H. F. JOHNSON.
Among the men who are prominent factors in the life of Pella is numbered H. F. Johnson, the present mayor of the
city and business manager of Pella's Weekblad, one of the leading papers in the state published in the Dutch language.
Mr. Johnson was born in Buffalo, New York, February 18, 1858, a son of Gerrit and Minnie (Van der Berg) Johnson,
natives of Holland and Belgium respectively. Their marriage was solemnized in Holland and in 1854 they came to
this country. They first settled at Buffalo, New York, where the father found employment, but in 1864 the family
removed to Iowa and Mr. Johnson purchased a farm near Pella, which he operated until 188i. In that year he retired
and lived in well earned comfort and leisure until his death, which occurred on Christmas day, 1896. He survived
his wife for many years as she passed away in 1881. They were both members of the Reformed church. To them were
born eight children, three of whom survive, namely: Mrs. D. W. Gaass, a resident of Pella; Anthony, who lives in
Creston, Iowa; and H. F., of this review. William Gerrit, who lived in New Sharon, died September 17, 1914.
H. F. Johnson attended the public schools in the acquirement of his education during his boyhood and assisted his
father with the farm work. He devoted his time to agricultural pursuits until 1880 and then learned the wagonmaker's
trade, which he followed for about thirteen years. In 1892 he was employed by G. A. Vander Mulen, a hardware merchant,
as salesman and collector. Ten years later, in 1902, he opened a hardware store of his own at Pella and conducted
i1 until 1904. In that year he bought an interest in Pella's Weekblad and has since been business manager of that
publication. He is a man of marked energy and initiative and has given his time and thought to the management of
the business interests of the paper with gratifying results. Its circulation has increased and more money has been
received from advertisements, while study of the problems of buying and operation has resulted in a saving along
those lines without a loss of efficiency.
Mr. Johnson was married in 1884 to Miss Gysie Stavast, a daughter of Henry and Hilleke (Schryvers) Stavast. To
Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were born three children: Ella May and Alfred Alonzo, both at home; and Rowland, who died
when an infant of one and a half years.
The family belong to the Baptist church. Mr. Johnson is a democrat in politics and his advice is often sought in
local political circles. For five years he served as alderman from the second ward, being a member of the city
council at two different times. In his second term he was the one who started the movement which resulted in the
extension of the water system and in the erection of the electric light plant, both of which are under municipal
ownership. For the past two years he has served as mayor of the city and has been the means of instituting several
needed improvements. Fraternally he belongs to Pella Lodge, No. 55, A. F. & A. M., and to the Knights of Pythias,
in the latter of which he is past chancellor and past prelate. Mr. Johnson is known to practically all of the citizens
of Pella and the general respect in which he is held is a well deserved tribute to his ability and sterling qualities
History of Marion County, Iowa
And its People
John W. Wright, Supervising Editor
W. A. Young, Associate
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Marion County, IA
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