Martha Ellen "Sis" Wham and Peter Bubb Johnson Family

Martha Ellen Wham, born June 26, 1861, Marion County, Illinois.  Daughter of John W. McNinch Wham and Mary Jane Humphrey.  She married Peter Bubb Johnson in Marion County, Illinois, 1883.  They had six daughters, Ollie, Lulu, Fannie, Clara, Gladys, and Lottie, and one son, John.  Photos and text, courtesy of Lee Johnson, Wheatland, Wyoming.  Lee is the great grandson of Martha Ellen  Wham.  What a great contribution!

1.  Family Photo Marion County, Illinois, circa 1891   This was probably taken in the summer of 1891.  The people are Peter Bubb and Martha Ellen (Wham) Johnson and their three daughters, Lula Belle, born February 2, 1883, Lotta, born February 3, 1888, and Clara,  born November 17, 1890.  A fourth daughter, Fannie, born June 25, 1886, died in 1889  at the age of three.

2.  Close up of Picture #1

3.  Martha Ellen and Peter - Latter Years

4. Children of Mary Ellen & Peter Johnson

5. Family Group in 1910, probably Centralia, Illinois

6. Homestead in Wyoming - Mary Ellen and brother, Franklin,  and son,  John, with wife, Anna

7 .Homestead, Near Antelope Gap, Wyoming

Homestead in Wyoming. 7 miles east of Wheatland, and 1 mile north of Antelope Gap.  A well known landmark in the area.  Date unknown.

Walter and Ollie (Johnson) Davis started the homestead in 1918.  Gladys had moved to Wyoming in 1917.  Wyoming provided an opportunity for people to own their own land for just the cost improving upon it.  A homestead was 360 acres with a chance to get an additional 360 acres.  John decided to join his sisters in Wyoming in 1919 so he left Illinois and arrived in Wyoming on the day the mine he was working in exploded,  killing the crew the he worked with.  John got a homestead close to Walt and Ollie's.  Pete and Martha decided to follow their children and joined them in Wyoming later in 1919.  Walt and Ollie were having problems on the homestead so Pete and Martha took over the place and proved up on it (finished making the required improvements and getting the deed for the land.)

John married a neighbor girl Anna L Murray Jan. 20, 1923.  Her parents also had a homestead in Antelope Gap.

Pete and Martha lived on the homestead until a death in the family took them back to Illinois for a few years.  It is unknown whose death it was.  They returned to Wyoming sometime before 1927 because they were living here when my father Peter Wesley was born Dec. 29, 1927 in their home.  He is the only son of John and Anna Johnson.

Times were rough, but the family continued to survive the elements.  They broke sod and worked the ground so they could raise crops to support the family.  Their crops included potatoes,  white and pinto beans and corn.  They sorted, sold and delivered certified Red Trumpet potatoes to the railroad terminals at Wheatland and Bordeaux.  A large garden was always a summer time job with lots of canned good being preserved for winter use.  Since no creeks were on the place all the water came from wells pumped by windmills.  Some wells are over 200 feet deep.

School was held in one room schoolhouses located in several places in the community.  Dad (Pete W.) walked or rode his horse up to 1 1/2 miles to the closest school.

In 1935 Peter B. became ill and moved into Wheatland to live with their daughter and son-in-law Gladys and Howard Hurst.  He passed away March 21, 1935.  John and Anna took over for his mother and continued to farm the land.  The Antelope Gap area is all dry land with no irrigation.

In 1936, John and Anna decided to sell out and move to Washington State where Anna's sister lived.  They had a farm sale and were ready to leave when an Oil Company leased the Johnson land (Pete and Martha's) for oil.  John was offered work on the oil ridge and the ladies were offered a job cooking for the crew so John and Anna stayed in Wyoming.  John learned the drilling business and continued to drill water wells for neighbors and continued to raise cattle and farm.  In 1940 John purchased the Coll Morrison place and a year later purchased the Asa B. Combs place about 2 miles south of the Johnson homestead.

In 1941, Martha moved to Wheatland and sold the homestead to John Phifer, who had purchased a number of area homesteads.  Martha passed away Dec. 8, 1942.

John and Anna moved to the Combs place in 1943, where Pete W. and Mildred Johnson live today.  Dad, (Pete) has never lived more than 3 miles from where he was born.

I have rambled on long enough but this will give you an idea of their life in Wyoming, and how some Wham's came to this part of the world.

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