The Highland Township Historical Society
Highland, Oakland County, Michigan



Portrait and Biographical Album of Oakland County, Michigan, Chapman Bros. (1891), pp. 695-696

LEONARD S. JOHNSON, a prominent merchant of Clyde, came to Oakland County at an early day.  He is the son of Lyman, a son of Banks Johnson, a native of Connecticut.  This grandfather reared a family of three sons and two daughters.   He was a farmer, and like many of the New England farmers of that day, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War.  His son, Lyman, was born February 6, 1800.  He married Catherine Sherwood, a daughter of Samuel Sherwood, a native of Connecticut, who went to New York at an early day and made that his permanent home.  The children of Lyman and Catherine (Sherwood) Johnson were Sallie A., Joel, Oscar, Maria, Willis, Lyman, Leonard, William (deceased) and William.   Lyman Johnson went to New York soon after his marriage, and there he reared most of his children.  Upon his removal to Michigan in 1846 he settled in Highland Township, where he lived and died.  His first purchase was forty acres, but he sold this and bought eighty, which he owned until death.  In connection with farminlg he followed the trade of a carpenter.  Both he and his good wife were Presbyterians in faith, and both died in Highland Township - she in 1850 and he in 1875.

The subject of this biographical sketch was born in Onondaga County, N. Y., January 15, 1838.  He was only eight years old when he removed with his parents to Michigan.   At the age of fifteen years he went away to school and attended for a year and a half.  At the age of nineteen years he commenced teaching, and followed it for three years, earning the munificent sum of $25 per month.  This, however, was considered good wages for teaching in those days, and the young man was enabled to pay the debt which he had incurred for board while attending school.

Our young man now decided to set up a home of his own, and he chose for his wife Catherine Garrett, the daughter of Charles E. Garrett, a native of New York.  The wedding took place August 19, 1861, in Highland TownshipMr. Garrett was a ship carpenter, and had been quite a roamer.  He was married in the Buckeye State to Seraphina Higgins, and one child was born unto them, who afterward became the wife of our subject.  Mr. Garrett came to Michigan and settled in Trenton, in 1859, where he lived for a number of years, and then came to Highland Township, where he lived until 1880, when he sold his farm and went to Missouri.  Mr. Garrett was bereft of his first wife in this county, April 5, 1872, and was a second time united in marriage to Mrs. Sheldon, widow of Edwin D. Sheldon.

To Mr. Johnson and his estimable wife have been born five children, one of whom died in infancy, and the four others are now living. They are by name, Ada, who is now Mrs. Frank Fisher, and resides in Highland Township; Charles L., [Begin Page 696] who resides at home and manages his father's business; Leonard, Jr., who resides at home and works in his father's store; and Maud C., still a school girl.  Mr. Johnson's farm embraces one hundred and twenty-two broad and productive acres.  He followed farming until 1881, when his health necessitated his going to Florida.  He took his family with him, and was gone for two years.  There he bought land and set out an orange grove, which he still owns.   In 1886 he returned to Highland, where he has since lived.  He then bought fifty acres, including most of what is now the village of Clyde.  He engaged in the livery business, which he still follows.  The following year he inaugurated a mercantile business, which he has carried to success.  His wife was snatched from his side by death, January 12, 1889.   His health has been poor ever since her decease, but he still attends to business, although within the past year he has given the matter over more into the hands of his sons.  Mr. Johnson is a Republican, and always has been.  He has been Township Treasurer one term, and filled the responsible position of Justice of the Peace for eight years.  He is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Clyde Lodge No. 229.  Both he and his excellent wife were identified with the Baptist Church.  Charles L. took to wife Miss Myra Wood, daughter of Rev. Alva B. & Ervilla (Hollister) Wood.  This important event took place at the home of Leonard S. Johnson, in Clyde, May 20, 1891.

Mr. Johnson organized the Clyde Cornet Band, and was its leader for eight years, and when his health failed his son Charles L. stepped into his father's shoes, and has filled the place with credit up to the present time.


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