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Friday, 10 April 2015

Johnson Family - Seaton Ross

In my earlier post "Love and Suicide", I told the sad story of George Johnson who committed suicide. I now step further back in time with the Johnson family. (I commenced tracing my family history some 35 years back, and the Johnson branch of the family have always fascinated me).
I will start with an account of the Johnson family, written by G Lazenby on the death of George Johnson at Guilford, West Australia on 23rd Aug 1879.

To make for easier reading, I have included my transcription directly after the following images of  the account by G Lazenby.

Written by G Lazenby 1879
(In the first sentence, G Lazenby should have put 18th century, not 17th)
 
Short family history of George Johnson by G Lazenby
(first sentence should be 18th century, not 17th)
 
1st Generation
The Grandfather & Grandmother
 
In a large farmhouse in the East Riding of Yorkshire called Lincoln Flatts, about the middle of the 17th century lived W George and Elizabeth Johnson and their 5 children, 2 sons and 3 daughters, the father and sons regularly attended divine service at the Established Church, but the mother who had been brought up a Roman Catholic, strictly adhered to her own church, and taking the daughters with her, worshipped at Lord Stourton's chapel, who kept a priest on the establishment.
Strange as it may appear, yet under these adverse circumstances, this family lived together in harmony without one jarring string until the children grew up to be young men and women. About this time, the father being dead, the eldest son and his 3 sisters all married and left the old homestead to the management of the widowed mother and her youngest son.
 
Before closing this brief account of the 1st generation of the family, I must mention a very remarkable circumstance which took place concerning both mother and son while thus living together at the old house. That Prince of Preachers, the Rev Joseph Benson, then stationed in the Howden Circuit, having been invited to preach in a large barn on a neighbouring farm, the old lady was persuaded by her son to go and hear what this babbler had got to say. I believe the text was from Acts, Paul preaching before Felix, and while he reasoned of Righteousness, Temperance, and Judgement, the barn was crowded. W Benson prayed, he was mighty in prayer and had power with God. The people seemed bowed down, he then commenced his sermon, a divine pathos attended the word and before the close the whole congregation wept like children, many were awakened and converted and among the rest the old lady and her son, this led to their identification with the Wesleyan Church, in connection with which the mother lived and died a consistent member about 20 years after. 
 
2nd Generation
Mr George & Jane Johnson
 
My earliest recollection of the above, the father and mother of the deceased, was in the year 1811, the year in which W Johnson died, they were then living at the old farm, and at the head of a large family of children and servants. The only recollection I have of Mrs Johnson, was being present at her funeral, which deeply impressed my mind with the solemnities of death, but with the respect always paid to her memory, by her bereaved husband and children, as well as more distant relatives and friends in after years Mrs Johnson must have been a very amiable lady and one of the best of wives and mothers.
Of this large family of 4 sons and 4 daughters henceforth to be managed and cared for by the father only I cannot speak too highly, and I knew them well, in fact, I was just as intimate with them, as with members of my own family, as children we attended the same school and sat under the same ministry, 60 years have passed away since the time of which I am speaking, I have had considerable experience in family matters and observed the conduct of many other parents and children, and I have no hesitation in asserting that this family was the most affectionate cheerful and serious, in fact the most methodical, united and best regulated Christian family I have ever known. This remarkable man after having served his generation according to the will of God passed away to his rest in 1838 at a ripe age. 
 
3rd Generation
Children of the above 
 
To the Christian it will not be a matter of surprise that these 8 children who had such a religious training and bright example as exhibited by this Godfearing man should have all turned out well, and chosen the Lord God of their fathers for their portion, I believe 2 only of the family are now living, both members of the Wesleyan Society, The command and promise: To train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it, has been remarkably fulfilled in the history of this family. 
With regard to the deceased, it is unnecessary to say much. As a boy at school I remember that he was always studios and thoughtful, nothing boisterous, and no overflow of animal spirits. As a young man he was always industrious and subordinate to his elder brothers and sisters and for his fathers wishes, they only had to be signified and were cheerfully obeyed. It is well known to most that in the year 1829 in company with the Messrs Hardy and Clarkson he emigrated to this colony, and during his residence among us by his unobtrusive and retiring manner and amiable conduct generally as well as by his uprightness and honesty, he had gained the respect of all classes of the Colony and it is meet that such a consistent life has been crowned by a triumphant end.
 
