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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Johnson Family

One of my favorite characters involving Bass River Township history is Jesse Johnson (See photo to the right) who was the subject of the feature story in the "Bass River Gazette", Issue #21, October, 2007. You can read that article at . 

Unfortunately, I didn't have much information on the Johnson family, other than what appeared in the article, until I began receiving emails from Dan Bruynell in Woodbury -Thanks, Dan! Over the past few months he has been emailing me a variety of information on the Johnson family including wills, inventories, photos, and obituaries interspaced with genealogy notes.  I now have copies of the following Johnson wills: Augustus (1896), Edward Charles (1858), Hugh (1823), Jacob (1817), Jonathan (1822), Mattias (1778), Matthias Jr. (1845), Nicholas (1831), and William (1819). I was particularly happy to get a copy of Edward Charles Johnson's will as he was Jesse Johnson's father. Jesse is mentioned in the will.

Below is a Johnson family obituary that Dan sent that I thought you might find amusing. I sure enjoyed it! The old New Gretna House must have been quite a place. Charles W. Johnson was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Johnson of Washington Twp. in Burlington County. He served in the Civil War and may be a distant cousin of Dan. Dan is still researching the possible family connection. Any help out there would be appreciated.

Charles W. Johnson

Chas. W. Johnson, of Bass River, died, recently, from excessive drinking. He was on a hard spree, at the New Gretna House, on Saturday night, the 14th nit. (December, 1863), in company with a number of others, and after drinking several glasses of whisky, told the landlord that his glasses were too small. Some one then handed him a beer glass, which he at once filled with whisky. The landlord said to him, “In God’s name, Johnson, you are not going to drink all of that.” Johnson replied, “I can try,” and immediately drank the contents, following it up with three glasses of ale, and shortly afterward, three glasses more of ale. During the evening, while others were carousing, playing dominoes, &c., Johnson lay upon the settee, frequently singing. At 12 o’clock, when the hotel was about to be closed, Johnson was found lying on the upper porch, in an insensible condition. He was carried to the barn and covered with salt hay, where he stayed until Wednesday, when he took passage for home in the stage. He spent the remainder of the week in bed and walking about the house, constantly complaining of severe pain. On Saturday morning, about 5 o’clock, he died. He had not taken any food since Monday morning, making five days and nights. Johnson was a young man, twenty—five years of age. He had lived a very hard life, and it was generally thought that neither exposure or whisky or water in any quantity, could have much effect upon him. He served in the army during the rebellion.

Anyone out there who is working on the Johnson family genealogy who has information to share or is interested in Johnson family information that is in our Bass River History archives, leave a comment below. The more we share, the more we learn!

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