Cemetery or Johnson Cemetery
Provided by Joel Honeycutt and Pat Althaus
Blanco County Historical Commission, 101 Pitchfork, Johnson City, TX 78636.
Prepared for the TXGenWeb Blanco County Web Site by Wanda Qualls
Location: Take Farm Road 1623 four miles west of Blanco and then into Farm Road 1888 for one more mile. Turn right onto the lane, from the house it is a short distance through the pasture to the cemetery. Four graves, unmarked and only a fence around the infants grave.
No one seems to know who is buried there at all. An infant that is supposed to belong to a man and woman buried there. No names. Someone said that a preacher was buried there but no proof.
I am Don Watson who began the Blanco GenWeb site
I noticed something on the cemeteries list at the site that I thought I would offer as an update if you like. It pertains to the "Bryom Place Cemetery"... this cemetery and the Old Byrom Place is known to be the land originally belonging to Rev. Samuel Johnson (my 3rd great-grandfather). This little cemetery was restored about 15 years ago by the family of Shirley Wierich of Johnson City, also a descendant of Rev. Johnson. I have not spoken to Shirley in several years, but last I did, the land the cemetery sits on and access to the cemetery was suppose to be deeded over to Shirley's family by the current landowner at that time to preserve the cemetery. I believe that landowner has long since passed, but I do not know if the land was ever deeded over to Shirley. In any case, I have long made effort to document who might be in the 4 unmarked graves and the best of my research ... a lot is based on speculation ... is that the 4 graves belong to:
Rev. Samuel Johnson (Jun 15, 1804 - Dec 17, 1882)
Hannah D. (Harrison) Johnson (Dec 09, 1806 - Aug 21, 1877) wife of Rev. Samuel Johnson and sister of Robert P. Harrison
Martha Viola (Johnson) Gates (May 12, 1836 - Apr 09, 1857) daughter of Rev. Johnson and 1st wife of A.V. Gates
Samuel A. Johnson (Nov 13, 1842 - Mar 14, 1869) son of Rev. Johnson and 1st husband of Sarah Jane Page and father of James Robert Page.
Many stories abound about "a preacher" being buried there...also, Shirley's family states that James Robert Johnson told his children that his grandfather was buried there. Rev. Johnson was a well known circuit rider for the Methodists in the area.
A.V. Gates biography in "Record of Southwest Texas", states that his first wife Martha was buried on land overlooking the Blanco River. A.V. Gates owned land adjoining Rev. Johnson before he later moved to Kendall County. This little cemetery is on a hill overlooking the Blanco river.
Hannah is simply suggested and believed to be buried there because evidence suggests that her husband is there. The son Samuel A. Johnson, for some time was a bit of a "legend" in his story as he was "lost" for a time after the Civil War and believed killed...at least that is the way the legend went. In fact, he had been captured during the war, then later released toward the end in New Orleans. A newspaper notice of a divorce petition filed by his wife Sarah Jane Page indicates that he had been abusive of her and that after his release in New Orleans, he was living with a woman there "in Adultery". In October of 1868, he returned home very sick and lived with Rev. Johnson and Hannah and according to the legend...Sarah nursed him through his illness though she had remarried to David Trainer. Samuel A. Johnson died Mar 14, 1869 and because he was living with his parents and had no other family known, it is believed that he is the forth grave in the little cemetery.
The little child with the fence that surrounds her according to Shirley and the lady that was living on the property back during the restoration, was a relative of the Byroms. This is only from memory, but I believe that the little girl was about 11 or 12 years of age and was a niece visiting the family when she died. Shirley Wierich would know more about her.
During the restoration that was performed by Shirley and her family in the mid 1990's, they cleaned the place up, re-stacked rocks over the graves and fenced the entire cemetery with an arched gate with the name JOHNSON in the arch. I have photos of the cemetery taken after the restoration that I will need to scan, but can send to you. I need to contact Shirley to see what the status of the property is and firm up the identity of the little girl in the cemetery. The lady that was to deed the cemetery over to Shirley said that her husband wanted the cemetery preserved which is why she was deeding it to Shirley's family. She also stated that she would like any record of the cemetery to include the burial of a beloved family dog that belonged to her and her husband that was buried there as well...so there are actually 6 graves in the little cemetery.
