It is with pleasure that we are enabled to grant in this history a review of the leading business man and prominent member of society whose name appears above, and who is proprietor of the largest flour mills in the County. Mr. Johnson was born in Benton County, Iowa, on February 28, 1868, being the son of Stephen and Elizabeth (Hardinger) Johnson, natives respectively, of Greene County, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. The father was a farmer and carpenter and later was a faithful preacher in the German Baptist Church.
Our subject was educated in the native place and labored with his father until twenty-three. Then he bought a farm of two hundred and forty acres for himself and after cultivating it six years, came to the reservation. Two years after it opened he bought the improvements of a man, added materially in erecting greater and better improvements and then filed and sold it three years later as a relinquishment. He then erected a large Hour mill in Nez Perce, it being of seventy-five barrels capacity daily, and equipped with all the modern and up to date machinery known, and it is one of the finest plants in the northern part of the state. In June, 1901, Mr. Johnson completed a fine two story residence on the hill overlooking the town, and he supplied the home with a three story observatory tower, that makes the place doubly attractive. It is one of the finest places in the County and is made attractive and beautiful by the taste and tact of Mrs. Johnson, who presides with graciousness. In addition to the properties mentioned, Mr. Johnson has a fine quarter section of land one half mile from the town, which he utilizes as headquarters for his industry of raising hogs, which he is building up in good shape, thus making a market at home, as he purchases many each year. The marriage of Mr. Johnson and Miss Emma A., daughter of Jacob B. and Sallie (Arnold) Lehman, who are deceased, was solemnized on March 4, 1891. Mrs. Johnson is a native of Benton County, Iowa. To them have been born four children, Charles Clifford, Murrel, Ray and James W. Mr. Johnson has three brothers and three sisters, William E., George R., James M., Elma Jones, Olive Cox, Alary Jorgans. Mrs. Johnson has two brothers and four sisters, Jacob, George L., Rebecca Fletcher, Nannie Pike, Sadie, Lydia. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson are members of the German Baptist Church and are devout supporters of the faith, being also consistent in their representation of the denominational teachings in practical life. In October, 1902, Mr. Johnson suffered the loss of his fine home by fire.
Source: An Illustrated History of North Idaho: Embracing Nez Perce, Idaho, Latah, Kootenai and Shoshone counties, state of Idaho; Western Historical Publishing Company, 1903
11 thoughts on “Biography of Zephaniah A. Johnson”
My name is Clay Johnson. Are there any other Johnsons or family of Zephania Johnson out there somewhere? He was my great grand father, His son Wilber Johnson was my grand father, His son Gary Johnson was my father.
Yes! My name is Terry Tobin. I met you at your family’s Nez Perce ranch in 1973.
I forgot to explain how I’m related to “Z.A.” Johnson. Murrel, ZA’s daughter, was my mother’s (Betty Lou Cheley Tobin) mother.
My grandmother was Murrel Pauline Cheley. She was ZA Johnson’s only daughter. I met Wilbur one time in Rapid City, SO. Dak. I believe I met Gary Johnson one time in Rapid City and once in Albert Lea Minn. we went there to visit Wilbur and was taking care of their step mother Nora. She was blind.
Jean Cheley England
Not sure you received my reply but I am the granddaughter of Murrel Pauline Johnson Cheley.. I met Wilbur in Albert Lea, Minn one summer. Also met your father Gary and I believe he had a sister Marilyn. ZA Johnson was my great grandfather too.
My name is Brianna Branson. James Johnson is my great great grandfather and we live in the house that he built!
Did James Johnson go by his middle name of Wilbur? I have a picture of him with my grandmother Murrel Pauline, myself, and my son.
Did James go by his middle name Wilbur? My grandmother Murrel was his sister. I was raised by my grandmother and met two of her brothers. Clifford and Wilbur.
Wallace johnson za johnson was my grandfather
My grandmother was Murrel Pauline Johnson Cheley. Wallace was her brother. I never meet him but she has told me the names of her brothers. I was raised by her. I met Wilbur and Clifford.
ZAJohnson was my great grandfather. My grandmother Murrel Pauline Johnson Cheley was my grandmother his only daughter.