Clarence D. Johnson, of St. Louis, Mo., vice president and general manager of the Frost-Trigg Lumber Company and president of the Union Saw Mill Company, of Huttig, Ark., is one of the most successful men connected with the yellow pine industry. As a master of market conditions in the present, and of those conditions in the future, he is without doubt first among all those who have sought to win distinction in that branch of commercial effort the distribution of lumber.
As an organizer and one to assemble men for the purpose of accomplishing great business transactions there is no stronger personage among the lumbermen of the south and southwest.
C. D. Johnson is an Englishman by descent, a New Yorker by birth and a citizen of the great southwest by adoption and characteristics. He was born at Catos, Steuben county, New York, in 1866. He lived in New York state until he was 12 years old, then with his parents moved to western Kansas in 1877. His schooling was finished in Lamed, Kan. His parents moved to Kansas City, Kan., in 1885, and yet reside in that place, from which city the subject of this sketch, at the age of 19, went to New Orleans to seek his fortune.
At first he was a collector. From that he went to work for John Newton, of Chopin, La., beginning his saw mill work by running a trimmer in the mill. He did a little of everything there was to do in saw mill operations and planing mill work until 1887. After 1887 he sawed logs in the woods for Sam Allen, down in the Trinity country; worked for A. W. Morris at Barnum, Tex., and became foreman of the Morris yard and shipping clerk.
In 1889 Mr. Johnson returned to Kansas City; after that he worked for a short time for the South Branch Lumber Company, in Chicago, and in the yard of W. J. Young & Co., of Clinton, Iowa, always looking for "something better." Finally determining that what he sought was in yellow pine manufacture he went to work in a pinning mill at New Lewisville, Ark., and remained at New Lewisville until the business of the company where he worked came into the hands of R. L. Trigg.
Mr. Johnson came to St. Louis in 1894, where the R. L. Trigg Lumber Company was formed, which afterwards became the Frost-Trigg Lumber Company, which was incorporated in February, 1897.
He is a stockholder in practically all of the Frost-Trigg interests and a director in many of them. He was the founder of the Union Saw Mill Company, which is treated in detail elsewhere in this article, and since its inception has been its most active leader.