John Johnson (1698-<1756)
John Johnson was born on 26 Aug 1698 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut as the second child of Isaac Johnson and Margaret Miller. He was baptized two days later. He had eleven siblings, namely: Sarah, Margaret, Isaac, Thomas, Henry, Content, William, Stephen, Tabitha, Mary, and Hannah.
When he was 23, John Johnson married Mary Bow, daughter of Samuel Bow and Mary Turner, on 07 Feb 1721/22 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. Mary was a widow when she married John. She had three daughters with her previous husband, Arthur Davis, namely, Phebe, Hannah, and Martha Davis. These girls were between the ages of five and ten at the time John and Mary married.
John Johnson and Mary Bow had the following children:
- John Johnson was born on 21 Oct 1722 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Grace Morris on 31 Oct 1743 in Woodstock, Windham, Connecticut. He died in 1802 in Whitestown, Oneida, New York.
- Sarah Johnson was born on 20 Jan 1724/25 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. She married Jonathan Ward on 11 Jan 1744/45 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. She died before 06 Jun 1778.
- Davis Johnson was born on 09 May 1727 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He married Sarah Clark on 13 Mar 1745/46 in Middletown, Middlesex, Connecticut. He died about 1784. He was likely named to honor Mary’s previous husband, Arthur Davis.
John Johnson lived the entirety of his life in Middletown. When his father’s estate was probated in 1744, John was gifted the land upon which he had been living. So, we can assume that as a married man, he had been allowed to farm and live on part of land owned by his father.
I give to my son John all that piece of land on which he now dwells, and all that piece of land on which his barn now stands, running eastward to the extent of my land there, which, with what I have already given to my sd. son by deed of gift, is his full portion of my estate. – Isaac Johnson will.
John attended the Middletown First Congregational Church. That is where his children were baptized, and back then, you were required to attend church. From 1715-1761, during John’s adult life, the pastor at the church was William Russel. William was the oldest child of the previous pastor, so he was not new to their church. To give insight into the church in those days, the following is an excerpt of a sermon that Pastor William Russel gave in 1730 before the General Assembly of the Colony at Hartford. It demonstrates the “intimate” relationship between the Church and the State.
“Vigorously improve your Authority and the Power committed to you, to punish and suppress profaneness, Drunkenness, Uncleanness and Unrighteousness, &c. that so Evil may be taken away from the midst of us, viz. that the Publick may not contract guilt, by those Evil things that are done among us. Bear not the Sword in vain; but as the ministers of God, execute wrath upon them that do Evil. Direct and Encouraging Inferior Officers, And indeavor that the Law shall attain its end, to defend and relieve the Innocent and Righteous, and to detect and punish the Guilty and Evil-doer: And that no wiles shall prevent right Judgment going forth. Be Eyes to the blind, and Feet to the lame, and a Defence to the poor and helpless, against them that are too mighty and crafty for them. Brake the jaws of the wicked, and pluck the spoil out of his teeth. Take heed what you do, for ye Judge not for man, but for the Lord; who is with you in the Judgement. Wherefore now, let the fear of the Lord be upon you, take heed and do it: for there is no Iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of Gifts.”
John Johnson died sometime between 28 Apr 1755 when he wrote his will and 05 Jan 1756 when his estate was probated. So, he died at about 57-years old.
It was difficult to find his will. When I finally found it, I was frustrated because it is very hard to read. It took some staring, squinting, looking past smudges, and concentration to be able to get the gist of what it said. As the oldest son, it seems strange that John wasn’t the executor. But, it may be that Davis, the youngest son, got to be the executor because he remained in Connecticut while John had moved from Connecticut to New York. The mysteries never end in genealogy.
In his will, John Johnson gave his wife gifts to use during her lifetime. He then split his estate equally between his son, Davis, and his daughter, Sarah. He also explained that his son, John, had already received his share.
Where is he in the tree?
Ancestry.com, Connecticut, Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920 (Online publication – Provo, UT, USA: 2013.Original data – Connecticut. Church Records Index. Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut..Original data: Connecticut. Church Records Index. Connecticut State Library, Hartford, Connecticut.), Ancestry.com, http://www.Ancestry.com, Record for John Johnson.
Ancestry.com, Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015), Ancestry.com, Will of John Johnson, Middlesex-> Probate Records, Vol 1-2, 1752-1777, images 117 and 250 of 658.
Azel Washburn Hazen, A brief history of the First Church of Christ in Middletown, Connecticut for two centuries and a half, 1668-1918 (Middletown, CT: ~1920) Archive.Org, Web, 22 Aug 2017, https://archive.org/details/briefhistoryoffi00haze.
Charles William Manwaring, A digest of the early Connecticut probate records, Volume 3, pages 421-2, (R.S. Peck & co., printers, Hartford, CT: 1904), Archive.Org, Web, 22 Aug 2017, https://archive.org/details/digestofearlycon03manw.
Connecticut Marriages, 1640-1939,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1961-43914-4635-48?cc=2448940 : 12 May 2016), 007615715 > image 30 of 288; Connecticut State Library, Hartford., Family Search – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, discussion list (familysearch.org).
Connecticut Marriages, 1640-1939,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-89VP-57M5?cc=2448940&wc=Q8RL-B2V%3A1589605372 : 12 May 2016), 007615715 > image 89 of 288; Connecticut State Library, Hartford.
Johnson, Paul Franklin, Genealogy of Captain John Johnson of Roxbury, Massachusetts, generations i to xiv [ancestry.com] (Name: Name: The Commonwealth Press, Inc.; Location: Los Angeles, California; Date: 1951;;), ancestry.com, p. 24.