My Grandmother, Alice May Johnson(nee Thompson) passed away on Dec. 1st, 2012, at age 99. She was born in 1913 in the small township of Belvidere, Minnesota. Below is a six-minute slideshow of photos starting from when she was a baby.
Alice left behind a self-written obituary and the following family history.
The last member of a pioneer family of Goodhue County, Alice May Thompson Johnson, was laid to rest in the Belvidere Union Cemetery on Dec. 5th, 2012. She was 99.
Prior to the Civil War, Joseph Thompson, his wife and personal belongings, left Middleboro, Mass., by water to "go west". They stopped at Galena, Ill. where Mrs. Thompsom and their baggage waited while Joseph went up the Mississippi River looking for a suitable place to homestead. At Frontenac, he went inland and discovered a beautiful valley at Belvidere Mills. There he staked his claim and returned to get his wife.
They first built a three-story house near the river, but it was not a friendly river, so they later built on higher ground. A brother from Massachussettes helped build the house and constructed the furniture for the first house. Later, Joseph gave land for the cemetery and a schoolhouse.
During the Civil War, two sons were born. They were Reno and Earl. Reno was named for two civil war Generals - Reno and Scott. Joseph was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to train inductees on his farm and it became a favorite pastime for local people to watch the marching, target practice, and other activities.
Reno and Earl later decided to homestead in Dakota Territory. Reno and his wife located near Oakes, North Dakota. Earl married in the newer territory. He died young, leaving a wife and daughter, Winona, who died in Murray, Kentucky at 106.
Reno's wife died in childbirth when their second son was born. Reno continued in Oakes, while sisters-in-law known as the Heyes sisters cared for the boys - Albert and Ralph. Eventually, Reno and his boys returned to live with Joseph in Belvidere.
In 1912 the new house was build on higher ground. Albert and Ralph married sisters, Estella and Mabel Johnson. Ralph had a son who had a daughter. She moved to California many years ago and all efforts to locate her have failed.
After Joseph died, Reno sold the farm to a neighbor and bought a smaller place on the edge of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, where he and Albert worked the farm. Albert had two children, Alice and Donald. Donald never married. He died in 1974. Alice married Harry G. Johnson. They moved to New Richmond, Wisconsin, in 1947. Their two children, Linda and Tommy, are successful in their chosen fields. Linda, a registered nurse, worked in Nursing Education at Eisenhower Medical Center and College of the Desert in Palm Desert, California. She has two sons, Marc and Christopher, and a granddaughter, Kaitlin. Tom was Director of Worldwide Logistics for Upjohn in Kalamzoo, Michigan. He has a son, who is a dentist, and a daughter, Kristen, who is a child psychologist.
A chapter in the local history closes with the passing of a family of hard working and patriotic pioneers.
This page last modified 2023-04-29