Benton O. Johnson, one of Redlands best known and highly respected citizens, is a native of Connecticut, born at Bethlehem, April 20, 1855. His parents were David and Sophia (Stone) Johnson, both of whom came of old Connecticut families, and the father a merchant. B. O. Johnson was but two years of age when his parents removed to the South. They resided at various places throughout the Southern country, among them New Orleans, Matamoras, Brownsville, etc., and the outbreak of the civil war found the elder Johnson carrying on the dry-goods business. In 1863 the family left the South and returned to Connecticut, trade being much interfered with on account of the war. They located at Middlebury, whence they afterward removed to West Haven. At the last named place and at New Haven, the subject of this sketch was educated. He commenced his business career as a drug clerk with Dr. Shepherd, at West Haven, with whom he continued for five years; then went in business for himself at Deep River, Connecticut.
There he remained until 1883, when he came to California, locating at Redlands. He followed ranching two years, but then gave it up to resume mercantile life. He purchased the store formerly conducted by George A. Cook, in Lugonia, and was in business there until February, 1889, when he sold out to V. L. Mitchell, with whose establishment he is now connected. He was married at West Haven, Connecticut, September 14, 1880, to Miss Minnie R. Brown, sister of F. E. Brown, of Redlands. They have two children, viz.: Hazel and Walter.
Mr. Johnson has built two residences, which are a credit to Redlands. The first one is now the property of R. J. Waters. Mr. Johnson’s present residence was built in 1888, and he moved into it in June of that year. It is a very handsome and well constructed building, and occupying, as it does, the most commanding site in Redlands, presents a striking and beautiful appearance from almost any point of view in the city.
Mr. Johnson is a member of Annawan Lodge, No. 115, F. & A. M., West Haven, Connecticut, and of Burning Bush Chapter, R. A. M., of Essex, Connecticut. He also belongs to Webb Lodge, I. O. O. F., Deep River, Connecticut. In politics he is a Republican. He is a member of the Congregational Church.