Johnson E. Coovert

Name: Johnson Ernest Coovert
Born: 14 January 1830 / Preble County, Ohio
Died: 6 January 1878 / Dayton, Oregon
Parents: John Coovert & Catherine Ernest
Spouse: Elizabeth Fudge Robertson
Married: 1857 / Preble County, Ohio
Arrived in Ore.: 1872
  • William Jasper Coovert (b. 1858)
  • Martin Luther Coovert (1860 – 1925)
  • Mary Catherine Coovert (b. 1862)
  • Elmer Elsworth Coovert (1863 – 1916)

Johnson Coovert was born in Preble County, Ohio, in 1830. It is believed that Johnson and Abram Coovert were brothers. Prior to 1850, US Census records did not break down individual family members by first name; they simply list the father’s name and number of people in each household. As such, it is difficult to definitively prove that Johnson and Abram were brothers. However, there is enough circumstantial evidence to suggest them as being brothers, so we will continue to link them as such until proven otherwise.

Johnson and Abram’s mother died shortly after Johnson’s birth. Abram, 10 years old at the time, was bound to live with another family until the age of 21. In the 1850 census, Johnson was listed as living with another family in the area. As it was not uncommon at the time, it is likely that he was also bound to live with a family, working in exchange for care.

Johnson married Elizabeth Fudge in 1857. Elizabeth was the elder sister of Margaret Fudge, who later married Johnson’s nephew, John W. Coovert. Johnson filed a Civil War Draft Registration Card in 1863, but there is no record of him actually serving in the war.

Johnson and Elizabeth emigrated to Oregon in 1872 with their four children: Jasper, Martin, Mary, and Elmer. Elmer went on to be a very prominent and well-respected attorney in first Astoria and then Portland. Elmer represented local millionaire Simon Benson (of Benson Bubbler fame) as he sought to protect Multnomah Falls from a lumber mill being built upon the site, which eventually lead to the Falls being designated as a public park. The complete story can be read here.

While census records document Johnson and Elizabeth having only four children, it is possible that they had a fifth child, Eva Coovert, in 1874. Eva would have been born 2 years after the family moved to Oregon. Sadly, she died 15 days after her birth, and is buried in the Odell Pioneer Cemetery. Previously Eva has been noted as being a child of Abram and Martha Coovert, but as they were both in their early 50s at the time of her birth, this parentage seems unlikely.  As Elizabeth Coovert was age 36 in 1874, it seems more feasible hat she would have been Eva’s mother. However, there are no known records documenting the parents of Eva.

Johnson died on the 6th of January 1878 in Dayton after 7 months of illness. He was 47 years old. His wife, Elizabeth, later went on to marry Sylvester “Vet” Robertson. She died in 1913, and is buried next to Johnson in the Odell Pioneer Cemetery.


Died at Webfoot, Yamhill Co., Or., June 6, 1878, Johnson E. Coovert aged 47 years 11 months and 22 days. Br. Coovert was a native of Preble Co., Ohio. He was married in 1857 to Elizabeth Fudge and removed to Indiana, where he resided 14 years, after which he came to Oregon where he continued to reside until his death. He was sick about 7 months but his death was somewhat unexpected. His funeral was preached at the campmeeting on Sunday, July 7, by Rev. C. Hetzler, who was an intimate and beloved friend of the deceased since he was a boy.

– Pacific Christian Advocate, July 25, 1878

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Reference: 1850, 1860, & 1870 United States Federal Census; Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993 [database on-line], Operations, Inc., 2016; Yamhill County Will Records, 1854-1926; Yamhill County Probate Court (Yamhill County), Oregon; Consolidated Lists of Civil War Draft Registrations, 1863-1865, National Archives at Washington D.C.;; Obituary: Genealogical Forum of Oregon, Odell Cemetery Biographies, p.39-40