Search This Blog

Monday, July 11, 2011


This map shows the area of Carl's 2nd Mission, 1897-99.  Sundsvall, a port about half way up the coast was his headquarters.  If you double click on the map, it will appear bigger and you can follow the little towns that he went to.  This area is half way up the Eastern Coast of Sweden on Bothnia Bay.  I have been told it is beautiful farm country. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


A new picture of Kenneth and Ruth Myrtle Dean has been added to the post about Ruth.  Click on her name on the topics on the left side of the blog, and you will move to that post.  The new picture is at the bottom of the post.  It was submitted Douglas Bingham.  CJC

Monday, July 4, 2011



Carl Oscar Johnson

In 1897, Carl Oscar Johnson had already been on one mission, was now on his second mission, and would later go on a third. His first mission comprised several months of travel and proselyting in Sweden soon after he joined the church in April of 1888 in Almunge, Sweden when he was 23 years old. Not long after, in 1891, he emigrated to America . His destination, of course, was Salt Lake City. He arrived in Salt Lake where he eventually earned his living as a skimmer in the Murray Smelter. He married Emma Olsen, and had two children, Wilford and Ebba by the year 1897.

That year, Carl was called to another mission in Sweden. It is probable that he hated to leave his wife and children, but he did have a very strong testimony of the gospel of Christ, and he must have felt a tremendous desire and sense of duty, as he accepted another mission call – to Sweden, the country of his people.

While in Sweden, he preached and converted. At one meeting, there was a young sister in the audience named Gerda Hansen. She was impressed with the “older” (15 years older than her) missionary’s preaching.

Carl stayed on that mission for 2 years then returned to Murray. Shortly thereafter, he was to experience the passing of his young wife. In the meantime, a story of Gerda, told in her own history, unfolded. She came to America under unusual circumstances. Eventually she traveled to Salt Lake, met the widower, Carl O. Johnson, and married him. While still living in Murray, they had two children.

Bothe Carl and Gerda were from the Swedish countryside – and Carl especially longed to farm, so he eventually took advantage of an opportunity to buy farm ground in the area near Shelley, Idaho. They lived in town, while he farmed the farm outside of town. Many of their ancestors can still point out the house they lived in during those years. After about 25 years in Shelley, they built a house on the farm and moved the family there.

In 1912, Carl again was called to travel to Sweden to convert people. At this point, besides Wilford and Ebba who were teenage children of his first marriage, there was Gerda, age 10, Allen, age 8, Twins Edwin and Edith, age four, and Ruth age 2 at home. Carl’s wife Gerda was left at home to run the farm, the home, and take care of the children while Carl fulfilled his call from the Lord. This was a great sacrifice for both Carl and Gerda, who had already given up family, friends, and country for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Carl’s missionary efforts did not end when he got back from Sweden in 1914. He continued to preach and convert in his own community throughout his life. A story has been handed down that he encouraged one friend for 15 years before the man decided to be baptized. Another type of missionary work Carl actively pursued was temple work for his ancestors. When he was 71, he spent a winter in Salt Lake doing temple work for his progenitors. When the Idaho Falls Temple was dedicated, he and Gerda moved to Idaho Falls in order to be near the temple where they could continue to do the saving ordinances for their families until Carl died two or three years later when he was 81. Gerda continue with the work as long as her health permitted.

It is likely that every missionary wonders about the fruit of his/her efforts. “Did they stay active?” “What happened to them?” Carl did stay in contact with some of his converts for awhile, but a broader picture of what he accomplished can be told by his ancestors.

One hundred years after Carl left from America to his second mission in Sweden (his first from America), his granddaughter received a call from a woman in California asking if she was related to a Carl Oscar Johnson. The reply of yes brought an excited explanation that she was of a family of strong LDS People who had settled in the state of Washington. Her ancestors had come to American after being converted to the gospel by Carl Oscar Johnson in 1898. There followed a happy and exuberant exchange of information about both families. Of course the vital link was the affection and love for a missionary 100 years passed by Carl’s ancestors, and the ancestors of those who were converted by Carl. Carl has remained a hero and part of their family legends.

Fortunately, Carl left some journal materials about his missions. The granddaughter had tried to translate the journals, and had laboriously completed a two month section when we was young. Now, after raising her children, she had begun to try to translate again, but realized the project was almost impossible. To her great joy, the Washington Swedish family was interested in the journals. She sent them copies. Following is a translation of several months of journal material from Carl’s mission in 1898 when he baptized the strong Swedish family who eventually settled in Washington. This translation is courtesy of Robert Safsten, an ancestor of the original converts. Carl’s writings are not flowery and sentimental, but they reveal a spiritual giant who was a very dedicated, hard working missionary who’s efforts were completely directed toward bringing souls unto Christ. Also included is a letter and explanation written by the translator, expressing his feelings about “Elder Johnson”.

