Elsie Wilhelmina Johnson

Elsie Wilhelmina Johnson
birth: 1 May 1896 in Miller now Gary, Lake, Indiana to Anders Ludvig “Gust” and Lovisa “Louise” Carlson Johannesson/Johnson
death: 25 July 1968 in Gary, Lake, Indiana
burial: Ridgelawn Cemetery, Gary, Lake, Indiana

marriage: 16 October 1919 Lake, Indiana
George Bryant Harbaugh
birth: 4 April 1894 in St. Joseph, Indiana to George Frederick and Margaret E. “Maggie” Long Harbaugh
death: 29 December 1954 in LaPorte, LaPorte, Indiana
burial: Ridgelawn Cemetery, Gary, Lake, Indiana

Children of Elsie Wilhelmina Johnson and George Bryant Harbaugh:

  • Betty Jean Harbaugh 1922-1988 William Lewis Samuelson
  • George Willard Harbaugh 1924-2004 Dorothy Louise Skogseth
  • Glenn Robert Harbaugh 1928-1995

Ancestor here lived in:

  • LaPorte, LaPorte, Indiana
  • Gary, Lake, Indiana

Other Information:

Elsie Wilhelmina Johnson was the daughter of Anders Ludvig “Gust” Johannesson and his second wife, Lovisa “Louise” Carlson. Anders changed his name to Gust Johnson after arriving in the U.S. from Norra Vi, Östergötland, Sweden, on 14 March 1882 with his first wife, Thilda “Anna Matilda” Johansdotter, and six children. Gust and Anna had four more children born in Lake, Indiana before she died. Gust married second on 16 September 1893 in Miller, now Gary, Lake, Indiana. Elsie was the middle child of three daughters from that union. Gust, a laborer on the railroad, died when Elsie was 10. Louise took in boarders. Elsie attended school in Miller which was under the direction of the Hobart, Lake, Indiana school district. She commenced her education in grade 8 on 9 June 1911. Elsie struggled in Algebra and excelled in all other subjects. A member of the Swedish Bethel Lutheran Church in Miller, Elsie attended the Miller Congregation Sunday School; she was confirmed on 21 April 1912. At the time she began dating her future husband, George Bryant Harbaugh, Elsie was employed as a mother’s helper to a Mrs. Meyers in Miller. Elsie and George Bryant had discussed marriage, however, WWI got in the way. Elsie lovingly saved each letter George Bryant wrote home to her during his wartime service in Europe. How frightening it must have been for her as she learned time and time again he had been injured and was recuperating in a base hospital, especially knowing that other Miller boys had been killed. George Bryant had purchased a camera for Elsie and she dutifully took photos of his Miller friends, hoping to cheer him. On 22 May 1919 Elsie received a telgram that George Bryant had made it back to the U.S. safely. The couple were wed by Edward Stark on 16 October 1919 in Lake, Indiana during a violent time in the community; a labor strike had shut down all work at U.S. Steel Corporation. George Bryant and Elsie purchased their first home on Michigan Avenue in the Miller section of Gary, next door to her mother and sister, Helen and five homes away from her sister Ruth who had married Bert Thompson. The couple purchased a Sears & Roebuck model home, the Westly, for $2,614.00 and had it delivered by railroad. George Bryant assembled the two story home and in 1925,the family moved in. Three children were born within six years, all were baptized at Augustana Lutheran Church. Since George Bryant had become a City of Gary fireman, the family was largely unaffected by the Great Depression. Luckily, the firehouse was just down the street from their new home. Elsie was a homemaker while George Bryant worked his way up to Lieutenant with the fire department. During WW2, the couple’s middle child, George Willard, was injured in a plane crash over Italy and became a POW. Like his father, George WIllard returned home to Indiana and had earned a Purple Heart. Elsie became a widow on 29 December 1954 when George Bryant died from a pulmonary embolism and pneumonia after a fall from a ladder while working as a fireman for the Kingsbury Ordnance Plant in LaPorte, LaPorte, Indiana. After his death, Elsie moved to a smaller home behind her son Glenn’s home on Miller Avenue in Gary. Her daughter, Betty, and Betty’s family, have moved into the Sear’s kit home. For a time, son George Willard also lived in the neighborhood on Howard Street. Elsie was fondly remembered by her grandchildren and dearly missed when she died of hypertension on 25 July 1968 in Gary, Lake, Indiana. A funeral service was arranged by Lach Funeral Home and conducted by Reverence C. Earl Page at the Chapel of the Dunes, Gary, Lake, Indiana. She was interred at Ridgelawn Cemetery in the Glen Park neighborhood of Gary next to her husband in Section 9, Lot 377, Grave 2 South.

For further information on Elsie Johnson and the Harbaugh family:
Lori Samuelson. Perseverence Amidst Adversity: The Ancestry of Three George Harbaughs. Amazon ebook, 2016.
Contact the submitter for a transcription of The Diary of Mary Ann Eyster Johnson. Submitter is currently working on an ebook about George Bryant’s military service during WW1.

Submitted by:
Lori Samuelson
Email: genealogyatheart@gmail.com

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