|THE JOHNSON FAMILY |
OF EASTERN GARRETT COUNTY
| It's funny how you sometimes get hooked on a family that you have no connections with whatsoever. I found myself caught up with the Johnson family who seemed to have owned what most of us in western Allegany County call "The Milt Race Farm." Keep in mind that this property has been located in Garrett County since 1872, just at the foot of Little Savage Mountain, on the west side of Finzel. Assured that the farm originally belonged to the Johnson family I went to the Allegany County court house and dug out some deeds which really got me hooked. The first one I got wasn't the oldest one but the first one that contained the names someone on the Allegany County email list was looking for. This was Liber 17 - Folio 311 dated 1858, which records the transfer of the estate of Joshua Johnson, son of Maryland's first Governor, Thomas Johnson of Frederick, to Joshua's widow, Harriet Beall, two nieces, Elizabeth Grahame and Fanny McPherson (with her husband John McPherson) and Thomas Jennings Johnson, Jr. of Frederick County. What grabbed my attention while transcribing this deed was that the property that was divided between those named above contained 261 Military Lots along with two other very large tracts of land stretching from the Pennsylvania border on the north to some where near where I-68 is now located in the south, and from about the town of Finzel west about five miles to The Shades of Death. |
From HOYE's PIONEER SETTLERS OF GARRETT COUNTY - by Capt. Charles Hoye - ca 1930's. This book was copyrighted by The Garrett County HISTORICAL SOCIETY in 1988 when they compiled all the newspaper articles Capt. Hoye had written on the history of Garrett County:
THE JOHNSON LANDS: Governor Thomas Johnson acquired his vast land holdings in our county by patents from the State, and by purchase from Revolutionary War soldiers and from others. From one of the Johnson deeds, dated 12 Apr 1814, we have the following notes illustrating the early land speculation "westward of Fort Cumberland:" On that date Henry Pratt, Thomas W. Francis, John Miller, Jr., John Ashby and Jacob Baker, merchants of Philadelphia, transferred to Thomas Johnson of Frederick Co. MD, for $10,000,00, "SPRUCE SPRING" of 120 acres and 296 Military Lots, No.s 500 to 799, inclusive, except Nos. 661-662-684, a total of 14,800 acres. This block of Soldier Lots extends from Meadow Mountain eastward and south of the Pennsylvania Line, including Johnson Farm. SPRUCE SPRING on the Braddock Road, was surveyed for Lawrence O'Neal in 1774. Was it the site of Braddock's third Camp? (Must have been since the state now has an Historical Marker there proclaiming this to be the site in question.)
Marker shows the following:
General Braddock's 3d Camp on the march to Fort Duquesne, June 16, 1755.
| In this deed it is explained that these lands had been the property of one of our earliest land Speculators, Thomas Johns, who in 1795 deeded them to James Greenleaf of Philadelphia; in 1796 Edward Fox came into the business and in 1797 Greenleaf, Fox and Simpson transferred these and "many other" lands in trust to the merchants first named, Robert Morris and John Nichols entering the picture as "parties of the third part." In brief, these and other Maryland lands, figured in various land deals, which probably made money for a few, but the actual settler later "paid the freight." The Johnson family owned some 40,000 acres of land, lots in Washington, iron furnaces, etc....but perhaps it would have been better for them to have owned less and to have had more economic security. |
Baker Johnson, born Sept. 3, 1747, was a brother of of the Governor. He was a resident of Frederick and commanded Maryland troops during the Revolution. He surveyed and patented large tracts of land Westward of Fort Cumberland. One of his grandsons was General Bradley Johnson of the Confederate Army.
Joshua Johnson, another brother of the Governor, was the father of Louisa C. who became the wife of President John Quincy Adams.
NOTE from Hoye: "We are indebted for much of our data on the Johnson family to the recently published 'Life of Thomas Johnson,' " by Edward S. Delaplaine.
| The Genealogy of this Johnson family was found in the Hoye's book noted above. It begins with: "The Johnson ancestry is traced to James Johnson of the old English city of Yarmouth of which he was one of the two bailiffs in 1590. |
His son, Thomas Johnson I, in 1625 was a member of the famous 'Short Parliament.'"
Thomas Johnson II, during the Great Rebellion, was a captain in the Parliamentary forces, but after the execution of King Charles I, he changed to the Royalist side; his son, James, was knighted by Charles II.
