Henry was born to Dr. Joseph Harvey Johnson and Annie Teresa Williams in 1888. He was born in Centralia, Oklahoma and was one of five children consisting of three girls and two boys. One sister, Myrtle, became Myrtle Field, the matriarch of this Museum.
The family had moved to Indian Territory in 1896 to a location near Centralia, Oklahoma. A few years later they moved to Edna, Kansas before returning four years later, in 1900, to Centralia where Henry completed his schooling.
In 1904, at the age of 16, Henry went to work for the local telephone company where he became a telephone lineman. In 1915 he moved to Drumright, Oklahoma where he did electrical contracting. He subsequently moved to Hominy in November of 1920 where he lived the rest of his life.
In 1936 he married Helen. They were married for at least 7 years, but had no children.
While we don’t know when or where, we do know that in his career, Henry lost an argument with a pole he was climbing. The fall resulted in the loss of a leg. His 1942 draft registration indicated he was “not fit for service” due to “no right leg.”
Henry worked for the Oklahoma Utilities Company until it was purchased by the City of Hominy. In 1938 he went to work for the City of Hominy as Superintendent of the Electric Distribution System. Hominy generated its own electricity during his tenure in the plant located at the west end of Oak Street.
After Henry retired he became a locksmith. He ran for the office of Mayor of Hominy in the 50’s, but did not win. He was a 32nd Degree Mason and served as a Past Worshipful Master of the Hominy Lodge.
Henry passed away as the result of a heart attack on June 17, 1961.
At the Museum, several of his mementos are on display including:
–1942 World War II ration card signed by his wife Helen
–A 1954 letter to the “Citizens of Hominy and Community” highlighting the 1919 City Ordinance regarding electrical requirements of the National Electric Code. The letter reminded them of the need to “get a permit from the City of Hominy or be subject to severance of service and possibly fines”.
–The History Island displays some of Henry’s key making equipment, assorted keys, padlocks and instructions. All of his equipment is in the Museum archives.
Henry was a Key Man in Hominy. Think of that next time you unlock something . . .