Elsie Muriel (Love) Johnson, daughter of Rosa (Baker) and William Henderson Love, was born May 20, 1896, in Prescott, Arizona Territory. Her parents came to Prescott in 1888. She attended St. Joseph’s Academy her first two years of school. However, her parents moved to an eighty-acre ranch outside of Humboldt in 1908, and she attended Humboldt Elementary School and graduated from Prescott High School. She rode on horseback to Humboldt school, tied the horse outside the school, and took biscuits and jelly for lunch.
One day, as she was riding home from school, she saw several men sitting at a table in a shack. She went close enough to the shack to see the men were counting money. She rode home and told her father, who called the Sheriff. This led to a search for counterfeiters. The story of the manhunt for the men, and the death of one of the counterfeiters appeared in the Prescott Journal-Miner on November 24, 1909.
After high school, Elsie worked part-time in the Humboldt Post Office and the Humboldt Wingfield store on Main Street, where she met Nelson “Nels” Johnson, who was the general manager of the store. On October 27, 1917, Elsie and Nels were married in the parlor of the Head Hotel on Cortez Street in Prescott.
The couple had two children: Nelson Richard (August 16, 1921) and Beverly Jean Shuck (November 30, 1932). In 1918, Nels entered the army for World War I, and when he came home, he worked at a blacksmith shop in Humbolt until it closed and the family moved to Cottonwood. He then went into the freighting business and moved goods between Prescott, Humboldt, and Jerome.
In 1938, Nels purchased the Wingfield store in Humboldt and renamed it the Leeway Department Store. After Nelson finished Clarkdale High School, Elsie and the children moved back to Humboldt to join Nels, and the couple bought a home on Hecla Street.
Elsie was a member of the Cottonwood Civic Club, the American Legion Women, the Lady Elks, and the Democratic Committee of Prescott. Elsie loved gardening and had a flower garden wherever she lived, sharing her flowers with her neighbors. She reported on Humboldt weekly news for the Prescott Courier.
Elsie died on May 6, 1970, in Mesa, Arizona and is buried in Green Acres Memorial Gardens in Mesa, Arizona.
Donor: Beverly Shuck, daughter, 2012
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box J, F-Johnson, Elsie (Love)
Updated: 5/18/17, Gretchen Hough Eastman