Person:John Johnson (37)

Captain John Johnson
b.est 1590 England
  • HCaptain John Johnsonest 1590 - 1659
  • WMary Heath1593/94 - 1629
m. 21 Sep 1613
  1. Mary Johnson1614 - 1678/79
  2. Capt Isaac Johnson1615/16 - 1675
  3. John Johnson1618 - 1627
  4. Elizabeth Johnson1619 - 1683/4
  5. Humphrey Johnson1620 - 1693
  6. Joseph Johnson1622 - 1622
  7. Susan Johnson1623 - 1629
  8. Sarah Johnson1624 - 1681/82
  9. Joseph Johnson1626/7 - 1627
  10. Hannah Johnson1627/8 -
m. 1629-1633
  • HCaptain John Johnsonest 1590 - 1659
  • WGrace Negusest 1618 - bet 1671
m. abt 1656
Facts and Events
Name Captain John Johnson
Gender Male
Birth[4] est 1590 England
Marriage 21 Sep 1613 Ware, Hertfordshire, Englandto Mary Heath
Marriage 1629-1633 to Margaret Scudder
Marriage abt 1656 Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusettsto Grace Negus
Death[2] 30 Sep 1659 Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States
Burial[2] 1 Oct 1659 Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States

John was married in St. Mary the Virgin church in Ware End. Ware End was physically part of Great Amwell parish, where some of his children were baptized. It's unclear whether they physically moved or just switched parishes.

Came to America as part of the Winthrop Fleet aboard the "Arbella." (The Arbella was named for his possible kinsman Isaac Johnson's wife Lady Arabella Fiennes.) The fare was £5 a person, which included meals and beer. For John's family, that would have been £30, or about US$2000 (1999 $). [5]

He appears in Roxbury in 1630 when he served on a coroner's jury 28 Sept. 1630. He also requested admittance as freeman in Oct. 1630 (granted the following May). He appears on Eliot's list of first comers to the church at Roxbury. Though he signed his name with his mark, his inventory contained two bibles and a psalm book.

John served as quartermaster in Massachusetts, charged in 1642 with providing gun powder to each town as they needed it. He was still serving in this role in 1645, when his house, with several hundred pounds worth of gunpowder inside, caught fire. The massive explosion was recorded in Eliot's diary, as well as others. He also served on numerous town committees, including as Deputy for Roxbury to the General Court for over 20 years. Was Surveyor General in the years before his death. His tax valuation was one of the highest in town in 1642. By the early 1650s, he held 13 parcels of land, six of which had been grants from the town. In 1645, he petitioned for a 400+ acre grant, and later received 300 acres for his service to the town. At the time of his death, his estate was worth £623 1s. 6d., of which nearly £350 was real estate.[6]

John was a prominent Puritan, and is quoted in several books about the period. "There is no room in Christ's amry for tolerationists," he once said. He also appreciated learning beyond the bible, however. In 1645, he joined with others to establish the free grammer school in Roxbury. A list of 90 books he and William Parks loaned to others in the colony appears in the Mather Papers. [5]

John did not serve in the militia, but rather was freed from training, paying 10s. a year to the company, 31 October 1639, and the following year was freed entirely, in "regard of other public service without any pay to the company". If he was still eligible for service in 1640, he must have been under the age of 60.[2] He was however a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts 1638-1646 and Captain of the Roxbury Military Company. The memberships lead to the discovery that he was a member of the Honourable Artillery Company of London in 1612. [5]

Family Connections

Connections to the Heath family revealed through wills - calls Isaac Heath “my loving brother”, Isaac names Mary Johnson Mowry in his will. [7]>

His other wives were recorded in New England records as Margery and Grace Negus [Fawer][2]. Margery's name and lineage is usually given as Scudder, based on the Ancestral File, but that record also erroneously indicates that they married on the date he married Mary Heath, and places Margery as the mother of his children.

Ancestor of Franklin Pierce and Walt Disney through son Isaac; of FDR through son Humphrey.


