George M. Johnson, Pioneer Merchant
Old Store Closes Out
George M. Johnson Retires from Business in Yorkville
Published in the Kendall County Record, August 30, 1905
Edited and compiled by Elmer Dickson
With the closing of the business career of George M. Johnson, closes one of the last chapters of Yorkville's early mercantile history. Mr. Johnson has been recognized in past years as one of the leading merchants of the county. Now he feels that he has earned a rest from the responsibilities and cares of the busy world, and will retire and take life easier the rest of his days.
Mr. Johnson was a farmer after coming to this country. He worked for his father and then for himself. He formerly owned the farm now occupied by Thomas Tendall south of Yorkville. Altogether he was a tiller of the soil for 18 years. He then moved to Yorkville and embarked in the elevator and grain business for three years. In 1877, he moved into the Hiram Hopkins building and started a general merchandise store, which he operated at the same old stand up to last week when the transaction was completed. In the process he exchanged the stock for farmland in North Dakota.
During these years as a Yorkville merchant, Mr. Johnson has held the confidence of his patrons and of the general public as a just and upright man. This is evidenced in no better way than the many offices of public trust he has held. He was supervisor of the Town of Kendall for eight years. He discharged his duties in a conservative and businesslike manner. He is a power among his own people, the sturdy Scandinavian element that thickly settles the southwestern part of the county. He has always been an ardent worker in the Norwegian Lutheran Church, which dedicated a new $15,000 structure at Helmar a few years ago.
The two clerks who have been with Mr. Johnson so many years will likewise be missed in local business circles. Lawrence Hafenrichter, the ever jovial and witty mixer of languages, has been in the store for 26 years. Fred Ahrens, who has always been obliging and courteous to customers, has been behind the Johnson counters for 14 years.
Mr. Johnson wishes to thank the people for the liberal patronage they have given him these many yeas. He says, "If I were as young as I used to be I probably would not give up the store, but the people have been very kind and I want them to know that I appreciate it all, now that I am about to quit."