Henry Johnson, one of the most prominent and skillful marine engineers sailing out of Milwaukee, was born in Torslov, Denmark, on November 13, 1858, a son of Christian and Bodel Marie Johnson, both natives of Denmark. His father died in 1868, but his mother is yet living at Torslov in the house where she was born, and it was in that city that Henry acquired his public-school education, attending until he was fourteen years of age.
In 1873 Mr. Johnson came to the United States with his older brother, going to Manistee, where he became an apprentice in the machine shop of Wheeler & Johnson, serving four years. In 1880 Mr. Johnson applied for and received engineer's license, and was appointed second engineer on the steamer Norman. The next spring he secured the tug Ida M. Stevens to sail, but before the close of the season joined the steamer Menominee, of the Goodrich line, as second engineer until November, when he was appointed second with Alex Curry as chief, in the steamer Wisconsin, remaining in her all winter. In the spring of 1882 he was appointed chief engineer of the steamer Oconto, of the same line, and ran her until August, 1883, when he returned to Ludington, and went to work in the machine shops of Goodsell & Crawford, going then to Manitowoc to take charge of the tug Gregory. In the spring of 1884 Mr. Johnson again entered the employ of the Goodrich Transportation Company, again as second engineer of the side-wheel passenger steamer Chicago, but in August he was transferred to the steamer Depere as chief, holding that until the close of the season of 1887. The next season after fitting out the Depere, he engaged, with R.P. Fitzgerald & Co., until October, when she became the property of Brown & Smith, of Buffalo. In 1889 Mr. Johnson was appointed chief engineer of the new steamer Marion, Capt. John Cochran, and had run her ten consecutive seasons, and was in her September 5, when she collided with the steamer Armour at Southeast Bend, which collision resulted in the sinking of the latter, but no lives were lost. That fall after laying up the Marion, Mr. Johnson joined the steamer St. Joseph. He has eighteen issues of license, and being a practical machinist and engine builder, has the happy faculty of keeping his machinery in repair without great cost to the owners. Being an industrious man, he works during the winters in the shops of the Sheriffs Manufacturing Company.
On February 4, 1883, Mr. Johnson was united by marriage to Miss Mary E., daughter of Francis and Annie Verhein, of Milwaukee. The children born to this union are Minnie E., Margaret, Edward F., Henry G. and Agnes Rose. The family homestead is pleasantly situated at No. 900 Humbolt avenue, Milwaukee, Wis. Fraternally, Mr. Johnson is a member of the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association, No. 9 of Milwaukee.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.