John Johnson, Capt
|Death:||Died in Roxbury, MA|
|Place of Burial:||Roxbury, Massachusetts|
Son of Unknown father of Capt. John Johnson; John Johnson; Unknown mother of Capt. John Johnson and Hannah Johnson
|Occupation:||attorney, Quartermaster, Attorney|
|Managed by:||Private User|
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About Capt. John Johnson
Captain John Johnson's parents are unknown. The surname of his second wife is unknown.
- Cooke on Mayflower Families gives Johnson family genealogy
- An excellent source on Captain John Johnson
- The genealogical website of a cousin, one of Captain Johnson's descendants
- Photo of a memorial to Captain John Johnson in Old Eustis Street Burying Ground in Roxbury
John Johnson, born about 1588, England, died 30 September 1659 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. It has been suggested that he was the son of John Johnson of Co. Kent, England, and of royal descent. John's will, dated 30 September 1659 (the day he died) and proved 15 October 1659 names son Isaac as co-executor. John arrived in New England with the Winthrop fleet at Salem on 22 June 1630. He settled at Roxbury, Massachusetts, and was made a freeman on 18 May 1631. He subsequently served the town and colony in many capacities, including Constable (first on 19 October 1630), Surveyor General, Town Clerk, Deputy to the House of Deputies, and Clerk of the Military Company of Massachusetts. The position as Surveyor General of Arms and Ammunitions of the Colonies made Capt. Johnson responsible for the acquisition, maintenance and distribution of the primary means of protection. Gov. John Winthrop wrote in his Journal under the date of 6 February 1645:
"John Johnson, the Surveyor General of Arms and Ammunition, a very industrious and faithful man in his place, having built a fair house in the midst of the town, with divers barns and outhouses, it fell on fire in the day time, no man knowing by what occasion, and there being in it seventeen barrels of the country's powder, and many arms, all was suddenly burnt and blown up, to the value of four or five hundred pounds, wherein a special providence of God appeared, for, he, being from home, the people came together to help and many were in the house, no man thinking of the powder till one of the company put them in mind of it, whereupon they all withdrew, and soon after the powder took fire and blew up all about it, and shook the houses in Boston and Cambridge, so that men thought it had been an earthquake, and carried great pieces of timber a great way off, and some rags and such light things beyond Boston meeting house, there being then a stiff gale south, it drove the fire from the other houses in the town (for this was the most northerly) otherwise it had endangered the greatest part of the town."
John was one of the founders of the town and church at Roxbury and, together with his sons Isaac and Humphrey, was an original donor to the Free School in Roxbury. He first married 21 September 1613 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, Mary Heath, died May 1629, Hertfordshire, England, buried 15 May 1629 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, daughter of William Heath and Agnes Cheney. His second wife, married by 1633, was possibly Margery Scudder, born England, buried 9 June 1655 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, daughter of William, died 1607, and Margery Scudder of Darenth, Kent. The will of William Scudder was dated 27 July 1607, and probated 4 November 1607, naming John Johnson, Sr., John Johnson Jr. and daughter Margaret. John married third in 1655 or later Grace Negus, died 19 December 1671, widow of Barnabas Fawer, and sister of Jonathan and Benjamin Negus.
Children of John Johnson and Mary Heath:
- Mary, baptized 31 July 1614 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, buried 29 January 1678/1679 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts; married first Roger Mowry, born in England, died 5 January or March 1666 in Providence, Rhode Island, a friend of Roger Williams. Roger arrived at Boston in 1631, moved to Plymouth, then Salem, and settled at Providence, Rhode Island. Mary married second on 16 March 1673/1674 John Kingsley, buried 6 January 1678/1679 in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.
- Isaac, baptized 11 February 1615/1616 in Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England, died 19 December 1675 in Four Corners, Rhode Island, while in battle.
- John, baptized 8 April 1618 in Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England, possibly buried 6 July 1627 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England. Died in England!!!
- Elizabeth, baptized 22 August 1619 in Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England, died 5 January 1683/1684, Roxbury, Massachusetts; married 14 March 1642/1643 Robert Pepper, born about 1620, died 7 July 1684 in Roxbury, Massachusetts.
