Biography of Christopher W. Johnson
Christopher W. Johnson, who in a steady competitive way has accumulated a most substantial fortune, is now president of the St. Louis Basket & Box Company, with which he became connected as an operative in the factory upon starting out in the business world almost four decades ago. Step by step he has advanced until he is thoroughly familiar with the minutest detail of the business and his success is attributable to his intimate knowledge of every phase of the work, combined with his genius in the management of men and his executive ability.
Mr. Johnson is a native of Chicago, Illinois, his birth having there occurred in 1864. He was a young man of nineteen years when in 1883 he came to St. Louis and secured a position with the St. Louis Basket & Box Company as a practical and experienced mechanic in his line. His faithfulness, thoroughness and capability have led to various important positions being tendered him by the firm from time to time and thus steadily he progressed until at length he was called to official position and for about a quarter of a century has been the head and practically the owner of this business, which is one of the largest manufacturers of veneers and panels in the west. Those who know aught of the record of the company say that its success is due entirely to Mr. Johnson’s exceptional ability as a manufacturer and an executive. He has put into service ideas of his own that have been very useful to the business, and sound judgment is manifest in his every act in connection with the interests of the St. Louis Basket & Box Company. Mr. Johnson is also a director of the Missouri Portland Cement Company, manufacturers of Portland cement and producers of and dealers in washed and screened Mississippi and Meramec river sand and gravel. He has likewise become identified with banking interests and his judgment is regarded as a valuable asset in the conduct of any business concern with which he is associated. He always expresses himself very clearly upon any matter which he discusses and the soundness of his opinions never fails to impress others.
Mr. Johnson has been twice married. He first wedded Lillian Grace Sherer in 1889 and after a happy married life of a quarter of a century she passed away in 1914. In 1916 Mr. Johnson wedded Miss Willa Helen Bradford of New York city, and their attractive home is the center of a warm-hearted hospitality.
Mr. Johnson belongs to several of the leading clubs but has never been a club man in the usually accepted sense of the term. In politics he has been a lifelong republican, unfaltering in support of the principles of the party yet never a politician. However, for twenty-three years be has served as a member of the St. Louis school board and is greatly interested in educational matters. On the board he has served as chairman of important committees and his fellow members of the board speak of him as “a man possessed of the most matured judgment, being thoroughly capable of passing upon all matters, especially pertaining to finances, as well as all other matters which vitally affect the board of education.” His is a most benevolent and charitable nature and his philanthropies are many yet of a most unostentatious character. He is a broad reader, especially of the current topics and interests of the day, and this, combined with his habit of clear thinking and his alert mind, makes him a most pleasing after-dinner speaker. He is a member of the Presbyterian church and no good work done in the name of charity or religion seeks his aid in vain.