Franklin Johnson Family of Oklahoma

Edited by: Louis Dolton, June 9, 2012

The Mexican-American War began in 1846. This war between the United States and Mexico started in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas. Mexico was upset because they still considered Texas to be part of Mexico in spite of the 1836 Texas Revolution. The Mexican-American War ended in 1848. About a year later on May 1, 1849, Franklin Johnson, future husband of Naomi Bickle and father of Wilburn Johnson, was born in Ohio.

Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 establishing the Kansas Territory that included the land from the Missouri border to the summit of the Rocky Mountain range (now in central Colorado). About a year later on May 13, 1855, Naomi Bickle was born in Wheeling, West Virginia.

Franklin Johnson was born in Ohio and in 1860 (at age 11) he and his family were living in LaGrange, Ohio. By 1880 Frank and his family were living in Wellington, Kansas. On 1 March 1885 Frank, his wife and kids were living in Walton, Kansas. In 1900 the family was living in Bear Creek, Logan County, Oklahoma. In 1925 Frank died and was buried in Covington, Oklahoma.

In the 1860 United States Federal Census for LaGrange, Lorain, Ohio is a record of the John and Esther Johnson family. John Johnson, age 37; Esther Johnson, age 36; Elisha Johnson, age 17; Demetrius Johnson, age 15; David Johnson, age 13; Franklin Johnson, age 11, born in Ohio; Orrin Johnson, age 9; Wesley Johnson, age 4; and Earnest Johnson, age 2.

The 1870 United States Federal Census for Illinois > La Salle > Brookfield > on page 7 is a record of the John and Esther Johnson family. John Johnson, age 50, male, white, farmer, valued his farm at $3,500, valued his property at $800, and said he was born in New York. He indicates he is a male citizen of the US of 21 years of age or upwards. Esther Johnson, age 48, female, white, is keeping house, and was born in New York. Owin Johnson, age 18, male, white, farm laborer, born in Ohio. Sylantes Johnson, age 14, male, white, farm laborer, born in Ohio. Ernest Johnson, age 10, male, white, at school, born in Ohio. Mary Johnson, age 3, female, white, born in Illinois. Everett Johnson, 7 months old, male, white, born in Illinois.

On August 15, 1874, Wilburn Johnson, future husband of Hannah Long and father of George Johnson, was born in Kansas. September 14, 1874, Hanna Long was born in Ohio.

In the Kansas State Census Collection for Walton in Sumner County of 1885 is a record of the Franklin and Naomi Johnson family. Franklin was age 35; Naomi was age 28, Wilburn was age 11; John was age 9, George was age 4; and Cora was age 2. Franklin listed his profession as that of a farmer. The family of J.W. Johnson, age 28, and and Sylvia S. Johnson, age 16, was living right next to the Franklin Johnson family. This was Franklin's brother. On the other side of the J.W. Johnson family was the John Johnson, age 66, and Esther Johnson, age 62, family. This was Franklin's father and his family.

The record indicates that John Johnson, age 66, male, white, married, farmer, born in New York, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication of military service. Esther Johnson, age 62, female, white, married, housewife, born in New York, came to Kansas from Illinois. Everett Johnson, age 14, male, white, born in Illinois, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication that a trade or profession was being learned. Mary Johnson, age 18, female, white, born in Illinois, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication that a trade or profession was being learned.

J. W. Johnson, age 28 (born between March 2, 1856 and March 1, 1857), male, white, married, farmer, born in Ohio, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication of military service. 23 Susan S. Johnson, age 16, female, white, married, housewife, born in Illinois, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication that a trade or profession was being learned.

Franklin Johnson, age 35, male, white, married, farmer, born in Ohio, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication of military service. Naomi Johnson, age 28, female, white, married, housewife, born in West Virginia, came to Kansas from Missouri. Wilburn Johnson, age 11, male, white, born in Kansas, came to Kansas from Kansas, attended school within the year, no indication that a trade or profession was being learned. John Johnson, age 9, male, white, born in Kansas, came to Kansas from Kansas, attended school within the year, no indication that a trade or profession was being learned. George Johnson, age 4, male, white, born in Kansas, came to Kansas from Kansas. Cora Johnson, age 2, female, white, born in Kansas, came to Kansas from Kansas.