- Humphrey, born 5 November 1620 in Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England, died 24 July 1692 in Hingham, Massachusetts. He was Sergeant in the company commanded by brother Isaac and was an original donor to the Free School at Roxbury. He moved about 1651 to Scituate, Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts. He married first on 20 March 1641/1642 in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Ellen/Elinor Cheney, born about 1620 in England, died 28 September 1678 in Hingham, Massachusetts. He married second on 6 December 1678, Abigail May, died after 14 May 1714, widow of Samuel May. They were the ancestors of Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
- Joseph, baptized 20 April 1622 in Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England, buried there in May 1622. Died in England.
- Susan, baptized 16 July 1623 in Ware End, Great Amwell, Hertfordshire, England, buried there 16 August 1629 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England. Died in England.
- Sarah, baptized 12 November 1624 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England; probably married first by 1647 Hugh Burt; she married second by July 1653 at Lynn, Massachusetts, William Bartram, who died in Swansea, Bristol Co., Massachusetts.
- Joseph, baptized 6 March 1626/1627 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, probably buried there 30 March 1627. Died in England.
- Hannah, baptized 23 Mar 1627/1628 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England; possibly married Hugh Burt (instead of sister Sarah).
The home of John Johnson in England has not been learned. As his known relatives resided about twelve miles from London on the River Lee, it is safe to say that he probably came from the same locality. John Johnson, with his family, came to this country in the fleet with Winthrop, landing at Salem June 22, 1630. He settled in Roxbury, where he was made freeman May 16, 1631. He was active in the business of the Colony, as Juryman, serving on Committees, as Surveyor laying out the bounds of Towns around Boston. March 4, 1634/5 John Johnson and Richard Dumer were ordered to build a bridge across Muddy River. Five Towns were to contribute to the cost. May 25, 1636 or 1635 he was chosen one of a committee to determine the valuation of the several towns. September 8, 1636 he was again chosen for that purpose. May 17, 1637 he was chosen one of the Deputies to levy on the towns for raising fifty men to send against the Pequots. He was also chosen Surveyor General, an office, which at that time, included the care of the stock of arms and the ammunition of the colony. An interesting account of the burning of his house, with the Colony's stock of powder, also the town records of Roxbury, of which he was Town Clerk, is given in Governor Winthrop's History, also in Drake's History of Roxbury. He was chosen Deputy to the house of Deputies to represent Roxbury in 1634, the first year of that Assembly; and was chosen for twenty-one years afterward, nearly all consecutively. Late in his life he was granted one thousand acres of land in consideration of his service to the Colony.
John Johnson was constable of Roxbury, 1630, admitted freeman 16 May 1631 and deputy to the General Court 1634-38, 1642, 1645-53, 1656-59, thirty sessions distributed throughout twenty years. He was the first Clerk of the Ancient and Honourable Artillery Company 1638-40, surveyor general of arms 1641-59, and received a colonial grant of 300 acres for his services.
The only Johnson-Heath marriage found in the Ware registers was that of a Mary Heath on 21 September 1613, to John Johnson. The subsequent baptisms of children to this couple made it clear that here was the immigrant John Johnson and his first wife. That she was named Mary came as something of a surprise, for Johnson's first known wife in New England records was named Margery. Further searching in the Ware registers explained the discrepancy. John Johnson's wife, Mary, was buried there 15 May 1629, the year before he emgirated. Thus it appears that he married his second wife, Margery, sometime after arriving in New England -- a situation which is further suggested by the undated church membership list of Rev. Eliot of Roxbury, in which the name of John Johnson is among the first members in about 1630, with the name of his wife Margery appearing much further down the list among those who came about 1633. John Johnson and his first wife, Mary Heath, had ten children born between 1614 and 1628, recorded at Ware or Great Amwell.
ADDITIONAL SOURCE NOTES: Pope, C.H., "Pioneers of Massachusetts", 1969, pg. 260, says of him: "John, yeoman, Roxbury, chosen by the Gen. Court 19 Oct 1630, constable of Rox. and surveyor of all the arms of the Colony, a very industrious and faithful man in his place, [W.]: frm. May 18, 1631; town officer, deputy. His house was burned, 2 (6) 1645, with 17 bbls. of the country's powder and many arms. [W.] Agent for Mrs. Katharine Sumpner of Lundon in 1653. He signed the inv. of Joseph Weld in 1646. His wife Margaret d. 9 (4) 1655. He m. 2, Grace, widow of Barnabas Fawer. [Gen. Court Rec. May 1656] Ch. John, Isaac, and Humphrey, who came to Rox. and were efficient citizens. He d. 30 (7) 1659. Will prob. Oct 15 folg.; est. to be divided between his 5 children, eldest son to have a double portion. His eldest dau., Mary, m. Roger Moorry, and res. at Providence; sold her share in her father's est. Oct 12, 1659. [Reg. IX 224]. The widow Grace made will 21 Dec, porb. 29 Dec 1671. All to bros. Jonathan and Benjamin Negus.
