Obit: Johnson, Samuel (1835 - 1911)

Contact: Ann Stevens


Surnames: Johnson, Zank, Crothers, Huntley, Campbell, Austin, Wedding, Mead, Williamson, Baxter, Heaslett 

----Source:  Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.)  Nov 23, 1911 

Johnson, Samuel (Aug 16, 1835 - Nov 17, 1911) 

Last Friday night Samuel Johnson was burned to death in the fire which destroyed his farm house about a mile west of the city.  Mr. Johnson was a bachelor and lived alone, so the origin of the fire will probably always remain a mystery.  Mr. Johnson had returned home from his brother, William’s, residence about 6 o’clock in the evening in apparent good health and spirits.  That was the last seen of him alive.  About 9 o’clock, Otto Zank, who lives on an adjoining farm, noticed the Johnson house on fire, and he hurried to the scene.  Not seeing Mr. Johnson around, he suspicioned that the old gentleman was in the house and he made strenuous efforts to break down the doors.  By this time the house was all ablaze and the heat was so intense that he could do nothing.  Other neighbors soon arrived, but their efforts to put out the flames was of no avail and the house was entirely destroyed. 

When the flames had abated somewhat, the remains of Mr. Johnson could be seen in the cellar of the house.  The most generally accepted theory as to the fire, is that the blaze was originated in the ceiling close to the stove pipe.  Mr. Johnson slept in the room in which the stove was located, but at the east side of the room.  It would seem that he was awakened by the smoke and made an effort to reach the door at the west side of the room, for his body was found in the cellar directly beneath the entrance. 

The charred remains of Mr. Johnson’s body were viewed by a coroner’s jury, presided over by Justice Geo. Crothers.  The jury was composed of Wm. Huntley, Sr., Ezra Campbell, Frank Austin, James Wedding, Fred Mead and L. Williamson.  There was no evidence that would indicate that Mr. Johnson came to his death other than by accidental burning.  The doors of the house were all locked when Mr. Zank arrived. 

Mr. Johnson was well known in this city, having resided on his farm for a number of years.  He was a congenial and pleasant old gentleman and his untimely death is a matter of sincerest regret to his many friends.  He was of a cheery disposition and was well-liked by all who knew him.  He was born on Aug. 16, 1835, near Quebec, Canada, and came to the United States in 1861.  He resided in Pennsylvania until in 1869 when he came to Wisconsin.  In 1875 he went to California and spent three years there working in the mines.  He then returned to Neillsville and took up his residence on his farm where he lived for the past 27 years.  He is survived by his sisters, Mrs. Grant Baxter of Hillsboro, N.D., and Mrs. Anna Heaslett of Lake Mills, Wis.; by his brothers, George Johnson of Missouri and William Johnson of town of Pine Valley.  The funeral was held Sunday afternoon in the Congregational church, interment being made in the Neillsville cemetery. 



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