In researching the Johnson Family of whom Johnson Canyon is named for, I have found that the 1880 census of Yavapai County lists George, his wife, Elizabeth, 5 children – Maude (11), Albert C (8), Albert W (Arthur W. age 6), Gurtie (3) and Helena (less than a year old). He was listed as a sheep raiser. Both George and Elizabeth are listed as of English descent. There were also four herders, Fred W. Seaman who was born in Prussia, George Tipps born in Missouri, Wm. Koulb born in Arkansas and John M. Hanen born in Belgium. They ranged in ages from 20 to 60 with the Prussian being the oldest. Two other sheep raisers were George Helm from Canada and Frank Brown born in Arizona. Who the herders worked for is anyone’s guess but I would think it had to be for one of the other three sheep raisers since it was necessary to have help with the sheep.
What I find interesting in this census listing of names is that there are two new names for those raising sheep that are not on the 1903 Arizona Wool Growers Association list that I have previously listed here. Haskett in writing of the “History of the Sheep Industry in Arizona” in the Arizona Historical Review, 1936, does not list either man as part of the sheep raisers for 1890 in Coconino County. Yavapai County was not listed by Haskett as having sheep raisers. What happened to these men? Did they join with other sheep raisers, or were they bought out? The question needs to be answered as this puts two more names in the sheep industry in our state that had not come to light in the past. Reviewing the “History of Williams” by Fuchs, a master thesis, he lists men that were prominent sheepmen in Arizona in the Williams area for 1880, although he states his list is not exhaustive. He includes Gustave Reimer, James May, Philip Hull, Joseph B. Tappan, T. Fred Holden, Frank Riselda, Alphonse Humphreys, and Dr. E. B. Perrin. Many of these names appear as members of the Arizona Wool Growers Association in 1903 or were known to be in the sheep business. T. Fred Holden married George Johnson’s widow and they got out of the sheep business in about 1884 shortly after they were married.
One reason for the discrepancy may be the comparison of apples to oranges as the dates do not match. Haskett never had data for 1880 or included Yavapai County.
Platt Cline, author of They Came to the Mountain, has other names for the same 1880 census than those that I have listed above. I have not been able to rectify the difference in Cline’s listing of names on pg. 105 in his book with the actual census data. Cline has three others listed as sheep herders – Manuell Valardo, James White, and William Spencer. Cline only listed their age; no birth place.
These discrepancies need to be resolved. However what this information does is add to the list of those who were early sheep raisers in the state.