Came from England with daughter, Mary, c1630.
To Masachusetts in 1630 in Gov. Winthrop's Fleet.
Constable of Freeman Roxbury; Surveyor of King's Armies, New England.
Died Roxbury 30 Sept. 1657.
(per Betty Pond Snyder, DAR).
John Johnson was elected to serve as the deputy at the first general court of the Massachutes Bay Colony in 1634 and served for 13 years. In 1639 he was commissioned to determine the Boston - Roxbury boundries.
John Johnson came to America in the "Arabella," in 1630, with Governor Winthrop's party, from Groton, Suffolk County, England. He settled at Roxbury, where he was soon appointed constable, and in 1631 was admitted freeman.
In 1639, having paid ten shillings to the company, he was "freed from training." In 1640 he was "freed from training without any pay," because of his other services. He kept a tavern on Roxbury street, where many public meetings were held, and "was a very industrious and faithful man in his place." He represented Roxbury in the General Court fourteen years, and was a member of the church when it was first organized. He died September 29, 1659, at Roxbury. His homestead was on the southwest corner of Washington and Ball streets, Boston, then Roxbury.
John was one of the founders of the town and church at Roxbury, MA and, together with his sons Isaac and Humphrey, was an original donor to the Free School in Roxbury.
John's name was made famous one morning in February, 1645, at Roxbury, Mass., by the 17 barrels of powder stored in his house blowing it to atoms. He was the "surveyor-general of all ye armyes," and, when Ann Hutchinson was taken into custody because of her religious opinions, the General Court ordered that the arms and ammunition of all her Roxbury adherents should be delivered into the custody of John Johnson.
This was in 1637, and Governor Winthrop has described what followed: "John Johnson, having built a fair house in the midst of the town, with divers barns and other out-buildings, it fell on fire (February 6, 1645) in the day-time (no man knowing by what occasion), and there being in it 17 barrels of the country's powder and many arms, all was suddenly burnt and blown up to the value of £400 or £500. The early records of Roxbury were destroyed in the resulting fire.
Wherein a special providence of God appeared, for he being from home, the people came together to help and many were in the house, no man thinking of the powder till one of the company put them in mind of it whereupon they all withdrew and soon after the powder took fire and blew up all about it and shook the houses in Boston and Cambridge so as men thought it had been an earthquake and carried great pieces of timber a good way off and some rags and such light things beyond Boston meeting house."
[Thayer and Burton Ancestry, pp. 62-63 ].
Will of John Johnson - September 30, 1659
The last will and Testament of John Johnson of Roxbury, this 30th of the 7th, '59, having my perfect memory and understanding by the blessing of my mercyfull Father, whose reconciled face in Jesus Christ my soule waitesth to behold. I dispose of my worldly goods and estate as followeth. My dwellinghouse and certaine lands I have allready given to my beloved wife during the term of her natural live, according to a deed wh is extant wh deede my will is shall be fulfilled, wherein also I have given her 60 pounds for her household furniture, wh house and lands after my wifes decease I give unto my 5 children to be equally divided, my eldest sonne having a double portion therein, according to the word of God. I give unto my two grandchildren who have lived with me Elizabeth Johnson and Mehitable Johnson, each of them 5Lbs this to be paide within one yeare after my decease. I have formerly given to my sonnes Isaac Johnson and Robert Pepper a parcel of lands of 55 acres in the third division of the towns which I do hereby confirme.
All the rest of my lands debts and moveable goods, my debts and funeral charges being first discharged I doe give unto my five children to be equally divided, my eldest sonne haveing a double portion. Also I make my sonns Isaak Johnson and Robert Pepper my executors of this my last will and Testament, and I request my deare brethren Elder Heath, and Deakon Parke, to be overseers of this my will and Testament, and in token of my love I give you each 10 pounds. If my children should disagree in any thing, I dow order them to choose one man more, to these my overseers, and stand to theire determination.
the mark of J. J. John Johnson
Immigration 22 Jun 1630 Salem, Massachusetts, USA, John Johnson, with his family, came to this country in the fleet with Wintrhop, landing at Salem June 22, 1630., Immigrant=Margery (?)