Warren Johnson, age 34 (born between March 2, 1850 and March 1, 1851), male, white, farmer, born in Ohio, came to Kansas from Illinois, no indication of military service. Mary Johnson, age 28, female, white, housewife, born in Oregon, came to Kansas from Missouri. Winnie Johnson, age 5, female, white, born in Kansas, came to Kansas from Kansas

Oklahoma Run in 1889

Darlene (Johnson) Dolton writes, "Great Grandpa Franklin C. Johnson made the Oklahoma Run in 1889 and claimed a piece of land described as ‘the Southwest quarter of section ten, township sixteen North, Range one West of the Indian Meridian, State of Oklahoma, County of Oklahoma.’ This was up around Guthrie. There he married a ¼ Cherokee woman named Naomi and raised a family.

My grandfather Wilburn was one of those children. The land passed down and was finally sold. The mineral rights were held and at my father George’s death my brother Alton, Jerry, and I received it, 1/16 percent. For several years oil company’s sent us small lease checks. Finally, we heard no more.”

My life as a child consisted of my mother Thresa and daddy George Johnson. Daddy’s family lived in California. His mother Mable Long Johnson had two sisters: Florence Paschal, Clara Graves, and a brother Alfred. I didn’t really know them but through my dad.

My life as a child was my parents George and Thresa. Mother was the oldest of six children. There was Uncle’s Rolen and Laurence, Aunts Arvola, Lorene, and Luzell. Mother’s parents (Emery and Jewell London) wanted to get married but her father objected. He had a ranch in West Texas and raised and traded horses. They were poor and he needed his two daughters. Lucy and Jewel helped their parents work their ranch. Their home was a dugout one room structure partially under ground.

Grandpa Emery’s sister Maud and her husband helped Emery and Jewell London to run off and get married. Grandpa Jobe forgave them when they returned and he gave them a team and wagon for a wedding gift.

June 29, 1908 - George Johnson, future husband of Theresa London and father of Darlene Johnson, was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma Territory

July 8, 1912 - Emery and Jewell London were married

May 12, 1913 - Theresa London was born in Indiahoma, Oklahoma

January 5, 1925 - Frank Johnson died from Cardiac Exhaustion (Dropsy) at the age of 75 years 8 months and 4 days. He had been attended by the physician from December 22, 1924 to January 2, 1925. Cardiac exhaustion was a diagnosis used to describe any of several heart problems that today have more specific diagnoses. Dropsy is just an obvious accumulation of fluids that was likely secondary to the primary cause of death.

June 9, 1928 - Wilburn Johnson died and was buried in Blanchard, McClain County, Oklahoma. He was only fifty-three years old.

December 21, 1929 - George Johnson and Theresa London were married. Theresa was sixteen years of age.

George Johnson was eighteen (variously 21) when he met and married Theresa London (age fourteen) (variously 16). Neither had been married before. George was driving a delivery truck delivering the Oklahoma City paper all over central Oklahoma when he met Theresa. They couldn’t afford their own place and lived on the back porch of Grandma London’s house until the Londons lost their house in the crash. At that point everything was so cheap they were able to get their own apartment. When Mom lived with George and Theresa she had a twin bed.

1930 United States Federal Census for Oklahoma > Oklahoma > Oklahoma City > District 133 > on page 22 shows George and Thresa Johnson living in the household of Emery and Jewell London. Enumerated April 11, 1930 at 730 South East 31st Street. Thresa Johnson, daughter of Emry and Jewell London, renting at $10/month, female, white, age 16, married, she was married at age 16, had not attended school since September 21, 1929, able to read and write, Thresa was born in Oklahoma, her father was born in Oklahoma, her mother was born in Texas. George Johnson, son-in-law, male, white, age 21, married, married at age 21, had not attended school since September 21, 1929, able to read and write, George and his parents were born in Oklahoma, his occupation was that of a carpenter in the building industry and he had worked the day prior to the census, he was not a veteran [at the time].

Emery London, head of household, male, white, age 39, married, originally married at age 20, born in Oklahoma. Emry told the census taker that his father was born in the United States, and his mother was born in Oklahoma, Emry was a carpenter working in the building industry and had worked the previous day, he was not a veteran. The family owned the property they were living on and it was valued at $4,000.

Jewell London, wife, female, white, age 36, married, originally married at age 18, born in Texas, Jewell indicated her parents were born in the United States

Roland London, son, male, white, age 10, single, attending school, able to read and write, born in Oklahoma [the census taker erroneously indicated that Roland was female, but I knew my Uncle Roland and he was defenitely male]

Lawrence London, son, male, white, age 8, single, attending school, born in Oklahoma, father born in Oklahoma, mother born in Texas

Arvola London, daughter, female, white, age 6, single, attending school, born in Oklahoma, father born in Oklahoma, mother born in Texas [the census taker wrote her name Arbola, but I knew my Aunt Arvola and I know how her name was spelled]

Lorene London, daughter, female, white, age 6/12, single, born in Oklahoma, father born in Oklahoma, mother born in Texas.

