeral of the late Levi DeWitt Brown held February 6, 1866, the first Masonic conducted service in Elizabethtown after the organization of Adirondack Lodge No. 602, F. & A.M. in January, 1866. George Wood and his wife eventually went to Montana where they settled. George Wood went to the site of Butte, Montana, when there was nothing but a “shack” there. He helped erect a sawmill and a smelting works. Being a mechanic Mr. Wood found much to do in those pioneer days. In fact he is credited with laying out the city of Butte. He bought land for a reasonable price and later sold it off in lots at a material advance. At the time of his death about 32 years ago he was said to have erected more buildings than any other man in Montana. His wife was cheerful and helpful, backing her husband in making his life a success in the early days of Butte. Mr. and Mrs. George Wood had three sons—Walter, George and Harry—and two daughters. William Greer, formerly of Moriah, who married Fannie Patterson of Elizabethtown, was with George Wood in his last hours.
Mary Johnson married Charles Denton, who worked for the late William Simonds around the old Valley House in Elizabethtown. John Johnson went west and died in Nevada. Leander Johnson enlisted in the Union army in civil war days and is thought to have made the supreme sacrifice, as he never came back home.
Emma Johnson married the late John Thompson of Moriah who served as a solider in the Union army of the civil war and drew a pension. He died on his Moriah farm a few years ago.
Orlando Johnson died in Port Henry a few years ago.
Loren Johnson went west and died in Phoenix, Arizona, of tuberculosis.
Levi Johnson went west and died in Montana as a result of trouble in a saw mill in pioneer days.
Ella Johnson married the late Ira Hall and in 1897 came to Elizabethtown where she continued to reside until her death a few years ago. She is survived by three sons—Earl of Keene Valley, Jesse and Loren of Elizabethtown—and one daughter, Miss Beatrice Hall who is employed as a nurse at the Keene Valley Neighborhood House.
George Johnson of “Ti. Street,” Ticonderoga, is the only survivor of this large family of children. He owns a good farm and has a productive apple orchard.
WOW, WOW, WOW