William Marcus Johnson
Contributor: comstock Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
William Marcus Johnson was born to Marcus Vigfus Johnson and Gudridur Wulfsson of Iceland (although Marcus was born in Denmark since his mother, Margaret, was there attending nursing school at the time of his birth.) Both Marcus and his wife Gudridur were converted to the church and were baptized in 1886. The family immigrated to Utah in July 1886 and settled in Spanish Fork. Like other pioneers, life in Spanish Fork was hard.
William Marcus was the sixth child and the second son. He was the first child to be born in the new house. In fact he was born the day the chimney was finished and the family for the first time enjoyed a new home rather than the old dug-out across the lot. William was born March 12, 1892, and from the beginning showed the promise of being the true heir of Marcus, his father. An heir to Marcus' sterling qualities of judgment, honesty, and strong principles. He was healthy and strong, and early in his life, left school to help the family by going to work. And thus his formal education ceased at the seventh grade. The philosophy of the old folks was that formal education beyond reading and writing was a luxury. And so the childhood of William Marcus is mostly known as a time of work and a preparation for work as a way of life. At a very early age he learned to cut hair and to shear sheep, a practice that was to be a financial savior for his family in later years.
William was baptized a member of the church when he was nine years of age. He was always connected with the church and was worthy to ask for and be granted a recommend for the temple when he was 21 years of age. He was active in the church, carrying different assignments in the 4th ward of the Palmyra Stake. He was in the Superintendency of the MIA and sang in the ward choir for many years. After being ordained a high priest, William filled a stake mission for the church. He was a ward and home teacher all his life and assisted in the building of the new ward chapel. He was secretary of his High Priest Quorum up until he was incapacitated.
William was never much of a sportsman, and thus never went hunting or fishing. One of the reasons he never went hunting was related to a shooting accident involving two of his boyhood chums, Gudney Olsen and David Butler. The three were out walking around with a 22 caliber rifle that William owned. Gudney had the gun and it accidentally discharged striking the Butler boy in the head. He almost died. This scared William so badly that he prayed earnestly for the boy's recovery. William took the gun and buried it in an irrigation ditch. The gun was discovered and was accidentally discharged by the finders and killed Thurbur. Later the same gun was accidentally fired blinding another boy in one eye. These incidents were never forgotten and left very marked impressions on William's mind that were to last all his life.
William worked for Utah-Idaho Sugar Co. as a young man during the refining operations and sheared sheep at various points in the desert country of Utah. Such places as Fairfield, Montpelier, Green River, Verde, Mounds, were names of sheep processing points that William went to in the early spring of each year.
One event that was to have a profound effect on the life of William Marcus was the building of a new canning factory on the diversion canal just south of Spanish Fork. A man, Nephi Edwin Hardy, was commissioned to manage a canning factory in Spanish Fork. He brought with him among his children, a daughter, Myrtle, whom William later courted and married in January 1914. (More of that story in Myrtle's history).