Retired Teacher to Observe 85th Birthday Today.

Walter Johnson Came to Portland in 1862 When Only 2500 Here.

There are still many residents of Portland who remember when they called Walter Johnson “teacher.” Mr. Johnson, who will celebrate his 85th birthday today, came to Portland in 1862 from the Hawaiian islands. He was born in Australia in 1846 and accompanied his family when they started for the California gold rush, but stopped in Honolulu. He recalls his first impression of Portland as a town of 2500 persons, with only a few scattered shacks on the east bank of the river. He first resided with relatives, the Hovender family, in Marion county. He attended school at Butteville under Professor S.W. King, who later served eight years as school superintendent of Portland.

Mr. Johnson returned to Portland in the fall of 1873 and became a teacher in the public schools. He has the distinction of having taught the city’s first night school. The classes were held in the old Central school, where the Portland hotel now stands.

Mr. Johnson was married January 31, 1874, the same day Governor Meier was born, to Miss Stella Walling, daughter of Jesse Walling, a pioneer of Polk county. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson resided 44 years in the same house on the east side. Mrs. Johnson died several years ago, and Mr. Johnson now lives with his twin daughters at 931 Himes street.

Source: Portland Oregonian, August 9, 1931.

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