7th September 1879
 
Funeral Sermon preached in Wesley Church Perth by Rev W S Worth 
___________
 
The above mentioned George Johnson, along with other Methodists emigrated to Western Australia, sailing from Hull 9th September 1829 on the brig "Tranby". They were sponsored by an eminent landowner of Holme Hall - close to Lincoln Flatts. They arrived at Swan River 30th Jan 1830. For interesting info on the Tranby and Swan River click here

During the voyage on the Tranby, George kept a record of life on board ship "Account of voyage out on the Tranby", giving details of passengers etc. I understand that the original is deposited in the J S Battye Library of West Australia History - Private Archives. 
George was a member of the Avon River exploration party and was granted land there (20 acres at Peninsular Farm).

George returned to England 1841, married Jane Ouston at Kirby Misperton Church 15th Aug 1843. They had two children, then George and family returned to Australia on the "Aerolite", arriving 7th Dec 1853.
Bought Guildford plot 140 and built a flour mill. 1860's member of Municipal Council, also Chairman and Treasurer. Qualified as juror with £800 of real estate and £700personal estate. Founding member of Mechanics Institute.
There is much more to George's story, but I had better not take up all the post with one person!
 
Lincoln Flatts, the Johnson family home
 
 
In his account of the 1st Generation, G Lazenby tells us of George and Elizabeth Johnson. They were married by licence 25th Oct 1764 at Carlton Juxta Snaith. Elizabeth's maiden name is Anderton.
Whilst carrying out research at the Borthwick Institute of Historical Research in York in the eighties, I came across the marriage bond for George and Elizabeth, unfortunately as is often the case, the allegation has not survived. It is interesting to note that George made his mark in place of a signature.
 
Elizabeth Anderton was born 1737 at Mawdesley, Lancs.  By the age of ten she was living on a farm at Arglam, Holme upon Spalding Moor. Around 1756 went as a ladies maid, by 1764 living at Carlton Juxta Snaith, most likely Carlton Towers. Connection with Lady Constable who gave her a "decorated jacket" on her marriage. They made their home at Lincoln Flatts.
Elizabeth outlived her husband by 21 years. G Lazenby mentions that that she died in the Wesleyan faith. However, whilst at the Borthwick looking through the catholic records, it would appear she converted back to the Catholic faith . Holme Hall was one of the chief centres of Catholicism in the East Riding. The Benedictine Dom John Fisher compiled a "Liber Status Animarum" (a statement of the spiritual condition of the parish) in 1766. The following is an extract from the above -
"Elizabeth Johnson a convert, wife to George Johnson a protestant at Lincoln Flatts, a communicant she has yet no child. She is the daughter of the late Henry Anderton"
 
"Elizabeth Anderton relict of the late George Johnson a protestant. She returned to the catholic religion and a communicant"
 
Borthwick microfilm MF102
 
St Edmunds Church, Seaton Ross
 
Elizabeth had a brother who apparently did not share the same virtues as his sister. In the records - "Henry Anderton, a bachelor of dissolute ways and drunken habits, died in Holme Workhouse". I like to find a black sheep in the family, after all, it would not do if everyone was prim and proper!
 
I was tempted to carry on with stories of next generation, but I have already made this post longer than I had intended.
Over the years I have shared my research with others who research the same family names. Should anyone happen upon this blog researching the Johnson families of Seaton Ross, Fridaythorpe and Foggathorpe I will happily pass on what information I have.
   




1 comment:

Tess Johnson said...

I love the old letters and documents, you are lucky to have them. I have no documents or photographs older than 30 years.