In closing, let it be remembered that not only did Carl complete three Swedish missions with results now far and wide, and not only did he pay for research on his ancestry that resulted in hundreds of souls having saving ordinances performed for them, but Carl left a living legacy in his own descendants. There are hundreds of Carl Oscar and Gerda Theresia Hanson Johnson family members, the majority of whom faithfully serve the Lord because of their testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel Carl promoted throughout his life.

LETTER FROM ROBERT G. SAFSTEN in the state of Washington

(Robert G. Safsten translated parts of the Mission Journal of Carl Oscar Johnson that will appear on this blog.)

Robert G. Safsten

May 9, 1997]

Dear Sister Christensen,

Enclosed is a copy of the translation of the second half of your grandfather’s missionary diary. I hope I have done it justice, and can assure you that it was a pleasure to read and translate.

I was particularly impressed by his dedication and energy, and the strength of his testimony came through on every page. It also was very clear that the people in the communities he entered were impressed with him and that he quickly gained their confidence and personal friendship,. This was true of both those who accepted and those who did not accept the Gospel.

C.O. Johnson was truly a fearless champion of the Restoration, and it is easy to see why my grandparents and the others from the Liden area who emigrated to the United States loved and admired him.

Very sincerely,

Robert G. Stafsten


The translation mentioned above will appear in another post.


I have begun typing a copy of the parts of the mission journal of Carl Oscar Johnson which has been translated.  I will be adding this material to the blog in sections - by page number and year.  Consequently, eventually the last of the journal will appear at the top of the blog.  However, you can read it sequentially.  

To access it sequentially, look in the labels in the left hand margin under Mission COJ and you will find the entries numbered sequentially. 

The post concerning the mission journal of 1898 was translated by me when I was a young women and took a Swedish class.  It was then checked by a Swedish friend.

The  post of the other Mission Journal follow sequentially with a page contains an explanation from the translator in part 4.  The translator is Robert G. Safsten.  He is a descendant of converts of Carl when he was on his mission to Sweden.  See the post - Carl Johnson, a Great Missionary for the Lord.


Translation of Carl Oscar Johnson’s Mission Journal – pages 44-51

Robert G. Safsten wrote the following as a prelude to his translation:

Elder Carl O. Johnson was a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sweden, and served in the Sundsvall area in the winter 1898-1899. He often seemed to work alone, though from time to time his most regular companion was Elder John Anderson. During that time he spent a great deal of time in and around Liden, a village on the Indals River about 30 miles from Sundsvall, Vasternorland, Sweden, near the Gulf of Botnie. There he held numerous public meetings, often in the homes of certain families, some of which eventually joined the Church. Among those families were the Oslin, Selander, Larson and Linde families who later moved to Whatcom County, Washington State.

In the following translation I have added some punctuation (periods, commas, etc.) to make sentences more understandable. I have also used a free, rather than strictly literal translation in some places to make the spirit and intention of the diarist more clear in the English version. In all this I have tried to keep as close to the original structure as possible and that, naturally, has resulted in a narrative that is sometimes stilted and not particularly good English. To make the narrative more understandable, I have converted Swedish distances into American equivalents. (1 Swedish mile equals about 6.1 American miles.) Where it seemed to be important to explain parts of the text, I have included such explanations in brackets []. For easier reference I have included diary page numbers in the translation text in parentheses (). I apologize in advance for any errors, i.e. typos, spelling or translation flaws.

Carl Oscar Johnson’s Mission Journal – pages 44-51

(page 44)

Monday, the 19th [Dec. 1898] I left my friends in Gnarp and went [literally, walked] early in the morning with the intention of coming to Sundsvall and that went quite fast. I became very tired after the thirty-four miles [5 ½ Swedish miles] long trip. I found the brethren at home and ate some food and became strengthened.

On Tuesday we were invited by Sister Engberg for breakfast where after I visited a couple of other places. All were preparing for Christmas and there was nothing extra to do other than prepare ourselves for Christmas in the best manner but it [our Christmas] was nevertheless very simple. But the people in general were in constant commotion. I was home quite a lot during those days and did some tracting and whatever could be done. On Christmas Eve I received a present from brother John H. Anderson, a very nice album which was a very welcome gift (page 45) for which I felt very thankful. On Christmas Eve we ate with Sister Lind who had prepared a good meal for us and we had a happy evening. The weather is the most the most beautiful a person could wish for.

On Christmas Day we had a meeting in the forenoon at 11 o’clock and some members were present to which we bore our testimonies. The rest of the day we were with Hoglunds and had a very good time.

