Johnson, Edward (1599?-1672) (DNB00)

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JOHNSON, EDWARD (1599?–1672), historian of New England, born at Herne Hill, Kent, about 1599, was by trade a joiner. He went to America in 1630, probably in the fleet of Governor Winthrop, for on 19 Oct. of that year he was among the petitioners for admission as freemen of Massachusetts (Savage, Genealog. Dict. ii. 550–1). After living some time at Charlestown, or Salem, he returned home in 1636 or 1637 to bring over his family (Mass. Hist. Soc. Coll. 3rd ser. viii. 276), and again settled at Charlestown. When in 1642 it was determined to erect a new town and church, now called Woburn, Johnson became one of the committee of organisation. In 1643 he went with Captain Cook and forty men to Providence to seize John Gorton [q. v.] In the same year he was chosen to represent Woburn in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and was annually re-elected (except in 1648) until 1671. He also held the town-clerkship from 1642 till his death, and was captain of the military company. In 1655 he was speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, and in 1665 he was one of the commissioners to meet Robert Carr, George Cartwright, and Samuel Maverick on their return from a mission to England. He died at Woburn on 23 April 1672. By his wife Susan he had five sons and two daughters.

Johnson is author of a valuable ‘History of New England from the English Planting in 1628 untill 1652’ [anon.], 4to, London, 1654, more generally known from its subtitle as ‘Wonder-working Providence of Zion's Saviour in New England.’ It forms part iii. of Sir F. Gorges's ‘America painted to the Life,’ 1659; and has been reprinted in the second series of the ‘Collections’ of the Massachusetts Historical Society, and again with notes by W. F. Poole in 1867.

[Cal. State Papers, America, 1661–8.]

G. G.