Joseph Ellis Johnson photograph collection, 1850-1882  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Johnson, Joseph Ellis
Joseph Ellis Johnson photograph collection
1850-1882 (inclusive)
71 photographs
Collection Number
The Joseph Ellis Johnson photograph collection contains portraits of members of the Johnson family. The collection also contains photographs of the 1909 trip of Rufus Johnson to St. George showing Johnson's Canyon, property acquired by Johnson when he lived there and miscellaneous photographs of scenes in Utah.
University of Utah Libraries, Special Collections.
Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library
University of Utah
295 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT
Telephone: 801-581-8863
Access Restrictions

Materials must be used on-site; advance notice suggested. Access to parts of this collection may be restricted under provisions of state or federal law.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

(Please note: the following was adapted from the biography found in the Register of the Papers of Joseph Ellis Johnson, (Ms 110.) Manuscripts Division, Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah, 1977. That biography in turn was from an autobiography written by Joseph Ellis Johnson in June 1882.)

"J. E. Johnson was born at Pomfret, Chautauqua Co., New York, on the 28th of April 1817. He moved to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1832 and was baptized as a Latter-day Saint in 1833. He accompanied the Kirtland Camp in 1838. He taught school in Springfield, Illinois in 1840. He went to Nauvoo, Illinois in 1840. He married Harriet Snider by Joseph Smith in 1841 [sic: actual date of marriage was October 6, 1840]. He accompanied Joseph and Hyrum Smith on their way to Carthage jail and was taken prisoner when the mob entered Nauvoo. He went to Miller's Hollow, now Council Bluffs, in 1848. He built the first house in Pottawattamie County (other than log cabin). He was postmaster at Council Bluffs for five years and obtained a change of name from "Kanesville" to Council Bluffs. He was a member of the first city council for several years. He established the Council Bluffs Bugle in 1852. The office and store were destroyed by fire in 1853. It was restored and published until 1856. The Bugle had much to do in getting the capitol of Nebraska located at Omaha.

"He was elected to the Nebraska legislature but was too much of a Democrat to get a seat. He opened the first store in the city of Omaha and sent the first train of goods to the Denver, Colorado (Cherry Creek) mines. In 1854 he published the Omaha Arrow, the first paper published on Nebraska soil, and the same year accompanied the first party of explorers for a railroad crossing on the Missouri River and Loupe Fork of the Platte River. He wrote the first article published favoring the North Platte route for the Pacific Railroad and contended for same until so located. He crossed the plains to Utah and back in 1850. In 1857 he started the Crescent City Oracle and laid out the town of that name. In 1858 he published the Council Bluffs Press. In 1858-1860-1861 he published The Huntsman's Echo at Wood River, Nebraska. In 1861 he moved to Utah. In 1863 he established the Farmer's Oracle at Spring Lake Villa, Utah County. In 1864/5, he removed to St. George and began a supply garden and nursery. In 1868-1869 he published Our Dixie Times, afterward the Rio Virgen [sic] Times. In 1870 he published the Utah Pomologist and Gardener, monthly for several years. In 1876 he went to Silver Reef and put up a store and printing office but sold part of office before the paper was fairly started. In 1879 it was burned out, with others. He restored the store immediately, but on a larger scale."

In 1882, Johnson once again moved at his church's call, this time to settle what would become Tempe, Arizona. However, his strenuous efforts all his life finally caught up with him, and he passed away on December 17, 1882.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The photographs of Joseph Ellis Johnson consist of 71 black and white prints. Included among his photographs are pictures of himself and his descendants as well as views of southern Utah communities and scenery. Most depcit his family, with only one image (number 8) being Joseph E. Johnson. Many older formats are represented, with albumen prints and cabinet cards the most common.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Joseph Ellis Johnson family, 1850s-1882Return to Top

