E. W. Johnson, postmaster of West Burlington, Iowa, a position which he has filled with honor and efficiency for a long term of years, is a representative of one of the older families of Des Moines county. He is the son of William Ferdinand Johnson, who was born in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, the son of Joshua and Sarah (Burbridge) Johnson. The father of our subject passed his early years in his native State, later, however, removing to Virginia, where he wedded Miss Isabel Parrott; and shortly after this event they decided to cast the hazard of their fortunes in the then new and undeveloped country known as the West. Pursuant to this project, they emigrated to Iowa, locating in Des Moines county, and in the year 1836 took up their residence in Flint River township, where, in association with his brother Washington, William Ferdinand Johnson entered a tract of government land, and this he owned during the remainder of his life. He was the father of ten children, whose names in the order of birth are as follows: Sarah Louisa, Luther B., Anna R., William R., John, Edgar W., Denton, Christopher, Susan B., and Mattie. The mother of this family died in 1863, and later Mr. Johnson remarried, his second union being with Miss Mary E. Burk; but of this marriage no children were born. As a man of public spirit he was an active worker in the ranks of the Republican party, and was an earnest and constant supporter of the cause of temperance, for which he accomplished much in the course of his long and useful life. At the same time his adherence to the principles of right in all fields of human relationship caused him to take a deep interest in the cause of the church, he being a devout believer in the doctrines of Christianity and a helpful member of the Methodist Episcopal denomination. He appreciated the privileges of independence and freedom which belong to a frontiersman's life, and was known far and wide as a skillful woodsman and hunter — a character in which he formed relations of intimacy and friendship with all ranks and conditions of people throughout a large extent of territory, being everywhere honored for the simple and rugged virtues of his mode of life and thought. On the other hand his own home was always the scene of a large and lavish hospitality, for his disposition was preeminently social and charitable.
Edgar W. Johnson, the subject of this review, traces his lineage to a remote period in the past, and through his maternal great-grandmother Brown, whose maiden name was Ball, enjoys a not distant relationship with George Washington, father of American liberty. He is a native of Lincoln county, Missouri, of which place his parents were temporary residents during a period of two years, and there he was born Jan. 16, 1849, returning with his parents to Des Moines county, Iowa, where he received a good education in the public schools, as well as an excellent home training in the lessons of agricultural industry and in the principles of the religious faith of his parents. On leaving school he took up farming as a regular occupation, and this he pursued with great success for about twenty years; but in 1889 he sold his farm interests and removed to West Burlington, where he engaged in mercantile business, in which he has ever since continued: and in this latter work he has also reaped the full reward of industry, ability, and the conscientious application of his powers to the work in hand. His political faith is that of the Republican party, and as a reward for his valuable services to that organization he was appointed in 1890 to the office of postmaster of the village under the administration of President Harrison, was reappointed under the administration of President McKinley, and has since continued to occupy the position to the general satisfaction of the community, giving to its duties the same careful attention and wise oversight that have made him so successful in his private business. Mr. Johnson was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth J. Inghram, daughter of John and Sarah Ann (Delashmann) Inghram, and to them have been born three daughters and one son, all of whom are residents of West Burlington, as follows: Grace, wife of A. L. Winkler; Edna, wife of John Peoples; Mattie, wife of George C. Scholes; and Horace, who wedded Miss Agnes Johnson. Fraternally Mr. Johnson enjoys desirable connections, being a member of the Knights of Pythias and of the Ancient Order of United Workmen, through all the chairs of which latter organization he has passed; and politically he is known throughout Des Moines county as one of the leading Republicans of this section, while his high personal character has won a place for him in the esteem of his friends and the general public which is indeed enviable.