Biography of Lester C. Johnson

Having come to Colorado and located in Mesa county in 1887, and since then having devoted all his energies and time with the exception of the first year to the fruit interests of the section. Lester C. Johnson, living two miles and a half northeast of Fruita, has been a substantial contributor to the development and improvement of his neighborhood and the expansion of its wealth of production and opportunity, he was born in Knox county, Illinois, on May 29, 1864, the son of Daniel H. and Julia A. (Jones) Johnson, both also natives of that state. In the spring of 1870 the family moved to Republic county, Kansas, locating on a farm. The parents now live in Grand valley, where they have been since the fall of 1887. There are four children in the family all living, and Lester is the oldest. He was six years old when the family moved to Kansas, and in that state he was reared on the family home, assisting in its labors and sharing its trials, and attending the district schools in the winter months until the spring of 1887, when he came to Colorado and settled in Mesa county. Here he worked by the month for a year, then located on the ranch which he which at that time was wholly uncultivated and in a state of natural wildness. In the spring of 1889 he began to set out fruit trees, and this he has continued steadily year by year ever since, until he has now thirty-five of his acres in thrifty and promising young trees, many of which are in fine bearing order. His selections are mainly winter apples, and his crop of 1903 was large and profitable, yielding a net income of more than four thousand dollars, ten carloads of the fruit being shipped to Denver. His first planting produced five hundred and fifty dollars worth of apples on one acre in 1903, and the other bearing trees in proportion. While developing his orchards he raised strawberries, potatoes and similar small products, from the very start making his land yield good returns for his labor. On February 5, 1889, he was married to Miss Alice Handley, a native of Illinois. They have four children, Edith, Grace, Merwin and Harold. In politics Mr. Johnson is a Democrat, and while he is active and forceful in the service of his party at times, and never neglects its interests, he is not an office seeker. Fraternally he is connected with the Woodmen of the World, holding a membership in the camp of the order at Fruita. He is also a member of the independent Order of Odd Fellows at the same place.

Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.

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