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Samantha (Ream) Johnson

Samantha (Ream) Johnson was born on or about Jan. 16, 1853 (or 1854) in Ursina, Somerset County, PA, the daughter of Levi and Hila (King) Ream.

Circa 1870, when she would have been about age 17, she entered into marriage with Moses T. Johnson (Aug. 1846-1901), son of Wesley and Electa Jane Johnson of Indiana. They resided initially in Osceola, Clarke County, IA.

Samantha bore three children, of whom only one was living as of 1900, Ida "Pearl" Johnson.

When the federal census was taken in 1880, the family dwelled in Osceola, with Moses marked as a retired merchant, suffering from "weak lungs," and with Samantha's unmarried sister, music teacher Ida Ream, living under their roof.

The family may have lived at one point of time in Fairbury, Jefferson County, NE. Then in 1900, the U.S. Census shows the Johnsons on a farm in Green Bay, Clarke County, IA, with their daughter and Samantha's elderly father in the household, along with boarder Davis Pollock. Daughter Pearl was listed as a teacher of music.

Sadly, Moses succumbed to the angel of death on June 11, 1901 at the age of 65. Interment of the remains was in Maple Hill Cemetery, Osceola.


Old mill and dam in Neligh, NE, near Samantha (Ream) Johnson's home in 1910


Circa September 1910, Samantha dwelled in Cedar Rapids and made news in the gossip columns of the Muscatine Journal for visiting with her niece Vida Garretson and sister Martha Park of Osceola, just prior to leaving for Wyoming.

That same year, census records of Neligh, Antelope County, NE indicate that the widowed Samantha resided with 79-year-old widow Eleanor Rice, 38-year-old bank cashier Thomas Pexton, 21-year-old niece Lena Ream and 18-year-old niece Stella Ream, the two nieces having been born in California in the 1889-1892 timeframe. That same year, the nieces were placed as wards in the home of the Headlees of Osceola, IA. 

In 1915, at the death of her millionnaire brother Norman, Samantha received a life trust bequest of $25,000 from the estate and was named in the New York Times.

Evidence hints that in 1930, Samantha and her daughter were roomers in the household of Amanda Ferguson in Sheridan, Sheridan County, WY. Samantha had no occupation, and daughter Pearl was marked as a musician having her own studio. This all needs to be confirmed.

Samantha died in Los Angeles on March 5, 1942. Funeral services were held at the Pierce Brothers Funeral Home, with a death notice printed in the Los Angeles Times.

The Johnsons are named in the 1911 book History of Linn County, Iowa: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2, by Luther Albertus Brewer and Barthinius Larson Wick.

~ Daughteer Ida "Pearl" Johnson ~

Daughter Ida "Pearl" Johnson (1876-1961) was born on May 24, 1876 in Nebraska. 

Single at age 33, in 1910, she lived at home with her widowed mother in Neligh, and apparently never married. 

She relocated to southern California, and circa 1940, made her home on Beach Street in Los Angeles. For many years, she supplemented her income by taking in roomers, including Clarence E. Mercer during the late 1930s and early '40s. 

She died in Los Angeles County on Feb. 4, 1961.


Copyright 2002, 2009, 2012, 2014-2017, 2022 Mark A. Miner