Thomas Johnson III, son of the Captain, fell in love with and married Mary Baker, a ward in Chancery, without the consent of the Lord High Chancellor. 'Inasmuch as abduction and marrying of maids in Chancery constituted a high misprison, punishable by heavy fines and imprisonment as a contempt of Court, Johnson decided to flee with his bride from England.' They arrived in Chesapeake Bay in 1690 and settled in Calvert County. "
Thomas Jennings Johnson, Sr. "resided in Loudin County, VA, where he and his sister Rebecca owned the Catoctin Iron Furnace. Joshua was land poor so Thomas J. loaned him $20,000 to start his farm and businesses on the National Road, but Joshua failed to make his payments. Thomas J. was obliged to sell his iron business and about 1840 he also moved to Johnson Farm. Thomas J. made his home in an old log house after making additioins. It became a large two-story structure with four stone chimneys, located on the site of the present day frame house that sits on the north side of Route 40, just across from the Historical Marker for Braddock's 3rd Camp.
This log house, chimneys and all, were torn down ca. 1882. At that time the large present frame building was built by Thomas J. Jr. and his three brothers. A hotel is mentioned as being on this property but unsure if it was the large house noted above or was it located somewhere else? However, Joshua Johnson lived in a mixed log and frame house just behind the Hotel.
Joshua Johnson, son of Thomas V and Anne Jennings, inherited from his father, extensive tracts of land in what is now Garrett County. In 1836 Joshua moved from Frederick to what is known as THE JOHNSON FARM on the National Road in Johnson District No 9. Joshua married Harriet Beall late in his life. They had no children. Joshua died ca 1853 and is buried in the Johnson graveyard in the rear of the homestead.
The following deeds are ones found at the Allegany County Courthouse, October 2004, by Connie Beachy From Allegany County, MD Land Records:
Liber F-Folio 48 - The following deed was recorded the 23rd day of June 1810
TO ALL to whom these presents shall come before, KNOWN that I Thomas Johnson of Frederick County for the natural love and affection which I have for my daughter, REBECCA JOHNSON, wife of Thomas Johnson of James, of Louden County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, have granted and do hereby grant to my said Daughter Rebecca all that tract of land lying in Allegany County in the state of Maryland, called PEACE AND PLENTY, containing, according to the patent thereof to me, 1,500 acres more or less.
TO HOLD the same with its appurtenances to my said daughter, Rebecca and the heirs of her body.
IN WITNESS whereof I have hereto set my hand and affixed my seal this 31st day of May 1810. Signed and sealed by Thomas Johnson in the presence of J. GRAHAM and JOSHUA JOHNSON On the 13th day of June 1810 came before me the subscriber on of the Judges of the fifth Judicial district of Maryland, the within named Thomas Johnson of Frederick County and acknowledged the within deed to be his act and deed and the tract of land therein mentioned to be the right and estate of the within named Rebecca Johnson and the heirs of her body, according to the true intent and meaning of the within deed and the act _______ in such case made and provided. Witness my hand - Abm Scriver.
I believe this land is located near
The following deed was recorded
THIS INDENTURE made this 20th day of July, 1836 between Joshua Johnson and Thomas I. Grahame, divises of the late Thomas Johnson, Esquire of the one part, and Robert Oliver of the city of
WITNESSETH that the said Joshua Johnson and Thomas Grahame, for and in consideration of $4,800.00 current money, to them in hand paid before the sealing and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof they, the said Joshua Johnson and Thomas I. Grahame do hereby acknowledge, have granted, bargained, sold, aliened, released, enfeoffed and confirmed and by these presents do grant bargan, sell, alien, release, enfeoff and confirm unto him, the said Robert Olivr, his heirs and assigns forever, All that tract or parcel of land called THE PROMISED LAND, lying now in Allegany County in the state of Maryland, containing 1200 acres of land according to the patent granted to the said Thomas Johnson, bearing date of the 6th day of December, 1786, and recorded in Liber IC No 6-Folio (12?) for the courses of which said land, the said Joshua Johnson and Thomas I. Graham refer and by these presents convey and by these presents convey the said tract called THE PROMISED LAND, by the courses mentioned in the said patent as fully and to the same extent as if they were described in these presents, and also all that other tract called THOMAS AND ANN, lying in Allegany County in the state of Maryland, containing, according to the courses mentioned in the patent granted to the said Thomas Johnson on the 6th of December, 1786, and recorded in Liber IC-Folio 6 , 2000 acres of land and the said Joshua Johnson and Thomas Graham do hereby convey to the said Robert Oliver, the said tract called THOMAS AND ANN by the courses mentioned in said patent (were?) inserted in these presents. The said two above mentioned tracts or parcels of land are the said two tracts patented to the said Thomas Johnson to the said Joshua Johnson and Thomas I. Graham as by the will of the said Thomas Johnson, referanced therein bearing the hearing date of 4 July 1816 and recorded in Liber H-Folio 2 one of the record books of Wills in the office of register of Wills of Frederich County in the state of Maryland, more fully and at large af___. Together with the rights, _______ and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining and the reversion and reversions, remainder and remainders, rents, issuances? profits thereof and are the estate, rights title, Interest, property, claims and demand whatever legal and equitable, of them, the said Joshua Johnson and Thomas I. Graham, in and to the said two tracts or parcels of land and premises hereby bargained and sold with the right, men____ and appurtences and every or any part and parcel thereof.
