THE HISTORY OF THE JOHNSON RANCH
(At the foot of Jelm Mountain on the Big Laramie River)

Written in May 1989 for the 100-year ranch project for the Wyoming Centennial occurring in 1990. Also written for the Johnson children and grandchildren for their future interest and reference.

Written by Margaret Johnson, wife of Everett Johnson, third generation to live on the ranch, established in 1879.

The Johnson ranch

Located twenty-three miles southwest of Laramie, the Johnson ranch, now owned by Everett and Margaret Johnson, is bordered by Highway 230 on the north. Jelm Mountain rises to the south and Sheep Mountain to the west. The Big Laramie River as well as a mile of the Pioneer Canal flow through the property which abounds with wildlife.

The ranch was first settled by Everett Johnson's great uncle Alexander Johnson and his wife, Sophia, in 1879. It was taken over by Alexander´s brother (Everett's grandfather) Jacob and his wife, Sophia, in 1888. Jacob's son (Everett's father) Wesley assumed control in 1922 and present ownership of the ranch was assumed by Everett and Margaret after Wes's death in 1973 when they bought the ranch from Everett's mother, Geil. (All parties named above were Johnsons)

The first record of Johnson occupancy of the land is in microfilm records in the Albany County Court House. The first entry shows that, on January 20, 1881, Everett's great-uncle, Alexander (Alex) Johnson and his wife, Sophia, borrowed $400 from a Martha Bramel. This loan was secured by all of Section thirty-one (31) in Township fourteen (14) North, Range Seventy-six (76) West of the Sixth Principal Meridian. Also given as security were improvements, livestock, a mower and a rake, indicating that they had settled there some time before the date of the loan.

Alex Johnson and his wife came from Sweden to the United States, arriving in Laramie on the Union Pacific Railroad. We assume that the area near the mountains reminded them of their homeland as many Scandinavians settled in the area.

Another loan was obtained from Martha Bramel in 1882 and section 31 was again given as security for the loan. Apparently, all parties were unaware that section 31 was the last railroad section out, lying twenty miles directly west of Tie Siding. The following information was in the ranch abstract: In 1864, an Act of Congress "granted to the Union Pacific Railroad Company every alternate section of public lands designated by odd numbers to the amount of ten alternate sections on each side of said railroad within the limit of twenty miles on each side."

Alex lived on the ranch until his death in 1888. No record could be found as to what happened to his wife and there is no record of children. Jacob then assumed control of the ranch.

In 1880, Alex's brother, Jacob Elge (meaning "elk") Johnson and his wife, Sophia and family also emigrated from Sweden. They lived first in Chicago for three years. It is assumed that, because they had come from an area of iron works in Sweden, they were attracted by the iron works in Chicago. However, while there, they lost two children in infancy, life was hard and they did not like the city.

In 1884, Jacob and his family also arrived in Laramie on the Union Pacific Railroad. The only job Jacob could find that first winter was digging graves. He then got a job as a janitor in the East Side School where he worked for eighteen years.

Called "Schoolhouse Johnson", his youngest son, Wesley (Everett' father) remembered Jacob as a jolly, kind man who would delay ringing the bell just long enough to let an occasional straggler get inside the schoolhouse.

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Created by Lennart Elg. Last updated 02-09-27, 17.33