Another time, Darlene told me that when she was young, in the summer, she would sleep on the back porch of their house. It was a screened porch and it was luxurious because she got to sleep by herself. She didn't have to share a bed with anyone. She recalled that again this week (12/22/2000) as we were watching a movie called "The Green Mile." In it two little girls were sleeping on the back porch of their house and were kidnapped and murdered. She said she never thought about being unsafe sleeping on the back porch by herself. But, who did back then? Many folks didn't lock the cars or their homes for crying out loud.

When the Johnson kids were young and living at home in OKC, Grandpa George Johnson, would go to an automobile pick-a-part store and take the kids with him to get them out of the house. But, he would leave the kids out in the car, summer or winter, for long periods of time while he searched for the parts he needed. They wised up to this after a while and if it was cold they took along blankets.

When I knew Grandpa he worked for Oklahoma City as a maintenance worker and later for an airport in the same capacity. But, apparently in his younger years he was kind of a tinker or gypsy who would go around helping other folks fix what was broken. He worked on cars, farm equipment, or anything else in order to make some money. Once, when Mom, the rest of the family, and I were watching a program on the History Channel. The program was about Colonel Sanders and Kentucky Fried Chicken. On the program they talked about chickens and that in the eighteenth century, chickens were rare on American tables. Only the wealthy had chickens. Poorer folks only had chicken when the pastor came over. And that's why they called it the "Sunday chicken." The pastor always got the first choice of the parts of the chicken and the children often got nothing. After the turn of the century, country folks frequently raised their own chickens for their own consumption.

Mom (Darlene) told me that every Sunday the entire London family would meet in Wheat-tang (see note) at Grandma London's house. This would have been Jewel Jane (Jobe) London. Grandma raised chickens for the families use. Mom said that Grandma would wring the necks of four or five chickens, cut their heads off, and hang them on the clothesline until they stopped flopping and had bled out. She would then scald them and Mom and her sisters had to pluck the chickens.

All the rest of the family would bring main dishes, side dishes, desserts, or anything else at all. They all got together on Sunday and had dinner. (Note: Wheat-tang is not a city. It is the area between Wheatland and Mustang on the West side of Oklahoma City.

George was married three times. Theresa said George was a real Don Juan. She knew it and she loved him anyway. After his divorce from Theresa he used to take Darlene along to his girlfriends house. Later, while he was married to Dorothy, George ran off with a female preacher to California one time and came back with a new car. Dorothy set him down in front of Darlene and Louis and said if he ever did ever did that again she would hunt him down and kill him. He took her serious. Up until that time he had always kept a change of clothes in the back of the car whenever he went off and he stopped doing that after Dorothy set him straight.

March 16, 1946 - George Johnson married Dorothy Boles (his second wife).

Linda Boles and I recently reminisced about Grandma Dorothy. Linda said, “I remember Grandma's great cooking. And you’re right. All her grandchildren were her loves. She had plenty to go around and no one lacked for attention.

We would have camp outs in the middle of her living room and she never cared. She often showed us her collection of cards and letters all the grandkids had ever given her. They were in the bottom dresser drawer and no matter how old we got we were allowed to go in there and read them. I wonder what ever happened to them?

The day she gave me her ring she also let us 3 kids pick something from the china cabinet. She had a great collection of knicknacks!!! I chose the cow (and I still have it); Pam chose the George & Martha Washington set (and she still has it); Jim chose the boxers (they are currently on his fireplace mantel). Do you remember the home movies? Grandpa would set up the projector and we would watch them.

Unfortunately, my last visit with the grandparents ended tragically as Grandpa and dad got into an argument. He ushered us out to the car in a heartbeat. Grandpa was trying to apologize and dad wouldn’t listen. Grandpa followed us out to the car and watched us drive away. I sat in the back seat and cried. I next year or so is when the phone rang in the middle of the night telling dad that grandma had passed away. Us kids didn’t even know she was sick.