The home of our ancestor in England has not been learned. As his known relatives resided about twelve miles from London on the River Lee, it is safe to say that he probably came from the same locality. Neither has the maiden name of his wife Margery been ascertained. Through the relationship mentioned in certain legal documents, it has been assumed by some that she was Margery Heath.
John Johnson, with his family, came to this country in the fleet with Winthrop, landing at Salem June 22, 1630. He settled in Roxbury, where he, with his son-in-law Richard Mowry, (Roger Ed.) was made Freeman May 18, 1631. He was active in the business of the Colony, as Juryman, serving on Committees, as Surveyor laying out the bounds of Towns around Boston. March 4, 1634/5 John Johnson and Richard Dumer were ordered to build a bridge across Muddy River. Five towns were to contribute to the cost. Mary 25, 1636 or 1635 he was chosen one of a Committee to determine the valuation of the several towns. September 8, 1636 he was again chosen for that purpose. May 17, 1637 he was chosen one of the Deputies to levy on the towns for raising fifty men to send against the Pequots. He was also chosen Surveyor General, an office, which at that time, included the care of the stock of arms and the ammunition of the Colony. An interesting account of the burning of his house, with the Colony's stock of powder, also the Town Records of Roxbury, of which he was Town Clerk, is given in Governor Winthrop's History, also in Drake's History of Roxbury. He was chosen Deputy to the House of Deputies to represent Roxbury in 1634, the first year of that Assembly; and was chosen for twenty-one years afterward, nearly all consecutively.
"Captain John Johnson was the first Clerk of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery. His son, Isaac, was its Captain, and leader at one time. It is the oldest military organization in this country, founded March 13, 1638, and which still proudly maintains its existence. Upon the rolls of its members are to be seen the names of men who in their day, through the entire history of Massachusetts, were foremost in peace and war, and who occupied the highest place in science, art, and literature, and in social, political and military life. At no time could any but a distinguished citizen have become a member of its society."
Late in his life, John Johnson was granted one thousand acres of land in consideration of his great service to the Colony.
Duties and position of the Surveyor General are described by Osgood in "American Colonies in the 17th Century" Volume I, page 513:
"In the Massachusetts Bay System the germ of the modern military staff appears chiefly in the office ordinarily designated as that of Surveyor of Ordinance, or later as General Surveyor of Arms. Early in 1631 the general court chose a Surveyor of Ordinance, to be allowed £10 per year. But from 1632 to 1642 the business of the office was mainly transacted through committees. In 1642, owing to fear of an Indian attack and the desire that the colony might be well supplied with powder, John Johnson was appointed Surveyor General of the Arms. From that time until the downfall of the Colony government, the many references to the office indicate its importance. The Surveyor General of Arms was a custodian of the Colony's supply of ordinance, arms and ammunition; under authority from the general court, he delivered powder to the towns, and received back from them any excessive supplies which might have been issued. He could also sell ammunition. He was empowered to recover arms belonging to the Colony from individuals or towns that had them in their possession, to either preserve them pending an order of the general court, or to sell them at a fair price and procure others in their place. The purchases of ammunition were usually made through the Surveyor General, though in co-operation with the treasurer. Orders of the general court that he should loan munitions to individuals are common. When in 1643, arms and stores were brought from Castle Island, an invoice of the whole was given to the Surveyor General and the arms were delivered into his custody...."
Captain Johnson was married second to Grace Negus, widow of Barnabas Fowler. Grace died on September 29th, according to town records.
He married Mary Heath, daughter of William Heath & Agnes Cheney, in England. Died on 9 Jan 1655. Buried Roxbury, Mass., on 9 Apr 1655.
Many authorities add JOHN to the list of children and generally as first child. This seems to be an error, perhaps stated by Farmer's General Register, page 163, which give "1 JOHN: who died in 1661." The JOHN who died in 1661 was a son of Captain Isaak Johnson as shown by the church records. It is certain that no JOHN came over with the family. There is no evidence whatever that there was any child other than the five given .
Immigration: abt. 1630 marriage to Mary Heath Abt. 9/21/1613 in Ware, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Capt. John Johnson's Timeline
St. George, Mart, Canterbury, Kent, England
St. George, Mart, Canterbury, Kent, England
July 31, 1614
Ware, Hertfordshire, England
February 11, 1615
Ware, Hertfordshire, UK
Ware, Hertfordshire, England
August 22, 1619
Herne Hill, London, England
November 5, 1620
Ware, Hertfordshire, England, (Present UK)