Johnson Family Farm

Johnson Family Cemetery

SW Lot 10, Concession 4, Nassagaweya Township.
Guelph Line (east side), Campbellville.
GPS 43.50311°N, –80.004°W

History: A family cemetery is located on this lot but almost all trace of it has disappeared.

George Johnson a black slave from the United States, and one of the first settlers in Nassawageya, purchased the 200 acre farm in 1828. However there were two George Johnsons, known as Little George and Big George and they and their families lived together. It is believed they were called Little and Big because of their stature, not their ages. They apparently travelled the underground railroad together to settle in Canada. It’s unclear, however, whether the two men were related although that could be presumed.

When Little George died in 1865 at age 65, he was buried in this cemetery, as was his wife Mary. The land was left to Big George, who farmed and also worked with wood and iron. Big George was sexton at St. John’s Anglican Church and his wife Emily was the organist. They raised four sons. The oldest son, also George, opened a carpenter’s shop in Campbellville. Edward inherited the south-west quarter of his father’s lot and had a log home accessed by a lengthy driveway off Guelph Line. James stayed on his father’s farm and in 1875 his son, James R., took over the farm with his wife Clarissa (formerly of Oakville). The Johnson family was considered to be one of the founding families of St. John’s Anglican Church, being involved in area worship from the early years. The stone church that was constructed in 1870 was often cared for by the Johnsons. James R. and Clarissa were in charge of St. John’s cemetery from 1913 to 1933 and his methodical work in recording burials is said to be a blessing to today’s genealogists.

It is not known how many graves are located in the family farm cemetery but there is at least one child’s grave in addition to those of Little George and his wife Mary. The 1877 Halton Atlas shows this property belonging to James and Samuel Johnson, and the cemetery located just south of the residence. A lady who lived on this lot as a young girl stated that she remembered the old cemetery and that it had one or two gravestones which were difficult to read.