Orange County, Florida

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Orange County FLGenWeb: Biographies: Charles Ezekiel Johnson

Source: "History of Florida: Past and Present, Historical and Biographical," Volume 2, Harry Gardner Cutler, Lewis publishing Company, 1923, Florida.

Charles Ezekiel Johnson

Charles Ezekiel Johnson, president of the South Florida Foundry and Machine Works, at Orlando, Orange County, is consistently to be designated as a pioneer m this important line of industrial enterprise in Florida. In 1886 Mr. Johnson came to Orlando in company with the late Hon. Edward F. Sperry, and the two here established the second foundry and machine shop to be placed in operation in this state. Mr. Johnson has continued his active alliance with the enterprise from the time of its inception to the present and has been a force in the development of the business from one of modest order to one of broad scope and importance. His son Edward H. is now secretary and treasurer of the company, and the son William P. is its vice president. This progressive concern has contributed much to the industrial and commercial prestige of Orlando and the subject of this review has impregnable vantage-ground as one of the leading business men and honored and influential citizens of Orlando.

Mr. Johnson, a member of a family of three sons and one daughter, was born in New Haven County, Connecticut, on the 22d of November, 1852, and is a son of William D. and Mary (Strong) Johnson, the former of whom was born in Connecticut, of Colonial New England ancestry, and the latter of whom was born in the state of New York. The father long held the position of master car builder for the New Haven Railroad, and he continued his residence in Connecticut until his death, at the age of_ seventysix years, his widow having been eighty-one years of age when she passed to the life eternal.

Charles E. Johnson acquired his early education in the schools of New Haven, where his ambition was manifested by his attending night school after he had initiated his active association with business. He was but fourteen years of age when he began the battle of life for himself, and he has been continuously dependent upon his own resources since that early period in his signally active and successful career. His first position was that of office boy for a hardware manufacturing company in the city of New Haven, and later he learned in the same establishment the trade of patternmaker. For the purpose of adding to his technical knowledge and experience he later entered the employ of the Farrel Foundry Company, Ansonia, Connecticut, and there he remained until he made his independent venture by coming to Orlando, Florida, in 1886, as noted in the opening paragraph of this review. Orlando was a mere village at the time when Mr. Johnson here established his home, and it is a matter of deep satisfaction to him that he has been able to contribute to the civic and material development and upbuilding of this fair little Florida city, his public spirit having been shown in civic liberality and progressiveness and in his effective service as a member of the City Council and in other local positions of public trust. No citizen of Orange County has more secure place in popular confidence and esteem, and, while at all times unostentatious and free from self-seeking, Mr. Johnson has had much of leadership in the directing of public sentiment and action in his home city and county.

At Ansonia, Connecticut, in the year 1879, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Johnson to Miss Julia Pratt, who was born and reared in that state, and their companionship during the long intervening years has been one of idyllic relations and associations, as attested by the emphatic and appreciative statement of Mr. Johnson: "If we had to do it over again, we would gladly do so." Of the two sons of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson mention has already been made, and the two daughters are Misses Marcia and Dorothy, who are popular factors in the representative social and cultural activities of their home community and who are giving a portion of the year 1922 to a tour of Europe.