HENRY JOHNSON was born on December 11, 1886 in New Jersey to George H.
and Geneva Simpson Johnson. He was the second of two children, coming
23 months after older sister Estella. The family was living with
Geneva's widowed mother, Ellen M. Simpson, at 812 South
2nd Street, when the 1900 Census was enumerated. His father then
worked as a driver.
Johnson had gone out into the world by the time the 1910 Census was
enumerated. According to the 1930 Census, he married at the age of 20.
The 1910 Census shows him living with his wife, the former Ella Bell,
and her parents at 110 Cedar Street in Pennsauken, New Jersey. George
Johnson's occupation is listed as mechanical
dentist, this of course being an age where one did not have to be
a doctor to practice dentistry. By 1914 he and his wife had moved to
Camden. They lived with his parents at 823 Kaighn
Avenue, where George
Johnson continued to practice dentistry.
he registered for the draft in September of 1918 George Johnson was living
at 451 Henry Street in South Camden with his wife Ella, their
children, and his parents. He was then
working as a letter carrier out of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania post
office. The 1920 Census, taken in
January, shows him still living at the Henry Street address. Besides
his wife and parents, the household included four children, George
Marvin, Charles Gilbert, Harold, and Mary G. Johnson. The census taker
listed his occupation as mechanical dentist. That occupation would
change before the year ended, however.
H. Johnson was appointed to the Camden Fire Department on November 22, 1920 and reported for duty with Engine
Company 1 at 409 Pine
Street on January 1, 1921. He spent his entire career as a
fire fighter with Engine
Company 1. George H. Johnson was one of the six Black fire fighters, the others being Walter
W. Carter, Leroy
Hatchett, Charles W.
Cooke, Roscoe Tribbett and
Benjamin Walters, who were hired when the Department was reintegrated. The following year three more were added-
Byron Davis, Alfred E. Greene, and
1927 Camden City Directory lists George Johnson at 926 South 9th
Street. Fire Department records from 1931 also show George Johnson
living at 926
Street in 1931. He was still living at 926
Street and working as a fireman when his mother Geneva passed away
on February 29, 1940. By
the spring of 1942 George Johnson was retired from the Camden Fire
Department on pension. He and wife Ella had moved to the newly
constructed Clement T. Branch Village public housing project, and he
was still living there as late as 1947. By that time he had taken a
job as a guard with the Wickes Engineering & Construction Company,
then located at South 12th Street and Ferry
Avenue, across from Evergreen Cemetery.
Camden resident to his last days, George H. Johnson passed away in
July of 1975.