Obituary Details

Mary C. Johnson

(05/03/1878 - 01/12/1964)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/23/1964

Mary C. Johnson, Daughter of Lusk Pioneer Family, Dies in Seattle

The death of Miss Mary C. Johnson, resident of early-day Lusk, brings back memories and details of those early days. She died January 12 in a nursing home in Seattle, Wash., at the age of 85, and her body was brought back to Lusk for burial.

Funeral services were held Friday from the Peet Chapel with the Rev. Theodore Foster officiating. Mr. J. P. Watson was organist. Mrs. Emerson Bonner, Mrs. Lyle Eddy, Al Davenport and Harry Lyon sang, "Abide With Me" and "The Old Rugged Cross."

Pallbearers were: Roy Johnson, Jack Cashman, Delbert Outhouse, Larry Anderson, Billy Miller and Robert Scott. Burial was in the Lusk Cemetery.


Miss Mary Johnson was born on May 3, 1878 in Columbus, Nebr. where her father owned and operated a grain elevator. In the early eighties her father came up into Wyoming territory and established a general merchandise store in what was then the tent town of Silver Cliff. His brother, Iver Johnson, had preceded him into the territory and was located at Cheyenne where he and the Richardsons of that town operated a general merchandise store known as Richardson and Johnson.

The store of Ellis Johnson, Mary's father was the first frame building in this mining town of Silver Cliff and the merchandise which stocked it was hauled up by ox team from Cheyenne which was the nearest railroad point.

When the town of Lusk was established the building was moved down, enlarged and redecorated and here Mr. Johnson continued in the merchandising business for many years. This building still stands on main street of Lusk and is generally known as the Lusk Free Lance building.

Mr. Johnson moved his family up from Columbus when the railroad came in 1886 and Mary spent her childhood in the frontier town of Lusk where she attended the public school and where her days were filled with the interests of that time - the arrival of the stage coach from Cheyenne, the Texas trail herds coming thru, the immigrant wagons which still came thru and pushed on west ahead of the railroad and, of course, the great excitement of the daily arrival of the train from the east, often coming back with emigrant cars which meant new settlers for the town and for the country. Everyone was glad to see new people, new neighbors. Lusk was a thriving, busy town and the country around it was fast settling up. After finishing school, Mary taught a country school at the old Fiddleback ranch north of Lusk.


Later the Johnsons bought a hotel in Alliance, Nebr. and Mary has said that this was the happiest, most exciting time of her life. Alliance was a railroad town and here the crews changed and most of the men stayed at the hotel. With what interest the family awaited their news from runs to the west! The Cavalry from Fort Robinson had chased the Indians back to the Reservation again, they had a silver strike up along the C.B.& Q. which might, be a big thing this time, the cattle and sheep men were having a round at it in Western Wyoming, could be trouble out of this. So the news and the times went to the West. From the East came news of political developments and, of particular interest, news of what was going on in that town of Omaha which was no longer considered raw and rough but civilized and sophisticated.

From Alliance the family moved to Seattle, Wash. Here Mary was active in the Presbyterian Church, the Rebeccas and the Royal Neighbors. Here she spent her last days. She was preceded in death by four brothers, Ivan, Anton, Lawrence and Alfred and by two sisters, Lenora and Ella. She leaves one sister, Emma Harwell of Berkley. Calif., and two nephews, Everette Harwell of Fresno, Calif. and Roy Johnson of Lusk and four nieces, Roberta Weaver of Iowa City, Iowa, Ruth Johnson of Cheyenne, Grace Cashman, Avaley Outhouse and Ihla Anderson all of Lusk.

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Photos courtesy of Joshua Brackett's Eagle Scout Project

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