Container(s): Box 1

Container(s) Description Dates
Family portraits
  • 1: B. F. Johnson
  • 2: Ben Johnson home, Mesa, Arizona, circa 1885
  • 3: Charles Ellis Johnson
  • 4: Unidentified
  • 5: C. E. Johnson
  • 6: Ezekiel Johnson
  • 7: Jessie E. Johnson (Mrs. Frank Miller)
  • 8: Joseph E. Johnson
  • 9: Four of J. E. Johnson's daughters: Rosemary (Eliza), Emily Maude (Eliza), Mary Julia (Harriet), Blanche Alpine (Harriet) [note: the name in parentheses indicates which one of Johnson's wives was the mother]
  • 10: Rufus D. Johnson. Age 25
  • 11: Geo. [George?] Ellwanger
Rufus D. Johnson trip
  • [Note: all photos in Folders 2 and 3 were removed from a black-page scrapbook. The captions are those supplied in the scrapbook, presumably by Rufus D. Johnson.]
  • 12: Baby's head
  • 13: Picture rocks on Black Ridge
  • 14: Picture rocks on Black Ridge
  • 15: Sugar loaf
  • 16: Sugar loaf
  • 17: Me and the Sugar Loaf, September 10, 1909 [hand-tinted]
  • 18: Nooning, Mtn. Meadows. Rufus Johnson kneeling right
  • 19: Flashlight, September 8, 1909. Supper at Chadburn's Rufus D. Johnson (far left) and others
  • 20: Holts-ten minutes for refreshments
  • 21: Lost in the hills, September 8, 1909 Between Modena and Enterprise. Rufus D. Johnson in buggy
  • 22: All aboard for St. George Modena, September 8, 1909
  • 23: Southern Utah, Johnson's Canyon
  • 24: Hills near Johnson's Canyon
  • 25: Hills near Johnson's Canyon
  • 26: [no caption: man on horseback on top of sand dune]
  • 27.: Johnson's Canyon, September 16, 1909 near St. George
  • 28: Johnson's Canyon, September 16, 1909 near St. George, Utah
  • 29: Southern Utah, near Johnson's Canyon
  • 30: St. George from the Rio Virgin, September 11, 1909
  • 31: St. George Temple, September 14, 1909
  • 32: St. George from the north, September 16, 1909
  • 33: St. George from Black Ridge, September 15, 1909. Rufus D. Johnson on horse.(hand-tinted)
  • 34-35: Fruit festival, September 1909, St. George, Utah
Rufus Johnson trip
  • 36: Johnson's old library and printing office, St. George, Utah. September 1909
  • 37: Old library and printing office, St. George. 1909
  • 38: Old Johnson store, St. George. 1909
  • 39-41: The old Johnson home at St. George. September 1909
  • 42: The old Johnson home at St. George, interior. September 1909
  • 43: Harriet Snider Johnson's home near St. George. "Ellislea," now owned by Dell Wilcox. September 13, 1909
  • 44: Old Johnson property, St. George. 1909
  • 45: A bend in the Rio Virgin
  • 46: Johnson field, Santa Clara Creek
  • 47: Alex Mornig vinyard, Washington field. Malaga grapes
  • 48: California grapes in apricot tree on the circle. Rufus D. Johnson in tree
  • 49: Old Johnson property, St. George
  • 50: The farm house, now owned by John E. Page, September 13, 1909
  • 51: "Shrine of Art" the farm house interior. Owned by John E. Page. September 13, 1909
  • 52-54: Old Johnson property, St. George, Utah
  • 55: Old Johnson property, St. George. Rufus D. Johnson on horse
  • 56: Remnants of Silver Reef, Utah. "How are the mighty fallen" 1909
  • 57: Old Johnson property, St. George. Rufus D. Johnson, middle. 1909
  • 58: Silver Reef, Utah [cemetery]. 1909. Rufus D. Johnson on porch
  • 59: Remnants of Silver Reef, Utah. "How are the mighty fallen" 1909. Rufus D. Johnson on horse
Miscellaneous images
  • 60: Silver Reef, Washington County, Utah. Given to RJ [Rufus Johnson?] by Mr. Pendleton, whose childhood was spent at Silver Reef
  • 61: The old paper mill. [note: looks like the mill in SE Salt Lake valley, now known as The Old Mill. Distinctive outline of Mt. Olympus in background.]
  • 62: U.S. soldiers shot by "Wild Bill" Hickok, Dodge City, Kansas [sic: pencilled note states: "Wild Bill Hickok was not a marshal in Dodge City, shot two soldiers in Hays, Kansas"]
  • 63: Castle Gate, Utah. Price Canyon
  • 64: Deseret News building, Tithing building, Salt Lake City, 1861
  • 65: Deseret News and Tithing office
  • 66: "Block U," University of Utah
  • 67: Postcard of Johnson's Kodaks and Curios. Inscription on front states: "This is our State Street shop, to which we [? illegible] in June." Postmark on back is dated 1909
  • 68: "Blake Street in the 1400 Block where original Blake and Williams store stood in 1858. It's in the warehouse district now, mostly old ones, but still some thriving modern shops. The City has plans to renovate the whole Downtown Denver District; rebuild a lot of it and redeem the area for tax purposes, as adjoining sections now constitute the old "red light" district; they want to get it back uphill"
  • 69: Photostat of front cover of Abridged Mormon Guide..., 1864. Written by Joseph E. Johnson. Original in Manuscripts Division, MS 110
  • 70: Photostat of front cover of Abridged Mormon Guide..., 1864. Written by Joseph E. Johnson. Original in Manuscripts Division, MS 110
  • 71: Postcard of Latter-day Saints University

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Johnson, Rufus David, 1882---Photographs
  • Family Names :
  • Johnson family--Photographs
  • Geographical Names :
  • Saint George (Utah)--Photographs
  • Utah--Photographs
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints--1909-1958
  • Portrait photographs--1909-1950