Daniel L. Johnson, Jr. of Bailey was born at Old Spring Hope in Nash County on a small farm. His father also owned and ran a grocery store at Taylors Crossroads in Bailey called D. L. Johnson Grocery. As a six-year-old Johnson earned money by taking his pony cart to people’s houses to collect dirty laundry for the Spring Hope dry cleaner, Leonard Murray. When he was six he also sold Oxydol Washing Powder door-to-door and earned a pair of roller skates. When he was older he milked their cows and delivered milk to a few customers on his bicycle, the rest of the milk going to their store for sale. Other home chores included keeping his mother supplied with firewood for the stove. He says that though he helped occasionally on the farm most of his work was at the grocery store. Johnson attended school in Bailey from elementary through high school, then studied for two years at UNC-Chapel Hill, later taking courses in television repair and real estate brokerage (he got his license in 1972). He attended Bailey Baptist Church with his family, though he was baptized at a Methodist revival when he was a teenager. In 1947 (when he was 19) he married Mary Elizabeth Boykin, and took over most of the management and daily work at the grocery store. They lived in an apartment at the Gospel Apartments in Bailey, built on former church property. As Johnson took over grocery store operations more and more, his father was free to spend more time on the farm. Among Johnson’s memories are the polio epidemic of the 1940s (he knew one girl who spent most of her life in an iron lung); the popular fairs, tent shows, and travelling free movie shows that came to town periodically; one grocery and feed customer named Jim Stone, a lumberjack, who had 27 children; memories of Hurricane Hazel; how they sold live chickens in the grocery store for people to take home in a paper bag and kill, prepare, and cook at home; how they lost all their farm’s hogs one year to cholera; how he heard on his car radio that World War II had ended; how wartime rationing worked in the grocery business; and how his father and another grocer in town built Bailey’s first slaughterhouse. Johnson and his wife had two children, Walter and Mary Catherine.





Downloads Statistics

Download Full History