An American Family History

William Greenwood Johnson

Los Angeles, California

William Johnson and a friend

William Greenwood Johnson (Will) was born in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas in May 13, 1869. His parents were William Wallace Johnson and Katherine Cliff Barnes

He married Hester Mabel Miller on November 1, 1899 in San Diego, California. He was a chief marine engineer in the merchant marine. He told stories to his nephew, Robert Miller, Jr. that during prohibition he slept on deck because his cabin was full of whiskey. Hester wrote that "Uncle Will was was a motorman on the street cars during the short tie up on the ship when they were on strike.

Will died on January 3, 1950. He is buried with his wife in the Miller plot at Mt. Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

William Johnson and a friend in Portland


A freemason (mason) is a member of an international fraternal and charitable organization pledged to mutual assistance and brotherly love.

W. G. Johnson Dies at Home
Funeral Rites for Retired Engineer To be Read Tomorrow Afternoon.

William G. Johnson, 80, a retired marine engineer and local resident since 1927, died yesterday morning in his home, 2233 Columbia St.

Funeral services will be conducted tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the Bradley-Woolman Memory Chapel under auspices of a Masonic Lodge. Cremation will follow.

Mr. Johnson was born in Fort Smith, Ark. He was a life member of Century Lodge, F.&A.M. of Seattle, his former residence. Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Hester M. Johnson, of Escondido; a sister Mrs. Nell Robinson of San Diego; four nieces, Nancy Cofenbarger, Catherine Snow and Irene Pettigrew all of San Diego, and Betty Shaffin of Escondido, and three nephews, Charles Robinson and Dale Stearns, both of San Diego and Francis Powers of Oakland.

San Diego, California was incorporated in 1850, the same year California became a state. The original Old Town was located several miles inland. In the late 1860s, Alonzo Horton promoted a move to New Town on the bay. New Town grew quickly and became the city center. In 1915, San Diego hosted the Panama-California Exposition.
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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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