Today’s post is in response to a reader’s questions related to my post Fielding and Sarah JOHNSON ~ Tombstone Tuesday. John wrote: “… I was wondering where you found information on Fielding JOHNSON-Sarah BARR, but mainly on Otis JOHNSON” (one of their sons) “… I want to find out who he was and about his ancestors. Thank you.” You can read the entire comment at the bottom of the link above.
When I started to respond, I decided to dig a little more into Otis JOHNSON (1886-1968), who happens to be a brother of my hubby’s grandfather, Jerry Taylor JOHNSON (1881-1943). I found out several interesting things, so I just decided to make a post out of it.
Unfortunately, as I dug deeper and deeper… it appears that my hubby’s Otis Fielding JOHNSON most likely is not the same Otis JOHNSON in my reader John’s ancestry. I could be wrong, but I do not think so. With what I could rather quickly find… our Otis was married to Grace at least by September of 1918. They were still married at least until Otis filled out his World War II Draft Registration Card in 1942 and probably until Grace’s death in 1958.
It does not appear that Otis and Grace had any children or at least none during any of the times when a census was taken. They often had someone else’s child or an older family member living with them at those times, though.
Otis Fielding JOHNSON was born March 25, 1886 in Marion County, Missouri to Fielding Monroe JOHNSON (1844-1920) and Sarah Elizabeth BARR (1846-1932).
Otis Fielding JOHNSON appears in the 1900 Census in Fabius, Marion, Missouri at the age of 14 and living with his parents, a few siblings, a white “servant” girl, and an older black “laborer” man.
In the 1910 Census, he is listed as a boarder in the Oakland Ward 5, Alameda, California. The head of the “housing” was Lousa C Barrows and her daughter, Ella K Barrows, evidently lived/worked there, too. It doesn’t say what it was, but by the different occupations of the MANY “boarders” and the fact that there were males and females in a huge range of ages… my guess at this time is that maybe it was like a hotel or really big boarding house. Not sure. Here is a copy of the census mentioned above. There are at least six more boarders on the next page (for a total of around twenty boarders) along with four servants listed as Chinese and one servant listed as black. It lists Otis’ occupation as a bookkeeper in an office. Otis’ information is underlined in red.
In September of 1918, Otis’ World War I Draft Registration Card shows him as being a Credit Man for Walton N. Moore, D.G.Co. (Dry Goods Company) on Front (Street?) in San Francisco, California. Otis and his wife, Grace, lived at 396 62nd, Oakland, California.
Otis Fielding JOHNSON’s WWI Draft Registration Card
In the 1920 Federal Census, Otis was 33 years old, married to Grace G. JOHNSON, listed as a credit manager for dry goods, and living in Oakland, Alameda, California with Grace and his widowed Mother-in-law, Julia C. MURPHY.
In the 1930 Federal Census, Otis and Grace lived in Berkeley, Alameda, California with Grace and a nephew-in-law named Robert Lewis SPENCER. Robert was 17 years old at the time and was born in California. His father was born in England and his mother was born in California. Otis was listed as a credit manager for whole-sale dry goods. His home value was listed as $6,000 at the time. A few neighbors also had values of about $7,000-$15,000, but many others had about $25-$40 values on the same page. Regardless, it appears that Otis and Grace were successful.
In 1940, it shows Otis and Grace as being 54 years old and living at 2627 College in Berkeley, Alameda, California. They had lived at this same address since at least 1935. According to Ancestry.com’s deciphering of this census, it says that they suddenly had two teenagers (Elizabeth J Freenglee and Robert H Freenglee) whose parents were born in Switzerland. As you read through the original record, it becomes clear that evidently the Freenglee’s parents are missing on the census. They are listed at a different address along with several other discrepancies. Some other people on Ancestry.com have incorporated them in their family trees, but it is incorrect. Just another example of needing to check everything out for yourself.
In 1942, Otis’ World War II Draft Registration Card shows him as still (or at least once again) working for Walton N. Moore Drygoods Co. which is then on Fremont and Mission in San Francisco, California.
Otis Fielding JOHNSON’s WWII Draft Registration Card
Grace died October 15, 1958, in Alameda, California. Otis died July 4, 1968, in Berkeley, Alameda, California.
So, you may be asking, “Why did you continue to research this couple even when you discovered that this was not the same Otis JOHNSON?”
- I was on a roll… 😉
- As anyone really hooked on genealogy knows, it is really irritating to not have as many of the “blanks” as possible filled in…
- As I got to know more about Otis and Grace, I wanted to learn more.
- If I am correct and they did not have any children, their particular line ended with them. They have likely been forgotten and/or not explored further on most of the other relatives’ family trees. That saddens me and made me want to devote this post to their memories. ♥
So, where does that leave John and his Otis JOHNSON?
I did not want to just be the bearer of bad news, so I tried to dig a bit further for him and his family.
First a few questions:
Is your mom the Patricia Joann Johnson Olthoff that married John Bingo Olthoff?
Was she born December 26, 1926 in Pueblo, Colorado and passed away February 11 or 12, 1989?
If so, I think I found your great-grandfather. Remember, I did not completely get this sourced or anything, so you will still need to research this yourself, John.
Do these look familiar?
If so, her father was Stanley Otis JOHNSON who was born January 14, 1904 in Montrose, Henry, Missouri, and passed away April 1968 in Rocky Ford, Otero, Colorado. His parents were likely Forster and May JOHNSON. It looks like he probably had at least two siblings (Ethmer born about 1904 and Agnes born about 1907).
Her mother was Vida Margaret KELLOGG who was born February 28, 1896 in Rocky Ford, Otero, Colorado, to Aaron Lindsley KELLOGG (1839-1914) and Isabel K MORGAN (1862-1953) and passed away September 13, 1994 in Pueblo, Colorado.
It was rather difficult to find information that was accessible to the public, but there is a bit more via Ancestry.com. This line doesn’t appear to be highly researched by those on the internet, yet, but hopefully this is your correct line and I have helped you get a good running start. The good news is that if you can connect Forster JOHNSON to your mother, then there is a bit more information out there. Good luck and let me know about your progress.