(This goes on for another half page, just the same stuff over and over. It's signed by Joshua Johnson and Thomas I. Grahame (names spelled both Graham and Grahame in different places.)
Also witnesses, George Rohr and Jns L. Harding guarantee that Caroline Grahame, wife of Thomas Grahame, did agree to this deed and act of her husband.
AT THE REQUEST of Polly Johnson, this deed was recorded
THIS INDENTURE made this 30th day of August in the year 1831 between JOSHUA JOHNSON of
WITNESSETH that the said Joshua Johnson for and in consideration of the sum of $300.00 Current Money of the United States, to him in hand paid at or before the sealing delivery of these presents by the said Polly Johnson, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged by the said Joshua Johnson and from every part and parcel thereof doth hereby acquit, exonerate and discharge the said Polly Johnson, her heirs, executors and administrators, he the said Joshua Johnson hath granted, bargained and sold, aliened, enfeoffed, released and confirmed and by these presents doth give, grant, bargain and sell, enfeoff, release and confirm unto her, the said Polly Johnson, her heirs and assigns forever, all these two lots or parcels of land known and distinguished on the General Plat of the Land Westward of Fort Cumberland, and by numbers 500 and 601 and part of lot number 599, beginning for the outline of the whole at a stone standing on the north side of the National Turnpike Road, marked (P.J or P.I.) and running thence north ten perches to the beginning of lot No. 600, then north 179 perches, west 89½ perches then south 181 perches to the National Turnpike Road and then by a straight line line to the beginning, containing 106 acres, be it more or less, together with all the buildings, improvements, ____ ways and water courses, rights, priviledges, libertys, hereditments and appurtenances thereunto belonging or in anywise appertaining and the reversion remainder unto ______ profits thereof, and all the estate, rights, title, interest, ___ a_________ whatsoever _____ in Equity or otherwise however of him the said Joshua and every part and parcel thereof as aforesaid described premises hereby bargained, sold with the appurtenances and every part and parcel thereof unto her the said Polly Johnson, her heirs and assigns forever and the said Joshua Johnson for himself, his heirs, executors and administrators, doth hereby covenant, promise and agree to and with the said Polly Johnson, her heirs and assigns, that he, the said Joshua Johnson shall and will from time to time and at all times warrant and defend by these presents unto her the said Polly Johnson, her heirs and assigns thereof.
Signed by Joshua Johnson, witnessed by Belt(?) Brashear and
On this 30th day of August 1831 came Joshua Johnson, Grantor, before us, two Justices of the Peace for said State, in and for the said county and acknowledged the above instrument of writing to be his act and deed and the land premises aforesaid to be the right and Estate of the above named Polly Johnson, her heirs and assigns forever, according to the true intent and meaning of the same.
Acknowledged before Bert(?) Brashers and
I hereby certify that Bert Brashear and Washington Burgoff, gentlemen, before whom the forgoing acknowledged ______ and whose names are thereto Subscribers, were at the time thereof Justices of the Peace for the state of Maryland in and for Frederick County, duly commissioned and proven.
In Testimony whereof I hereinto subscribe my name and affix the Seal of Frederick County Court, the 13th day of December, 1831. Signed by John Schley, Clerk at
complied by Connie Beachy - cbeachy @ hereintown.net
County Coordinator - Sonny O'Haver,
Last updated on January 1, 2005