- Jonathan Smith, son of Ebenezer Smith and Sarah Cook, was born in 1705, in Suffield, Connecticut. Jonathan married Susanna Johnson, daughter of John Johnson and Mary Ramsey in 1727. Susanna was born in 1706, in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Jonathan and Susanna lived in Suffield, Connecticut.
Captain John Johnson, Susanna?s Great Grandfather, was born about 1590 in England. John married Mary Heath, daughter of William A. Heath and Agnes Cheney, in 1613, in Ware, Hertfordshire, England. Mary was born in 1600, in Ware, Hertfordshire, England. This "Puritan" immigrant ancestor and the first member of the Johnson family in America came from Wilmington Parish, county Kent, England with his wife Mary and five children with the Winthrop Fleet. All of his brothers immigrated to America with the exception of Abraham who remained in England. The fleet sailed from London March 1, 1630. John Johnson, with his family, arrived aboard the ARBELLA ? the flagship of the Winthrop Fleet landing at Salem Massachusetts on June 14, 1630 ten weeks later.
Capt. John Johnson settled in Roxbury, and was appointed Constable in 1630. He and his son-in-law Richard Mowry, were made Freeman in 1631. He owned and operated a tavern or "ordinary" in Roxbury.
Capt. John Johnson was active in the business of the Colony, as Juryman, serving on Committees, as Surveyor laying out the bounds of Towns around Boston. In 1634 John Johnson and Richard Dumer were ordered to build a bridge across Muddy River. Five towns were to contribute to the cost. In 1636 he was chosen one of a Committee to determine the valuation of the several towns. In 1637 he was chosen one of the Deputies to levy on the towns for raising fifty men to send against the Pequots. He was also chosen Surveyor General, an office, which at that time, included the care of the stock of arms and the ammunition of the Colony. An interesting account of the burning of his house, with the Colony's stock of powder, also the Town Records of Roxbury, of which he was Town Clerk, is given in Governor Winthrop's History, also in Drake's History of Roxbury. He was chosen Deputy to the House of Deputies to represent Roxbury in 1634, the first year of that Assembly; and was chosen for twenty-one years afterward, nearly all consecutively. He was also one of the founders of the First Church of Roxbury and, together with his sons Isaac and Humphrey, was an original donor to the Free School in Roxbury.
Captain John Johnson was the first Clerk of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery. His son, Isaac, was its Captain and leader at one time. It is the oldest military organization in this country, founded March 13, 1638, and which still proudly maintains its existence. Upon the rolls of its members are to be seen the names of men who in their day, through the entire history of Massachusetts, were foremost in peace and war, and who occupied the highest place in science, art, and literature, and in social, political and military life. At no time could any but a distinguished citizen have become a member of its society."
Late in his life, John Johnson was granted one thousand acres of land in consideration of his great service to the Colony.
When the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony authorized the minting of the now famous "Pine Tree Shilling," Edward Johnson, Thomas Clark, and John Johnson as members were charged with selecting the mint master, John Hull, and supervising the operation to insure the fineness of the silver content. His house and buildings were destroyed by fire in August 1645, caused by the explosion of seventeen barrels of his colony's gunpowder, which destroyed many arms and most of the towns, first records. In 1655, he and others were granted permission to "set down" (erect) a gristmill.
As an addenda of possible family interest regarding the official duties of John Johnson in connection with the historic case of Anne Huchinson. Anne Huchinson, the religious dissenter of the time, are the following: She had publicly challenged the Puritan religious and political principles of the Colony and was subsequently tried, banished and migrated to Rhode Island.
When Anne Hutchinson was taken into custody, the Court ordered that the arms of her adherents be delivered to the custody of Captain John Johnson and the town of Roxbury be required to take orders for their custody and any charges that might arise be defrayed to her husband. After her court trial and sentence of banishment by the Massachusetts Bay Colony, she was restricted from November 1636 to April 1637 to the home of Joseph Weld. Her stay in Weld's home apparently was not too oppressive, because she stated "that except for the fact that she must have a companion when she went for a walk, she would have thought herself an honored guest in the house." Weld was an important man in the Colony and the father of Mary (Weld) Harris whose daughter Mary married Isaac Johnson, Jr., a grandson of John Johnson.
Captain John Johnson died in 1659, in Roxbury, Suffolk, Massachusetts, aged 69. Mary died in 1655, in Roxbury, Massachusetts, aged 55.
Twelve Presidents of the United States number among his descendants. The list of names of his other descendants who held prominent military, civic, social, literary, and educational offices in service of this country would number in the thousands.
Descendants of Captain John Johnson who are your notably cousins are:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, 41st U.S. Vice President and Governor of New York
James Schoolcraft Sherman, 27th U.S. Vice President
Frank Winfield Woolworth, founder of F. W. Woolworth chain of stores
Walter Elias 'Walt' Disney, movie and television producer, founder of Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland, pioneer in film animation
Jonathan and Susanna had seven children Martin, Charles, Abiah, Susanna, Elihu, Jonathan, and Elisha Smith.