Obit: Johnson, Samuel (1835 - 1911)
Contact: Ann Stevens
Surnames: Johnson, Zank, Crothers, Huntley,
Campbell, Austin, Wedding, Mead, Williamson, Baxter,
----Source: Neillsville Times (Neillsville,
Clark County, Wis.) Nov 23, 1911
Johnson, Samuel (Aug 16, 1835 - Nov 17,
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
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
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.
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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