John August Johnson Autobiography

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SIE 4-1

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John August Johnson Autobiography


  • 1879-1969 (Creation)


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"Memoranda of Events in the Life of John August Johnson from childhood days to the age of 82, 1879-1969"
The manuscript discusses John’s childhood and young adult life in Sweden, the jobs he had, and his immigration to America in order to earn a better life for himself. It also tells about the working conditions in the early 1900s, construction in Seattle, and church life and changes. His wife’s family is described, as is his children’s families.

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This manuscript is written, for the most part, chronologically. Five of the last eleven pages of the manuscript discuss John’s love of fishing and the many fishing trips he took. The final six pages of the manuscript detail the family’s European trip of 1929.

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      Biographical Note

      John August Johnson was born 19 January 1879 on the homestead Västanträsk in Västerbotten, Sweden. The landscape was extremely hard to farm. His family harvested hay, made flour out of bark, extracted tar, sold milk, and hauled timber for income. John overcame several illnesses in his youth. John and the other boys had a lot of responsibility to shoulder in order to help the family survive.

      John later worked away from home where he met several young friends and became interested in spirituality and revivals. John sailed for America the spring of 1901. He worked several jobs, mostly in mines under dangerous conditions. He also worked as a carpenter. He was involved in religion and revivals, attending Swedish Baptist Churches.

      In the summer of 1905, John decided to move to Seattle, WA, to get away from the cold winters. It was hard to find work there. Eventually conditions began to improve and he worked on carpentry for many of the new buildings being built. On August 21, 1907, John married Ellen Karlbom who was Swedish as well. They built a home for themselves and had five children, four daughters and one son. The children graduated from the University of Washington.

      John was very involved in church life. He was a member of the Swedish Baptist Church. When this congregation broke up the Calvary Temple church was formed, which John helped develop and build. John was an avid fisherman and hunter. He and his family took a month-long trip to Europe and his wife and he traveled often in their retirement.

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