The day after Christmas [Annandagen] I was home in my room until afternoon when we were invited to Sister Klara Schader for the evening. We were there from 4 to 2:30 at night and had an enjoyable evening. The next day Brother Bohman and I visited Sister Engberg after which we went home and in the evening we walked to Hoglunds and we were there no more than 10 minutes before Carl Johanson and his wife came from Gnarpbruk for a visit. We were there together and had supper. (page 46) We then went home and those people stayed with us at the meeting room.

On Wednesday the 28th we had an enjoyable time at home playing music and singing, and in the evening at 7 o’clock we had a meeting which was very interesting even though there were not many present. After the service we had a baptismal service where the before named Carl Johanson with his wife, Klara, were presented and I performed the baptism. Everything went well and I and everyone felt very good and ratified for what had been done. We walked home and slept the remainder of the night and in the morning arose again strengthened by the night’s sleep. We administered the laying on of hands and welcomed these, our brethren, into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. And they felt very happy and blessed [that] we were together and had song and joy.

(page 47)

The following day they bid us farewell [literally, took their farewell of us] and traveled home, and brothers Anderson and Alstrom went up to Harnosand to help with Sister Lundqvists funeral. Br. Bohman and I walked out in turn to Gangviken and had a meeting there in the Good Templars hall, which [meeting] was good and well-attended, and to everyone’s satisfaction. We slept at Engstroms overnight. Afterwards we walked back to Sundsvall again and I was quite lame.

New Years’s Day the 1st of January 1899. We had our regular meetings, but very few visited [the meeting]. In the evening we were a Kubikenborg and visited Swedes and had music and song after which we went home.

Monday, the second, we were home during the day, and in the evening we were invited to Ortviken where some of the brethren had planned a good night.

(page 48)

We had a very enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, the 3rd. I bid farewell of Br. Bohman and walked a tour to Liden. It was very bad weather, but I struggled until I came to Lars Hogelin [at] Ostloning and slept there over night. The following day I went to [the village] Liden and stayed with Garfvare Hagstrom overnight after which on the next day, which was Twelfth Night, I went to Westana and came to J. T. Nordlund where I was welcomed and expected. [Apparently, Elder Johnson had been to Liden before and had made some acquaintances. The first part of the diary is not available to us, and therefore, details are not known] And I then heard what measures and steps the Friforsamling [a local church] had taken to hinder my work, namely, to expel the named [Nordlund] family because they had sheltered me, but they felt themselves fortunate and happy in this condition because they knew that they had done nothing wrong that could exclude them from the Lord.

(page 49-51)

On Twelfth Night I had a meeting at the Olof Nilsons and many listened with profound attention, and I spoke about the first principles of the Gospel as well as the organization of the Church and God’s love for his children. And the people wanted several more meetings.

I spent the night at Nordlunds and we had it very good and I helped him a little with wood the next day, and so we had a visit by Linde [Theodor?] from Langliden. In the afternoon a committee consisting of 3 prominent men from the Brodraforening [The United (Moravian) Brethren] whose purpose was to deal with Nordlund, but they had a difficult task because they [the Nordlunds}] had done nothing bad. They quickly found out that I was there which caused them to come in where I was, but I walked away, and they visited a meeting which I had (page 50) at the schoolhouse that same evening and one of them was very interested. I and Hordlund’s daughter, Klara, were at the Alfvar family and played and sang for them awhile after which I had a good meeting the same evening and many people were present. The next day, which was Sunday, I had 2 meetings there at the school or the same place and there were so many people that they did not have enough room in the hall, but they were in the [other] rooms, also, and the power of the lord was enjoyed in rich measure so it appears that many shall accept the truth around there.

Between these [two] meetings I was with Berman in the forenoon and was there until time for the next meeting and spoke [with him][. I slept there with the Johan Ostlunds for 2 nights.

Monday the 9th. I was again invited to the Bermans and had a long conversation with them. (page 51). After that I called on a couple of places on the way to Korsamon, and I didn’t arrive before 6 o’clock at night, and already people had begun to come to the meeting. And at 7 o’clock two rooms were filled with listeners. After the meeting’s conclusion there was a man who came to me and wished that I should come to Garkvisle and hold a meeting for which I promised to come after one week.

On Tuesday I left Selanders and went to Oda which was a new place for me. A friend to me, Aug. Hammarstrom rower me across the [Indals] river and followed with me there, and told me on the way that he was almost ready to be baptized for he was now convinced of the truth. I estimate that there were over one hundred persons at that meeting. However, I sense that it is hard to break the ice at this place, but I had a meeting next evening, also, and it begins to be somewhat better.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


The following is thanks to Sharon Nuttal,


Below is a picture of Winona Wilcox, daughter of Gerda Adelia Johnson and Warren Wilcox.  She is pictured with her uncle, Maurice Oscar Johnson on the right. 

Below is a picture of Warren and Gerda Johnson Wilcox in front of a 1929 Chevy.  These two loved to have fun, and had their picture taken in front of someone else's car, probably as a joke.