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John Lawrence Johnson diary and letter

 Collection — Folder: 1 (shares a clamshell)
Identifier: A 270

Scope and Contents

John Lawrence Johnson's diary includes an autobiographical sketch of his early days in Illinois, followed by a daily account of his journey from Illinois to Oregon with his parents in 1851. Johnson also used the back of the diary as a ledger. There are typed transcripts of excerpts from Johnson's diary.

The collection also includes a letter from Johnson's uncle, William A. Roelofson of Illinois, to his family in Oregon, written in 1908.


  • 1851-1908
  • 1851


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

John Lawrence Johnson (1830-1916) was born to Reverend Neil Johnson and Esther Roelofson of Tazewell, Illinois. He crossed the plains to Oregon with his parents in 1851, keeping a daily diary throughout much of the trip. After his arrival in Oregon, he married Viletta Kenady and they lived variously in Grande Ronde Valley, Marion County, Coos County, and Idaho, before settling in Marion County. Johnson was a member of the Washington Territory Mounted Volunteers during the Yakima War.


0.1 linear feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



John Lawrence Johnson (1830-1916) was a pioneer who came to Oregon with his parents in 1851. The collection includes Johnson's diary of that journey as well as a letter from Johnson's uncle.

Related Materials

Other collections relating to John Lawrence Johnson at Special Collections and University Archives include: Roelofson/Johnson Family photographs, PH 287.

Information about the Roelofson family, including John Lawrence Johnson and his parents can also be found at the University of Oregon Library in: The Roelofson family story : Lawrence Roelofson, Sr., and descendants, CS71.R65 R6.

The John Lawrence Johnson diary (with minor differences) can also be found at the Pacific University Archives: John Lawrence Johnson Diary, Ms.5

Physical Description

1 folder

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

Guide to the John Lawrence Johnson Diary and Letter
Complete Description
Archivists' Toolkit Project Team and Austin Munsell
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA