JOHNSON, NIELS R. - Few, if any, men who came from Denmark fail in their undertakings. There seems to be something in the very fiber of these hardy sons of the North that makes failure impossible. They never shrink from work, no matter how hard it may be, and combined with their industry is the faculty of saving. Once they have the money they know how to invest it so as to gain a good return, and gradually the become wealthy, while others who appear to have had the same chances drop out of the race. One of these prosperous men of Danish birth is Niels R. Johnson, a farmer of Springfield Township, Sangamon County. He was born September 29, 1858, a son of John and Christina (Hanson) Johnson, farming people. In 1881 John Johnson brought his family to America, following Niels, who had come in 1879. The father settled in northern Iowa, where he farmed until 1907, when he came to Springfield, which continues to be his home. His wife died May 30, 1907. There were two sons and one daughter: John, of northern Iowa; Mrs. Pauline Handberg, of Springfield, and Niels.
Niels Johnson was educated in Denmark, and was early taught to work. He learned the carpenter's trade in addition to farming, and had some experience in both lines before he came to America. Landing in New York, he came direct to Springfield, arriving here May 10, 1879. Immediately he found employment in a dairy, and later embarked in a milk and dairy business for himself, conducting it very successfully until he bought a farm. He purchased ninety acres at one time and 1717 acres another, making a total of 261 acres, all of it being in Woodside Township, where he is engaged in general farming, with special attention to dairying. Few men have achieved more in the same length of time than this once poor lad, for in addition to his fine farm Mr. Johnson owns stock in coal mines in Illinois and is otherwise interested in properties which yield good incomes.
Mr. Johnson was married in Springfield October 14, 1886, to Minnie Wenneborg, born in Germany February 21, 1864, but brought to America at the age of three years by her father, Otto Wenneborg. He and his wife are now living retired in Springfield. The children of this family are: Mrs. Johnson; Mrs. Anna Steffen, of Springfield; Mrs. Mary Speidel, of Quincy, Ill., and Otto, of Springfield. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have had five children: Otto C., Paul L., Ella C., Carrie and Wilbert N. Mr. Johnson is a member of the Lutheran Church, as are all the family. He is a Republican and has served as School Director for a number of years, as well as Highway Commissioner one term. He is one of the most responsible men of his locality and enjoys unlimited confidence and esteem from his neighbors.