“Richard Hartwell Johnson” Excerpt from a book:
Author: Clement A. (Clement Augustus) Lounsberry
Title: North Dakota history and people; outlines of American history (Volume 3)
Publisher: Chicago, The S.J. Clarke Pub. co.
Contributor: New York Public Library
From pages 115-116:
RICHARD H. JOHNSON
Richard H. Johnson, vice president of the First National Bank and accounted one of the valued, representative and honored citizens of Dickinson, was born at Eastford, Connecticut, in 1855. His father, Samuel A. Johnson, a native of Massachusetts, became a resident of Minnesota in 1856 and cast in his lot with the pioneer settlers of the St. Charles district, where he began farming. Subsequently he turned his attention to the hardware business, in which he was actively engaged to the time of his death, which occurred in 1910.
His wife, who bore the maiden name of Mary Cemantha Carpenter and is a native of Connecticut, is now living in St. Charles, Minnesota, at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.
Richard H. .Johnson was the second in order of birth in their family of six children, five of whom are yet living, one having died in childhood. He pursued his education in the public schools of Minnesota, and subsequently was graduated from the State University of Minnesota in the class of 1882, with the degree of B. S. Still later he entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he completed a course in 1884. winning the LL. B. degree.. In the spring of that year he removed to Bismarck. He had first come to North Dakota in 1878, at which time he settled on land near Jamestown, and through the capable management of his business affairs he earned the money that enabled him to make his way through college. He worked on the farm through the summer months and continued his education through the winter seasons.
When he had prepared for the bar he opened an office at Bismarck, where he remained in active practice until 1889. In that year he arrived in Dickinson, where he now makes his home, and accepted the cashiership of the Stark County Bank, which had been established in 1886. In 1890 he became associated with A. Hilliard in organizing the First National Bank of Dickinson, which was capitalized at fifty thousand dollars. This was the second bank in the state west of the Missouri river. In 1905 thecapital stock was increased to one hundred thousand dollars with a surplus of fifty thousand dollars. From the organization until 1914 Mr. Johnson continued to occupy the position of cashier and was then elected vice president. The success of this institution is attributable in substantial measure to his enterprising efforts. Thoroughly conversant with every department of banking, he has always recognized the fact that the bank is most worthy of support that most carefully safeguards the interests of its depositors. In the conduct of the bank conservatism and progressiveness are evenly balanced factors and that the institution receives as well as merits public confidence and support is indicated in the continuous growth of its business, necessitating an increase in its capital stock. Mr. Johnson is also interested in farm lands and at an early period was extensively engaged in raising sheep and cattle when the free range was a feature of North Dakota.
In 1889 was celebrated the marriage of Richard H. Johnson and Miss Mary M. Poole, a native of Wisconsin and a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Poole, who removed from Minnesota to Wisconsin and later to North Dakota, where their remaining days were spent, both passing away in Dickinson. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have become the parents of five children: Hartwell P., who is employed in the First National Bank of Dickinson; Mary M., at home; Richard Watt, a mining engineer, who is a graduate of the State University at Grand Forks, while from the Idaho University he received his Master’s degree; Beth C, who is attending the university at Grand Forks; and Ward K., a student at the Dickinson high school.
In politics Mr. Johnson is an earnest republican and for two terms he was mayor of Dickinson, giving to the city a businesslike and progressive administration characterized by reform and progress. He has also been a member of the school board and of the library board and he was a delegate to the republican national convention which nominated Taft.
Fraternally he is connected with the Elks lodge of Dickinson and he is a Mason of high standing, belonging to the lodge, chapter and commander in Dickinson and to El Zagal Temple of the Mystic Shrine at Fargo. He has passed through all the chairs in the York Rite bodies in Dickinson and has also been an officer in the Elks lodge. Such in brief is the life history of Mr. Johnson, who may well be called a self-educated and self-made man, his record being such as an American citizen holds in the highest honor. His ability and the strength of his character have placed him in the creditable place which he now occupies in business circles and in public regard. ,