Monday, July 14, 2014

52 Ancestors #28- John McGee Johnson-Husband of Minnie May Marion Kendall

Sometimes writing family history is not fun at all, and so I'm inclined to leave this post about my husband's paternal grandfather empty. However, that's the risk of writing about ancestors. Some are more enjoyable than others because the good, the bad and the indifferent are in everyone’s family. I'll dive into it and hope I'm as even-handed as a third-hand reporter can be.

John McGee Johnson was husband’s paternal grandfather, and he knew him only slightly.

John McGee Johnson's vitals:  
  • Born 25 Aug 1894 in Boston Massachusetts to
Mary Catherine Caroline McGee of Hopetown, Bonaventure, Gaspe, Canada and ? Johnson [unconfirmed that he was "John Johnson"] of Boston Mass, possibly a Swedish or Norwegian immigrant.
- 1916 their 1st child, Marjorie, was born
He was working for Boston & Maine Railroad
- 1918 their  2nd child, Gordon, was born
- 1920 their 3rd child, Ronald, was born
- 1922 4th child, John Kendall, was born in E. Putney, Vermont
- 1928 5th child, Reta, was born

  •  Then on 1 Mar 1938, his wife Minnie, died in New Hampshire.
He worked for B & M Railroad in eastern New York
Died 25 Nov 1959 in Pinellas Park, Florida 

Buried: Cycadia Cemetery,Tarpon Springs, FL

My husband was a young boy at the time of his death and his own family had already moved back to the Northeast after a brief try-out in Florida, so he doesn’t really remember him. 
In this post,  I’ll refer to the grandfather as JMJ here (so as not to confuse him with the other John Johnsons). 

Unfortunately, neither his son, my late father-in-law, my husband, nor my father-in-law's cousin,  nor my mother-in-law had good things to say about JMJ.  

I have no personal grudge, so I'll transmit what I've heard, and possibly you'll understand why my father-in-law was so close to his mother. And, when his mother (JMJ's wife) died in his adolescent years, my father-in-law bonded with his Aunt Grace, his cousin Ray Miner and his eldest brother Gordon (all now deceased).  

This is what I’ve heard about JMJ: an alcoholic, a philanderer, not a good husband, not kind and he played favorites with his (some of his) children. Even considering that it was a different era, and expectations about fathers were different, that is a very bad report. 

In his favor, I do want to mention that it looks like, looking at his work history, he did support his family. I wouldn’t say they were well-off, but they were cared for. 
I would mention that Aunt Grace looked after my father-in-law might be a credit to JMJ. Perhaps he was aware of his limitations, of his inability to nurture a son in his grief. I'm not sure how it came to be, but perhaps he saw the wisdom in allowing an aunt to step in to assist his son.
This is the end of my "recollections." Turning back to the facts of John McGee Johnson. 

If his father and mother married, his father died quite soon after his birth. His mother re-married a man named Porter. They appear in the 1910 Census in Medway, Massachusetts. Porter is the Head of the house, Mary the wife and John Johnson as stepson. Eva Porter is listed as "adopted." 
 According to the census they had in boarders (as many people did).

1910 Census Boston

John McGee Johnson as a young man

Front of World War 1 Draft Card - John McGee Johnson
Back World War 1 Draft Card. "Lives with his mother Mrs. Nellie Porter"

Minnie May's Death Certificate - March 1938

Soon after Minnie's death, John M Johnson moved his family to eastern New York (Hoosic Falls) area. They lived in Eagle Bridge and later in Stillwater, NY.
Hoosic Falls, NY post card, probably early 1930s

A local paper, the Troy Times Record of Troy, NY had a sampling of news from Eagle Bridge, NY. In 1940, John M Johnson appears as having had a fender-bender:
JMJ in Eagle Bridge, Troy Times Record newspaper 1940
Jaffrey, New Hamshire, July 1946, L-R JMJ, son John and new bride on wedding day.
Timeline for John McGee Johnson

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