Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 1166, Johnson Family
Papers, 1823-1879, 0.15 linear feet / 2 folders
Call Number: MG 1166
In 1823, Chilion Johnson (1800-1883) and his wife, Ann Woodruff Johnson (1800-1878), emigrated from New Jersey to Trenton, Ohio and moved subsequently to Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana. The collection is comprised mainly of letters from the Johnsons to their parents, siblings, and cousins in New Jersey. The letters depict the conditions of overland travel and westward settlement. A typescript genealogy of the Johnson Family is also included.
Gift of D. M. Pease, 1981.
Chilion Johnson (1800-1883), the second of fifteen children of Sarah Baker (1778-1837) and Mahlon Johnson (1775-1857), was born on July 24, 1800. His father was a farmer and landowner in Littleton, Morris County, New Jersey and it was there that Chilion grew up. On June 10, 1821, he married Angelina (Ann) Woodruff (1800-1878), a teacher from Westfield, New Jersey hired by his parents to teach his younger siblings. After living for two years in Littleton, the young couple moved from New Jersey to Trenton, Butler County, Ohio in 1823.
Chilion Johnson was a carpenter and bridge builder in the growing town of Trenton, and his wife was a teacher. After eight years in Trenton, however, the couple, now with young children, moved to Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana. It was here that the family settled permanently. Chilion and Ann Johnson had ten children together: Edwin (1822-1823), Abbie (1823-1823), Susan Day (1825-1912), Mary Gard (1828-1893), Mahlon Woodruff (1830-1834), Angelina Woodruff (1832-1919), Elizabeth Ball (1834-1906), Edgar Bryce (1836-1862), Mahlon Vail (1838-1930), and Walter Lloyd (1842-1928). The family were members of the Old School Baptist Church in Crawfordsville.
Ann (Woodruff) Johnson died in 1878, and five years later in 1883, Chilion passed away.
Pease, Mary Ball Johnson, et al, ed. Mahlon Johnson Family of Littleton, New Jersey: Ancestors and Descendants (Mahlon Johnson Association: Morristown, NJ, 1931).
This collection was the gift of D. M. Pease of Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1981 (accession A. 81-48).
The Johnson Family Papers consist mostly of the correspondence from Chilion and Ann (Woodruff) Johnson and their children to members of their extended family in other parts of the country, particularly New Jersey. There are sixteen letters dating from 1823-1879 which touch on such topics as religious beliefs; the carpentry business; the bridge building profession; the journey from New Jersey to Ohio; descriptions of the developing towns of Trenton, Ohio and Crawfordsville, Indiana; family updates; the importance of motherhood; and feelings of aloneness at leaving all family members behind. The letters have been arranged chronologically.
The collection also contains typescript family reminiscences and genealogical notes written by Hannah More Johnson (1832-1902), the daughter of Jacob Johnson (1798-1865), Chilion Johnsonís elder brother.
Processed by Kim Charlton, September 2000 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society