The Valley of Heart's Delight



A public-spirited citizen of San Jose who dates his residence in Santa Clara County since 1879 is Nils Johnson. He was born on the southern coast of Sweden, near Engelholm, Skane, on April 6, 1860, and is the eldest son of Johannes Swenson and Christina Johanson, both natives of the same place, who were successful farmers. In younger days the father was a ship carpenter and a cabinet maker.

Nils Johnson received his education in the public schools of his native land, and at the age of fourteen was confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He contined working in the farm for his maternal grandfather until nineteen, and in 1879 started out to make his own way in the world and set sail for America, the Mecca of his ambitions. Upon his arrival he made his way to San Jose, California, where he located. He immediately went to the ranch of his Uncle Nils, and was employed there for a short time; then he removed to Bisbee, Ariz, and spent two and a half years in the mines. This was in early days when things were wild and woolly. Then he made his way to Socurro County, N. M., engaging in prospecting, but did not find any pay streak. When his money was gone he returned to Bisbee and continued working in the mines two years, and then returned to San Jose. He then started then in the hotel business.

In 1893 Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Hilma L. Peterson, also a native of Sweden, who had come to San Francisco with her sister. Mr. Johnson then continued in the hotel business in San Jose, operating the Scandinavia Exchange on Post Street for three years. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson were the parents of five children; Hilding is an ex-service man, serving overseas in the World War; Helen is the wife of Charles Kelley, and they reside in San Jose; Narrine is the wife of Charles J. Freedman, of Palo Alto; Eben Bertel served in the California National Guard on the Mexican border and now resides in San Jose; George is deceased. Mrs. Johnson passed away September 26, 1900.

Soon after arriving in America, Mr. Johnson completed his citizenship and his loyalty to his adopted country is a matter of pride to him. For over thirty-five years Mr. Johnson has been a member of the Odd Fellows, being initiated in Bisbee, Ariz. He is now a member of Observatory Lodge I.O.O.F., San Jose, and his political affiliations are of the Republican platform. He owns valuable real estate on the Almaden Road and is now living retired from active life on this ranch. He is planning sitll more improvements and will build additional houses to rent. Living retired as he does now, he can look back upon a clean, industrious, well-spent life, and whenever or wherever possible has given his aid toward the progress and building up of his locality.

Transcribed by Marie Clayton, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,
 published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 519