"John Johnson of Roxbury" bequeathed to "my beloved wife" my dwelling house and certain lands "I have already given" during her natural life according to a deed, also £60 for her household furniture "which house and lands, after my wife's decease, I give unto my five children to be equally divided, my eldest son having a double portion"; to "my two grandchildren who have lived with me, Elizabeth Johnson and Mehittabel Johnson" £5 each; to "my sons Isaak Johnson & Robert Pepper" confirm the parcel of lands of fifty-five acres in the third division "I have formerly given" them; residue to "my five children equally divided, my eldest son having a double portion"; sons Isaac Johnson & Robert Pepper executors; "my dear brethren Elder Heath and Deacon Park" overseers; "If my children should disagree in any thing I do order them to choose one man more, to these my overseers, & stand to their determination"

  1.   Johnson in Roxbury Deaths, in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, United States. Vital Records of Roxbury, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849. (Salem, Massachusetts: Essex Institute, 1925-1926), 2:563.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 John Johnson, in Anderson, Robert Charles. The Great Migration Begins: Immigrants to New England, 1620-1633. (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1995).

    BIRTH: By about 1588 based on date of first marriage.
    DEATH: Roxbury 30 September 1659 ("John Johnson, Surveyor General of all the arms, died & was buried the day following" [ RChR 176].)
    MARRIAGE: (1) Ware, Hertfordshire, 21 September 1613, Mary Heath; she was buried at Ware 15 May 1629.
    (2) By 1633 Margery _____. "Margery Johnston [sic] the wife of John Johnson" was #90 on Eliot's list and probably came to New England in the spring of 1633 [RChR 79]. "Margery Johnson, the wife of John Johnson," was buried at Roxbury 9 June 1655 [RChR 176].
    (3) By 1656 Grace (Negus) Fawer, widow of Barnabas Fawer [MBCR 3:402]; she died after 21 December 1671 (date of will) and before 29 December 1671 (probate of will).

  3.   Savage, James. A Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England: Showing Three Generations of Those Who Came Before May, 1692, on the Basis of Farmer's Register. (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co, 1860-1862), Vol. 2:554.

    JOHN, Roxbury, came, prob. in the fleet with Winthrop bring. w. Margery, wh. d. or was bur. 9 June 1655, and his ch. Isaac and Humphrey, prob. others, as his will speaks of five ch. and my conject. is, that other three were ds. and all b. in Eng.; desir. adm. 19 Oct. 1630, and was made freem. 18 May foll. a man of est. and distinct. rep. at the first Gen. Court, 1634, and many yrs. foll. ar. co. 1638, surveyor-gen. of arms, and ammunit. He m. Grace, wid. of Barnabas Fawer, and d. 30 Sept. 1659.

  4. John Johnson, in Richardson, Douglas. The Heath Connection: English Origins of Isaac and William Heath of Roxbury, Massachusetts, John Johnson, Edward Morris, and Elizabeth (Morris) Cartwright. New England Historical and Genealogical Register. (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Jul 1992), 146:270.

    Judging from the date of his marriage, John Johnson was born probably about 1590. ...the question of John Johnson's parentage and place of birth remains unanswered.

  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Johnson, Gerald Garth. Biography and Genealogy of Capt. John Johnson from Roxbury, MA. Bower, MD: Heritage Books. 2000.
  6. Johnson, supra; Great Migration
  7. Richardson, Douglas. "Heath Connection," NEHGR 146:261-274

The Winthrop Fleet (1630)
The Winthrop Fleet brought over 700 colonists to establish a new colony at Massachusetts Bay. The fleet consisted of eleven ships: the Arbella flagship with Capt Peter Milburne, the Ambrose, the Charles, the Mayflower, the Jewel, the Hopewell, The Success, the Trial, the Whale, the Talbot and the William and Francis.
  Sailed: April and May 1630 from Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England
  Arrived: June and July 1630 at Salem, Massachusetts
  Previous Settlers: The Higginson Fleet (1629)

  Passengers: Winthrop wrote to his wife just before they set sail that there were seven hundred passengers. Six months after their arrival, Thomas Dudley wrote to Bridget Fiennes, Countess of Lincoln and mother of Lady Arbella and Charles Fiennes, that over two hundred passengers had died between their landing April 30 and the following December, 1630.
  Selected leaders and prominent settlers: Gov. John Winthrop - Richard Saltonstall - Isaac Johnson - Gov. Thomas Dudley - Gov. William Coddington - William Pynchon - William Vassall - John Revell - Robert Seely - Edward Convers - Gov. Simon Bradstreet - John Underhill - William Phelps

  Resources: The Winthrop Society - The Winthrop Fleet (Wikipedia) - Anderson's Winthrop Fleet