Archibald Steel Johnson, a resident of Kansas nearly forty years, has one of the very interesting places historically considered. It is located a few miles from North Topeka on rural route No. 6 in Shawnee County, and is a farm of eighty acres which he bought in 1907. The history of this farm is especially interesting. The site comprises the old historic Town of Indianola. This town was established when the Territory of Kansas was new. It was the home of a large number of abolitionists, though there were two or three pro-slavery families in the same community. When this was written in 1916 Mr. Johnson was storing a large crop of alfalfa hay into the building which had formerly been the Indianola Hotel. That hotel is sixty-two years old, stands out weatherbeaten and inconspicuous, though many of its timbers are as sound as when it was built. It has associations with many prominent men and events of early Kansas. It was the meeting place of the abolitionists and the builders of the hotel and the founders of the town expected that the capital of the state would be put there. Not far from the hotel were the homes of some of the first settlers including the Readers, Owens, Rameys, McNowns and others.
Born in Belmont County in Eastern Ohio in 1864, Archibald S. Johnson is a son of Alexander Johnson, who was born in the same county of Ohio in 1822. Alexander was a farmer all his active career. In 1877 he brought his family out to Kansas locating in Pottawatomie County on the Vermilion River, but soon afterward moving down toward St. Mary. In 1895 he moved to Menoken, where he spent his last years as a farmer. In 1863 Alexander Johnson married Sarah McMullen of Belmont County, Ohio. Their seven sons and one daughter were named Archibald, George, Larkin, William, Frank, Charles, Mack and Cicely. Alexander Johnson was a man of good habits, strictly temperate, an honorable, upright and hard-working citizen, and was entitled to the respect and esteem which he always enjoyed.
Archibald S. Johnson was about fifteen years of age when his parents moved out to Kansas. In the meantime he had attended school in Ohio, and in Kansas found ample employment for his energies on his father’s farm. In 1890 he began independent farming at St. Mary’s and in 1907 he bought the eighty acres including the old site of the historic Town of Indianola, and is farming that land very successfully and profitably.
In 1890 he married Clara McCleery of Pottawatomie County, Kansas. Of their three children two are living, Leota and Jennie. Jennie is still at home, while Leota is the wife of Joseph Bimbarner.