It is generally considered by those in the habit of super-ficial thinking that the history of so-called great men only is worthy of preservation, and that little merit exists among the masses to call forth the praise of the historian or the cheers and appreciation of mankind. A greater mistake was never made. No man is great in all things,and very few are great in many things. Many, by a lucky stroke, achieve lasting fame, who before that had no reputation beyond the limits of their neighborhood. It is not a history of the lucky stroke which benefits humanity most, but the long study and effort which made the lucky stroke possible. It is the preliminary work-the method -that serves as a guide for the success of others. Thus it appears that the lives of the masses out of which come the men who control the world, will furnish the grandest, truest lesson for the benefit of humanity. Among the successful and popular business men of Ozark, stands Z. A. Johnson, who is a member of the well-known grocery establishment of Wolff & Johnson. He was originally from the Hoosier State, born in Owen County February 16, 1851, and is a son of J. S.and Hannah (Dean) Johnson, natives of Indiana and Ohio, respectively. His grandparents on both sides came originally from Virginia, where they were among the prominent families of that grand old State. Until 1864 our subject remained in his native State, and then accompanied his father to Iowa, settling in Clark County, at Osceola where they remained until 1866. They moved to Kansas, and thence, in 1868, to Missouri, locating at Carthage, where they made their home until 1873, when the family settled at Ozark. Our subject was fairly educated in his native State, Iowa and Kansas, and in 1870 started out in business for himself. Possessed of much energy, perseverance and business acumen it would have been strange had he not made a success of whatever he undertook. For some time he was engaged on the railroad, and then followed mining in zinc and lead for about ten years. In the year 1885 he was elected on the Republican ticket sheriff of Christian County. His ability and fearlessness in the discharge of his duties gave satisfaction to all, regardless of politics, and he was reelected to that position twice, serving from 1885 until 1890. He has ever affiliated with the Republican party, is well known all over the county, and was sheriff during the Bald Knob troubles. He has held a number of public offices in Ozark, being deputy sheriff and city marshal, and so well did he fill those positions that he was elected sheriff by a large majority. Fraternally Mr. Johnson is a member of Friend Lodge No. 352, A. F. & A. M., at Ozark.
In choosing his wife, he selected Miss Maggie Boyd, a native of Wright County, Missouri, and the daughter of Samuel Boyd, who was an early pioneer of Ozark. To this union three children were born, namely: Harry, Bernice and James. Mr. Johnson and family reside at Ozark, where they have a pleasant home, and the family attend the Methodist Episcopal Church. Mr. Johnson is interested in the grocery business and the Ozark Furniture Company, and is also a stockholder and director in the Christian County Bank. He is a self-made man in every sense of that much-abused term, and his natural shrewdness, combined with industry and perseverance, brought him to the front as one of the most successful business men of the city. In the grocery business operated by himself and David Wolff, they handle staple and fancy groceries, and are doing an annual trade of about $20,000. The business is conducted on a sound and liberal basis, and the public places in it a full measure of confidence.