Johnson, John S.

1892-1964 | Carpenter, Alaska Railroad

John S. Johnson was born in Yettermark, Finland on August 7, 1892 and immigrated to the United States in 1909 at the age of seventeen. He first entered Alaska at Valdez, where he was employed as a hard-rock miner for four years. In 1915, he moved to the tent city of Anchorage and, like many of the new arrivals, was employed by the Alaskan Engineering Commission (AEC) to build the Alaska Railroad. In 1920, Johnson became a naturalized U.S. citizen after his petition for naturalization was approved by the U.S. District Court at Anchorage.[1]

Esther A. Bloomquist was born in Seattle, Washington in 1891. She came to Alaska with her parents, landing in Valdez in 1912. It was there she first met John Johnson, and when the family moved to Anchorage in 1918, they met again and in that same year were married. Johnson was employed as a carpenter for the Alaskan Engineering Commission and its successor agency, the Alaska Railroad, until his retirement in 1943. Esther was employed as secretary to attorney Leopold David, who later became Anchorage's first mayor in 1920.[2]

Esther Bloomfield Johnson died in 1950. John S. Johnson passed away in 1964. Both are buried in the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, Anchorage, Alaska. They were survived by their two sons, Forrest and Russell.




[1] Index card, John S. Johnson, July 14, 1920, in National Archives Microfilm Publication M1788, Indexes to Naturalization Records of the U.S. District Court for the District, Territory, and State of Alaska (Third Division), 1903-1991, Roll 8, U.S., Naturalization Record Indexes, 1791-1992 (Indexed in World Archives Project) [database on-line], (accessed August 3, 2016).

[2] John P. Bagoy, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage: Publications Consultants, 2001), 76.


This biographical sketch of John S. Johnson is based on an essay which originally appeared in John Bagoy’s Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1935 (Anchorage, AK: Publications Consultants, 2001), 76. See also the John S. Johnson file, Bagoy Family Pioneer Files (2004.11), Box 4, Atwood Resource Center, Anchorage, AK.  Photographs courtesy of the Johnson family.  Edited by Mina Jacobs, 2012.  Note:  edited slightly by Bruce Parham, August 3, 2016.

Preferred citation: Mina Jacobs, ed., "Johnson, John S.," Cook Inlet Historical Society, Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940,

Major support for Legends & Legacies, Anchorage, 1910-1940, provided by: Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, Atwood Foundation, Cook Inlet Historical Society, and the Rasmuson Foundation. This educational resource is provided by the Cook Inlet Historical Society, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt association. Contact us at the Cook Inlet Historical Society, by mail at Cook Inlet Historical Society, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, 625 C Street, Anchorage, AK 99501 or through the Cook Inlet Historical Society website,