Grandpa and dad tried to make amends after that. Grandpa visited us in Garden Grove. I remember he drove. He got a speeding ticket in either AZ or NM. I remember them talking about it. After that, I don’t remember him visiting. I talked to him a lot on the phone.” In an on-line posting she said, “My perspective on Grandma Johnson leads me to believe, based on my genealogy research, that she was a survivor. She came from an extremely poor family. It doesn’t sound like her father, Granville [Polk], amounted to much. He had lived with his parents until he married Rachel Aleta. He was many years older than her. Neighbors near them used to drop off corn and wood and the younger siblings used to beg the neighbors for food. Grandma apparently married Floyd Tate and quickly discovered herself a widow. Floyd had been shot and killed during a bank robbery. This was 1930. The same year grandma was back living with her parents. The Tate family lived in the same area and is on the US Census along with the Polk and the Boles family. Granville died this same year. Grandma almost immediately married Melvin Boles. She was only about 16 years old. Did she do this to escape poverty? To escape her family? To escape the sorrow of losing her first husband? Melvin and Grandma then moved to Pampa, TX. Melvin worked the oil fields. Here, dad was born. Shortly thereafter they moved to Fox, OK. He went to school in Fox; attending the same school as his cousins. In 1942, when dad was just 10, Melvin died. Grandma moved the family into a boxcar and there they lived off the charity of others. Her brother Roger, and his wife, moved in with them but both died of TB. It was then that grandma needed to go to work. She sent dad and his brother to live with Melvin's parents. She went to work in Kansas and in Ardmore, OK working for Boeing. She was a riveter.

In 1946 she returns from Ardmore married to George Johnson. This was a difficult adjustment for dad and his brother. Apparently, the boys and he did not get along very well. But, grandma had a family to care for. George refused to let grandma have any further contact with the our side of the family. And when you depend on a man to feed and clothe your children you abide by his wishes.

Dad apparently left home as soon as he graduated from high school. He joined the Navy shortly after. In 1953, he married. While at grandma's house in 1954 he learned that James Luther, Melvin's father had died. George was at the house and refused to allow grandma to even attend the funeral. That is how controlling George apparently was. And he was probably a very insecure man.

It is my opinion that she made a mistake by losing contact with the Boles side of the family. Even though dad and his brother really didn’t have a male figurehead I think they could have benefited by the leadership of the Boles men. The family was large and had a lot of support from one another. Dad and his brother, and their descendants, missed knowing their relatives and the adventures that followed.”

Here's what Louis Dolton, Jr., wrote in his personal biography about George and Dorothy Johnson: "Grandpa (George) and Grandma (Dorothy Polk) Johnson lived at 920 SW 32d ST. ever since when. It was a two bedroom house with living room, dining room, kitchen, and a laundry room on the back of the house. My mother, Darlene, said she could remember a time when she slept out in the laundry room. There was no heat out there and it was cold as hell during the winter. If I remember right, she said she did it so she could have a room to herself.

The Johnsons had a detached one car garage and a storage building. They had a garden every year since I can remember. I grew up thinking that Dragnet and wrasslin' were the only shows on TV at Grandpa Johnson's house and only when we were there. I never saw it anywhere else but it was always on at their house when we went there. They had the neatest floor fan/ottoman they used in the summer. In the winter they had a floor furnace and an open flame gas wall furnace in the bathroom.

There wasn't much to do there and Paul and I soon wound up out back in the backyard. Well, there wasn't much to do there either. There was nothing we were supposed to be into so everything we got into got us into trouble. We crawled up on stacks of lumber, up on roofs of the garage or storage shed, oh yes, up under the breezeway, in the garage, in the garden, and up onto the clothesline poles. Grandpa didn't like that much. I'm afraid that we very frequently led my Dad's father-in-law to believe that Dad had failed miserably as a parent and had no control over his children at all.

Dinners at the Johnson's too, were great. Grandma was as good at cooking as Grandma Dolton: fried chicken, roast, fresh canned vegetables, delicious gravies and breads, and iced tea. Grandpa loved iced tea and had a one quart glass, looked like a gallon to me, that no one else was permitted to use. Big glasses like that were rare in those days. That was before the Big Gulp, and to me it looked huge.

I was probably a high school student before I realized that Grandma (Dorothy) wasn't a blood relative. She married Grandpa long after he divorced Theresa. George and Theresa were very young when they divorced. I loved Grandma Dorothy and she loved me too. I think her love was purer than that of any other of my grandparents. We were not blood relatives, there was no obligation, and she made me really feel loved just for me. I really cherish her memory."

November 1976 - George Johnson died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

January 1982 - Theresa (London) Kirby died in Yucaipa, California

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2006, 2015, 2018 Louis Dolton