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ERICK HARRY JOHNSON

CHARLTON COUNTY HERALD

R. Ward Harrison, Editor

April 28, 1950

A native of Charlton County and a resident of this community practically all his life, Erick Harry Johnson was born in 1899 at the Johnson family homestead west of Folkston where he grew to young manhood on his father’s farm. He was named for both of his grandfathers.

He is a son of the late Judge J.H. Johnson and Mrs. Annie Gay Johnson, who is now a resident of this city, being a member of a large family of brothers and sisters. His great grandfather, John M. Johnson, came to this section from Tattnall County about 1825, settling in the Traders Hill district about six miles west of Folkston.

Mr. Johnson’s grandfather, the late Honorable Erick Johnson, fought in both the Florida Indian War and the Civil War, being badly wounded at the second battle of Manassas. During his long and useful life, Erick Johnson was highly regarded as a man of staunch character. He died at the advanced age of 91 years. He was married to Miss Maryann Roddenberry and to this union only one child was born, the late Honorable J.H. Johnson, father of the subject of this sketch. He served one term as Tax Collector and later as Judge of the Charlton County Court. Judge Johnson was married to Miss Annie Gay, daughter of Hinton Gay, an early settler of the Traders Hill community who survived him.

After completing his studies in the public school of Charlton County, Harry Johnson as a young man went to Monticello, Fla. where for some time he was employed by H. Mizell in the operation of a sawmill, acquiring experience in all phases of the sawmill and lumbering industry.

Returning to Charlton County in 1925, Mr. Johnson, in association with his father, the late Judge Johnson, organized a sawmill and lumber enterprise under the name of J.H. Johnson and Son. The concern bought the Mizell mill and moved it to this county, first locating near the Johnson farm, where it was operated about a year and a half.

The sawmill plant was then moved to Folkston and operations expanded with the addition of a planing mill and a dry kiln where they carried on an extensive sawmill and lumber business for several years. After finishing here, the sawmill was moved to Chesser Island near the Okefenokee Swamp and later near the Walter Davis place where they continued to carry on a successful sawmill operation. In the late 1930s the plant was moved to a site near Racepond where extensive timber leases had been acquired. A large sawmill was operated there and for the final three years Mr. Russell Johnson and Everett C. Smith were members of the operating firm until April of 1943 when the business was discontinued and the equipment sold.

After retiring from the sawmill business Mr. Johnson purchased a large tract of land just across the St Marys River in Nassau County where he planned to engage in stock raising. He built and furnished a beautiful country home on the banks of the river which was completely destroyed by fire soon after he moved into it. This involved a heavy financial loss as he had no insurance and soon thereafter he disposed of his land holdings.

In 1944 Mr. Johnson actively re-entered business when in association with his brother Scott Johnson, the firm of Johnson Brothers was organized. This concern purchased a general mercantile business from M.G. White, formerly owned and operated by Theodore Dinkins. Later the Banks Café building was purchased and a general hardware and builders supply department was added to the firm’s activities. They are now carrying on a flourishing business, the concern being generally recognized as one of the city’s most successful and progressive mercantile establishments.

In 1923 Mr. Johnson was united in marriage to Miss Emily Haddock. They have two young sons, Harry, Jr. and Gene Norris, all being members of the Methodist Church. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson and their two boys have a large number of friends throughout the community.

If Mr. Johnson can be said to have a hobby, it would most certainly be his interest in deer hunting. He is one of the most enthusiastic followers of this sport in the county. He also has the distinction of having voted for a Talmadge for Governor every time the name has appeared on the ticket, either as Eugene or Herman. It is by now probably an incurable habit.

Charlton  County Archives