Johnson: Descendants and ancestors of William Johnson (1781-1852) of Weaverthorpe, Yorkshire and Ontario, Canada

William JOHNSON, 1780 - 1852

William Johnson was christened on 03 June 1781 in Hutton Cranswick, Yorkshire, England. He was the seventh child born to Christopher Johnson and Ann Peckston. William’s brothers and sisters were Sarah (born bef 1769); John (born 1770); Thomas (born 1771); Hannah (born 1773); Ann (born 1776); Mary (born 1778); Elizabeth (born 1783); Tamar (born 1786); and Thomas (born 1789). William was the only son to survive to adulthood. William’s father, Christopher Johnson was born in Hutton Cranswick, Yorkshire, England in 1750 and his mother, Ann Peckston was born in Great Driffield, Yorkshire, England about 1745. William Johnson lived in Weaverthorpe, East Yorkshire, England and worked as a ‘Wright’ (definition – craftsman, maker, - arch. exc. in comb., as shipwright, wheelwright, playwright). On 28 November 1801, by banns lawfully published, William Johnson married Mary Ireland, who was the fourth of eight children born to Moses Ireland and Frances Sawden. Her brothers and sisters were Richard, Susannah, George, Ann, William, Ann and Frances. The marriage took place in the Parish Church of Weaverthorpe and was officiated by Abraham Ashworth, Curate.

William and Mary had 12 children: Ann (1802-18), Frances (1804-1880), Christopher (1806-1876), William (1807 - Abt 1895), Hannah (1809-1818), Susanna (1812-1901), Mary (1813-1909), Tamar (1814-1906), Elizabeth (1818-1906), Ann (1820 - ?), Moses (1821-1902), and Hannah (1824-1824). Mary died shortly after her last child died.

On Nov 7, 1827, William remarried to Elles Robson, the second child of William Robson and Esther Postill. Her siblings were Ann and William. Three children were born to William and Elles in Yorkshire and two were baptized in Weaverthorpe: Thomas (1828- bef 1891), and Hannah (1830 - bef 1836). Ester was born 1831 (died 1925), although no record of baptism has been found for her.

Throughout his marriages and the baptisms of his children in Weaverthorpe, William's occupation is given as “Wright”. The church-warden’s accounts for Weaverthorpe show William working for pay on church repairs from 1805 through to 1828. He is also assessed for support of the church from 1817 through to 1828. There is no further entry of his name in the Church wardens’ accounts after that date. However, 2 more children were baptized in the parish, Thomas and Hannah. It is probable that William began to make plans to emigrate to Canada about the time that his father was dying. I think he stopped working for the Church because he probably moved back to Hutton Cranswick to be near his mother in 1828. His daughter, Frances married for the first time in May 1828, so she probably just remained in the family house. Several of the children claimed to have emigrated in 1828 which appears to have been to prepare a house for the family for when they finally emigrated. This house was at Concession N1, lot #9, Toronto Township, Ontario. After William's mother died in 1832, the family immediately left for Canada.

In Canada, 7 more children were born, all surviving to maturity: Robson (1833-1901), John (1834-1910), Hannah (1836-1914), Matthew (1838-1927), Richard (1840-1888), Isaac (1840-1922), and Postill (1842-1905). In all, William sired 22 children.

After living for a time in the Dixie residence (Toronto Twp.), the family moved to Trafalgar (Oakville) and then on to Binbrook. Here, they settled on a farm about 2 miles east of the village of Binbrook (lot 4, con 4, block 2). William died Oct 28th 1852, aged 72 years, a native of England. That is the sum of the knowledge given on his tombstone. It also has the verse: “A loving friend a husband dear / A tender parent lieth here / Great is the loss we here sustain / But hope in Heaven to meet again”. At the top is an engraving of a flower and the stone used to be capped with a finial which had been lying at its base for many years. The stone was toppled about 1999 and has since been re-erected, but turned a quarter turn from its original orientation. William's inscription used to face east, but now faces south. This burial site is in the Knox Presbyterian Cemetery in Binbrook Township, about 1 mile east of the village of Binbrook in the north-east corner of the farm which is lot 2, concession 4, block 3.

In celebration of the 1832 immigration, the family planned a reunion for 1932. 230 members of the family were present for the reunion in 1933 at which a picture of all of them was taken. See this picture here. The reunions ceased after several years, probably due to the war.

To verify that William was NOT born in Weaverthorpe, I transcribed the entire item 3 of the Family History Center's film #0990896. This was Bishop's Transcripts of the Parish register for the period 1769-1790. This is not an index, but a complete transcript. If you print it, some of the pages are legal-sized, but most are letter-sized. The last 2 pages contain notes on the transcription and an index to the towns and parishes mentioned in the transcript. I found it interesting that two years were reported twice and that the copies are essentially perfect copies of each other.

A family reunion was held on Saturday, July 31, 2004 to celebrate the descendants of William Johnson & Mary Ireland and William Johnson & Ellis Robson. The event took place at the Agricultural Hall on the Binbrook Fairgrounds located on Highway #56, Binbrook, Ontario. The doors opened at 9:00 a.m. Events of the day included outdoor activities, display tables, photo opportunities including a 2004 Johnson Reunion Photo, ending the day with a sit down dinner at 5:30 p.m.

If you think you are a part of this family, please send me an e-mail.

Here is a map showing rough locations of the cities and towns I have found significant in this family.

Parts of East Riding of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire

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