Pictures sent by Don Watson
As for the photos, one photo was taken several months prior to completion of the restoration...there are cows in the picture. It shows the condition before restoration. The other 3 are of the 4 main graves for Johnson family members and a distant view of the fence and gate that was built at restoration. If you look at that photo, you will see to the far left, about 1/3 way up from bottom of photo what appears to be a stump...it is one of the graves (the single grave in another photo)...then behind the tree in the center of the photo is a small little fenced grave which is the little unidentified 11 or 12 year old girl...next there are two graves side by side (in another photo), the two graves are just behind the right gate post and just to the right of the right gate post...then just behind and to the far right almost out of the photo is the last grave.
The four graves for the Johnson's are located in a peculiar manner...2 side by side (assumed to be Rev. Johnson and his wife Hannah) then one grave way to the side of them but somewhat distant, and the other is in line with their graves but somewhat distant toward the foot or head of their graves. The little girl's grave is to the opposite end of them from the last grave mentioned. There are no marked headstones for any of these graves that remain, if there ever were any to begin with.
I might add here that Martha Viola (Johnson) Gates died barely a year after the family arrived in the area. Her grave has to be one of the very oldest graves in Blanco County...according to stories, only James H. Callahan, his young son, William Milford and wife Sarah and William S. Johnson died earlier, and they all within the year prior to Martha's death.
One final thought...just so that it is clear, I am not certain that this cemetery was ever actually deeded over to Shirley...it was suppose to have been, but I am not sure that happened, even though the cemetery is private property and even if Shirley has deed to it, it is inaccessible from the public as it sits in the middle of private property. Shirley was to get access rights to the cemetery as well, but still it is on private property and it is not visible from any public road. I say this only in case someone might wish to try to see the cemetery...they should seek permission to enter the property.
I have included obituaries for Rev. Johnson, Hannah Johnson and Samuel A. Johnson below, though nothing in them state specific burial location, but they all died in Blanco county.
I left out a small detail about Rev. Samuel Johnson and his burial there...though it is circumstantial at best with what is known today, according to his biography written in the "Record of Southwest Texas by Goodspeed in 1894", the last sentence in his bio states...
"He died in 1882, and was buried in the old Johnson Cemetery near Blanco."
This is the only possible cemetery "near Blanco" ... mind you it is only about 3-4 miles west of town ... that can qualify as the "old Johnson Cemetery"...all other "Johnson Cemeteries" in Blanco County are located near Johnson City.
OBITUARY:The Rev. Samuel Johnson was born in East Tennessee, June 15, 1804; was married to Miss Hannah D. Harrison on Feb. 22, 1827, and died in Blanco county, Texas, Dec. 17, 1882. His aged wife preceded him to heaven about five years, having lived together more than 50 years, and having celebrated their "golden wedding" just before her death. He was the father of ten children, eight of whom went before him to heaven, the most of them dying in infancy --- the others dying like their parents, in the faith of the Son of God.. The two daughters who are left are both members of the church, and following in the way their father trod; consequently they mourn not as those who have no hope.. He moved from Tennessee to Alabama, and from Alabama to Arkansas, and from Arkansas to Texas in 1848, and first settled in Washington County. In 1856 he moved to Blanco County. Bro. Johnson professed religion and joined the Methodist Church when he was 14 years old, and was licensed to preach when he was 36 years old. He was ordained elder by Bishop John Early, at Chappel Hill, Texas, in 1854, when he was 50 years of age. When 22 years old he obtained a certificate from his teacher of his high, moral, industrious, energetic and Christian character. Col. McCracklin, one of the Texas veterans who lives in this county, says: "I have known him over 55 years; he was a good man." In all the relations of life, as husband, father, brother, friend, neighbor, preacher, pastor, he was faithful, kind and obliging. He never joined the itinerant ministry, but several times was employed as a supply, and was always very acceptable. The people to whom he had preached for 25 years still loved to hear him preach. Last summer at our camp meeting he was taken violently sick and was carried home by friends and never fully recovered. At that meeting he did some most excellent and efficient preaching and alter work. I met him as, in the carriage between two friends, he started from the ground. He said to me, "I know not what will be the result but I am in the hands of my Savior!" On the night of the 12th of December he came into the family prayer without his large testament, and repeated from memory the 5th chapter of Romans, from beginning to end, held prayers went to bed, and at midnight was taken very ill, and continued until he died. Earth is poorer, but heaven is richer, when such a man dies. Blanco circuit has lost one of its best members, and the M. E. Church South, one of its best local preachers. Grandpa Johnson, the good old man is dead --- R.M. Leaton
