Biography of Thomas Johnson
Franklin County, Ohio Biographies





Thomas Johnson. - A busy and constructive career has been that of Thomas Johnson, of Columbus, for over a third of a century one of the prominent coal operators of Ohio. That was an industry in which he started at the beginning as a boy worker in the mines, and at one time he was executive official and a large owner in several companies operating over Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia fields. He still has some large interests in the coal business, but both his vocation and recreation are found in the ownership and operation of one of the finest stock farms in Ohio, known as "The Oaklands," located west of the city of Columbus.

Mr. Johnson represents a family that has been prominent in Ohio coal circles for a great many years. He was born in England and was eight years of age when his parents came to America and located at Niles in Trumbull County, Ohio, in 1862. In 1872 Mr. Johnson moved to Nelsonville. In 1880 he and his three brothers began business as coal mine operators and distributors. It was first known as Johnson Brothers & Patterson until 1886, when the brothers incorporated the New Pittsburgh Coal Company. In 1892 the general offices of the New Pittsburgh Coal Company were moved to Columbus. As a corporation this company became well known throughout the Hocking Valley and in other mining centers of Ohio, where the company operated mines. In 1902 the Pittsburgh Coal Company, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, purchased the stock of the New Pittsburgh Coal Company. Later in the same year the former stockholders of the New Pittsburgh Coal Company organized the Johnson Coal Mining Company and opened and developed two mines in Greene County, Indiana, this property being later acquired by the Vendalia Coal Company, of Indianapolis. In the meantime and until 1908 the Johnson Coal Mining Company operated some mines in the Hocking Valley and since then its properties have been chiefly absorbed by the Lorain Coal & Dock Company. He had been president and treasurer of the other corporations named and he is still a large stockholder and a director and member of the advisory committee of the Lorain Company, which maintains its general offices in Columbus, and operates mining properties chiefly in Belmont County, Ohio. The company also owns 16,000 acres of coal land in Marshall County, West Virginia, 5,000 acres in Logan County, West Virginia, with two mines in operation, and 14,000 acres in Belmont County, Ohio, with five mines in operation.

Mr. Johnson, after 35 years of carrying heavy responsibilities as manager and official in the coal industry, retired about 1915, and has since spent most of his time at his attractive rural home of "The Oakland Farms.' The farm was acquired by him in 1898 and now comprises over 1,400 acres. He has since made it equal to the best farm anywhere for purposes of feeding cattle. The feeding sheds accommodate 1,000 head of cattle, and the equipment also includes a large grain elevator with electrically driven machinery for grinding feed. There are several immense silos and a part of the crop of corn raised on the place is converted into silage. Mr. Johnson has made a close study of scientific feeding methods and has proved the value of the balanced rations. Unlike many wealthy men, he has operated this farm not entirely as an expensive luxury, but has made it profitable as well as a source of recreation. On the farm he has a beautiful home with attractive grounds. For several years Mr. Johnson has made a practice of buying calves on the Texas ranges and feeding them at "Oaklands" until they are a little more than a year old. They are then marketed at David Davies Packing House, Columbus, and go to the consumers in the form of "Thomas Johnson's Baby Beef," a product highly esteemed in this section of Ohio.

Mr. Johnson is a trustee of the Broad Street Methodist Episcopal Church. He has long been a member of the Masonic fraternity, having been admitted to membership in the order when he was 21 years of age. He has received the Thirty second Degree of the Scottish Rite, is a Knight Templar, and a Noble of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the Columbus Country Club and Athletic Club of Columbus. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, in which he served as director for many years.

From:
History of Franklin County, Ohio
By:Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis 1930


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