Joseph Hills Johnson

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Joseph Hills Johnson

Birthplace: Virgin, Washington County, Utah, United States
Death: Died in Tropic, Garfield County, Utah, United States
Place of Burial: Tropic, Garfield County, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Joel Hills Johnson and Margaret Johnson
Husband of Mary Johnson
Father of Mary Leona Johnson; Joseph Hills Johnson; Hyrum Johnson; Maggie Johnson; Karma Barton and 3 others
Brother of Esther Ellis Orton; Margaret Hannah Shumway; John Henry Johnson; Mary Elizabeth Johnson; Jeremiah Johnson and 3 others
Half brother of Julianna Ann Johnson; Sixtus Ellis Johnson; Sariah Anna Workman; Nephi Johnson; Susan Ellen Johnson and 12 others

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Joseph Hills Johnson

Journal of Joel Hills Johnson: December 1, 1866. My third child by wife Margaret, Joseph Hills, was born about 1 o'clock in the morning at Virgin City.

[Most of the biography below comes from a booklet given out at a family reunion years ago by his daughter, Mary Leona Johnson Jolley.] Joseph was the second child and first son of Joel H. and Margaret Threlkeld Johnson. He was baptized by his father 1 Dec 1874, as it was the custom to baptize every child on it's eighth birthday. He was confirmed by Samuel Gould.

Joseph's early years were spent in helping provide for his mother's family, as his father was getting old and had four other families. When he was fourteen years old, the family moved to Johnson, Kane County, Utah, where he helped to build up another town, as this was grandfather [Joel Hills] Johnson's special mission, to settle in every suitable place and encourage the pioneers to build homes and schools, throughout all the southern part of the state, and altho eighty years old when he died, he was arranging to move his family to Mexico the help colonize there.

At the age of sixteen, Joseph was left with the responsibility of providing for his mother and seven younger children, so he worked very hard at farming and doing every odd job he could find to help finance the family and send his younger brothers and sisters to school. He always had a great desire for education, but never had the advantage of school except part of one winter when his brother Ezekiel carried the mail over the mountains to get means to provide for the family.

In May 1887, he married, in the St. George Temple, Mary Glover, a young convert from England. Shortly after their marriage, he received a call to go on a mission to the Southern States. So on the 10th of Oct. 1887, he left his wife and family, and with $93.00 in cash, he started for South Carolina. He states in his diary, (which he kept daily for twenty years), that his relatives sent him about $100.00 more while he was gone the two years, as his mission cost about $200.00.

On the 15th of April 1888, his daughter Leona was born, and his diary states that the day he received that news was the lonesomest day he ever spent.

Soon after his return from the South, he hired out to James Andrews and with his wife and baby went to live at the Canaan Ranch on the Kaibab Forest. He worked there a year, then moved to the Skumpah Ranch. The next season, he and his brother-in-law, James Glover rented the Finly Ranch, near where the town of Alton is located. From there the family moved a few miles north the Seegmiller Ranch, then back to Skumpah Ranch.

During this time he had bought a lot in Johnson where he had built a two roomed adobe house, which was the first home they had ever had. The family lived there for a year or two, then they heard of the wonderful resources of the new town of Tropic, Garfield County, Utah. In the spring of 1896, he went to investigate the new country and he stayed all summer working on the saw-mill for lumber to build a home.

On Nov. 10th, 1896, he arrived in Tropic with his wife and four small children. He moved them into one small room and went away to earn money to complete his home. These were very trying times as wages were only $1.00 a day, and no food for horses or cow. The family almost suffered for a few years until the home was finished and they were able to raise garden and food for cow and the team.

Joseph had always been a pioneer and stood many hardships, so he never complained as long as he was able to keep the Sabbath day holy and pay his tithing and honest debts. He was also a strict observer of the Word of Wisdom and observed Fast Day and attended Sacrament meeting whenever possible, no matter where he was. It grieved him very much because he could not give his family every advantage for education and advancement. He worked very hard to provide for his family, farming in the summer and going away from home in the winter to find employment, until his holding gradually increased, until he had a nice farm and a bunch of cattle and dairy cows. He was developing a ranch on the East Fork Mountain.

On Dec. 1st 1906, he took his family that was at home for a visit with his relatives in Kane County. This was the first visit they had made since moving away from there. Soon after they returned, he became ill with Lagrippe which developed into Pneumonia and on Dec. 23, 1908, he died, being buried on Christmas Day. He was only forty-one years old. His youngest child, Eldon, was two years old. His oldest son, Joseph was only seventeen, but took over the burden of helping provide for the family.

His children have always been thankful for his teachings and example of faithfulness, for he always taught them that they must do right, to keep the Word of Wisdom and never speak evil of any one, [and] to depend upon the Lord under all circumstances

TO MY CHILDREN (March 5, 1903) The Lord with wisdom and with power This earth He did create, That we might come and live there on And leave our first estate. For in Heaven we once did dwell As spirits, of course we know, And for a wise and glorious cause We were sent down here below.

Now we have here a work to do As children of the Lord. And may we all His laws obey And keep His holy word. His holy spirit He will give To guide us on our way If we will His commandments keep And ever humble be.

Now when the work on earth is done For us that has been given, We will return again to God Our Father which art in Heaven. But if we fail to do what's right While on this earth we dwell And all our work is sin and crime Our spirits then will go to hell.

Now my dear children, I want to say Be kind to one another, And in your lives to ever obey Your father and your mother.

Your affectionate Father

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Joseph Hills Johnson's Timeline

December 1, 1866
Virgin, Washington County, Utah, United States
May 4, 1887
Age 20
Saint George, Washington County, Utah, United States
April 15, 1888
Age 21
Kane County, Utah, United States
July 28, 1891
Age 24
Kane County, Utah, United States
September 13, 1893
Age 26
Kane County, Utah, United States
Age 26
Tropic, Garfield County, Utah, United States
September 3, 1896
Age 29
Johnson, Kane Co., Utah
June 23, 1901
Age 34
Tropic, Garfield County, Utah, United States
December 31, 1903
Age 37
Tropic, Garfield County, Utah, United States
June 24, 1906
Age 39
Tropic, Garfield County, Utah, United States