[Texas Christian Advocate -- December 30, 1882, Page 3]
OBITUARY:A mother in Israel has fallen asleep in Jesus. Hannah L. Johnson was born in the State of Tennessee, December 9, 1806; she moved to the State of Alabama with her father, where she remained until her marriage with the Rev. Samuel Johnson, February 22, 1827. In the same year she made a public profession of religion and joined the Methodist Church in which she lived a consistent and useful member until August 21, 1877, when she joined the church triumphant. Brother and Sister Johnson came to Texas in 1848, and for some time past lived in Blanco county, where they lived together in great peace and usefulness, and long will the church and community greatly miss Mother Johnson. She was truly a helpmeet to her husband, in aiding him in dispensing the gospel to perishing sinners and always ready to hold up the hands of God's ministers as they strove against the powers of darkness. Mother Johnson was a woman of clear and well cultivated mind. And well did she know how to make her home a home for, and a place to be desired, by all God's ministers that knew her. But now she sleepeth; we will hear her motherly voice no more on earth; but yet she lives -- she lives in the affections of a large circle of admiring friends, and long will her godly example speak in gentle and persuasive tone in our land. She had been a child of affliction, and oft did it seem that she had come to the waters of death; but then was her faith stronger, and brighter shone her Christian character, but now she suffers no more, she sorrows no more, and all tears are wiped from her eyes, and she is blest. "For I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, write; blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, sayeth the spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them." -- W. L. Carleton.
(Except for this instance, Hannah is always identified as Hannah D. Harrison.) [Texas Christian Advocate -- September 15, 1877]
OBITUARY (Abstracted info):Samuel A. Johnson, our son, our only remaining son, who was absent from us for near four years, was brought home October last with Chronic Diarrhea. He professed religion three weeks before he died. Died on the morning of the 14th inst. [current month of March] He was twenty-five years of age. Mentions Bro. John conducted funeral service for son Emmet, a youth of twelve years of age. This is the eighth grave we have dug for our children. We have but two remaining. Samuel and H. D. Johnson, Blanco, March 25, 1869.
[The Texas Christian Advocate, 15 April 1869, Vol. XI -- Published: Galveston, Texas; Editors: Veal & John)
DIVORCE NOTICES. J. Johnson
Saml. A Johnson
Whereas S. J. Johnson a resident of said County has filed her Petition against Saml. A. Johnson alledging that she was lawfully married to said Johnson in the month of April 1861 in said County. That about the first day of January 1864 after repeated acts of Illtreatment, and Outrages upon the feelings of the Petitioner by her said husband. He abandoned her with intention of abandonment leaving her to support herself and Child (a son) without any means furnished by him. That on the first day of January 1865 and eversince her said husband has been living in Adultery with a woman in New Orleans La. (whose name is unknown to Petitioner) pretending to be married to her and representing her as his wife, and that said Saml. A. Johnson is beyond the limits of this State and Petitioner prays for a divorce from the Bonds of matrimony from her said husband and for cost and for the custody and control of her Child James Robert.
Therefore you are commanded to cite the said Saml. A. Johnson by publication for four successive Weeks previous to return day of the writ in same newspaper in the nearest County. to be and appear at the next Term of the District Court to be begun and holden in and for the County of Blanco at the Court House thereof on the 4th Monday after the first Monday in March 1868 to answer to said Petition.
Herein fail not, but of this Citation make due return as law directs.
Given under my hand and Seal of Office in Blanco County Texas, March 9th A. D. 1868
[ Transcribed as is from a German language newspaper of uncertain identity, but probably the New Braunfels Zeitung ]