Week 45: Rich Man
My great-great grandfather, Ezekiel Henry Johnson (1830-1911), apparently didn't do too badly for himself when he went to California for the Gold Rush. According to a history of Clinton County, Indiana, Ezekiel started out as a blacksmith in Ohio. "After learning the trade he traveled in many cities, working at his trade. In April, 1853, he borrowed money from his father in order to go to California. He remained there eight years and four months, engaged in blacksmithing and mining, and during that time accumulated considerable wealth. He returned by the Panama route in August 1861." After his return east, he moved to Shelby County, Indiana, married Martha Seward, and established a mercantile business. In 1874, he moved to Colfax, Indiana, and started a new shop. At the age of 50, he retired, "thinking he had accumulated sufficient means," but after a year went back into business again. He didn't retire for good until he was 72.
The ambrotype of Ezekiel was probably taken while Ezekiel was in California. The ad is from a 1899 Colfax newspaper.
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