My Grandfather, Ezekiel (Zeke) Johnson

From my mother’s old photo album. Circa 1920s. At the Edgemere cottage, Roque Bluffs.

Zeke was born in 1885 and died in 1968. I remember my grandfather well, and his stories. He was a barber – and an inventor.

His parents were Jesse Warren Johnson (1857 – 1924) and Sarah Jane Marston (1856  – 1937). To my knowledge, Zeke had three brothers: Percy W (1880 – 1932), Charles E (1882 – 1971), and Adin L (1896 – 1972);  a sister, Effie M (1889 – 1985).

To his granddaughter (me), he was quite handsome and debonair. I can understand why my grandmother, Harriet Means, eloped with Zeke in 1908. She didn’t tell her parents, William and Nellie Means, because Zeke was from the wrong side of the river. You can read more about that saga here.

 

 

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A Story About Stephen Otis Johnson

given to me by Phil Watts, a history buff and close family friend from Roque Bluffs, Maine. My maternal grandfather, Ezekiel “Zeke” Johnson, grew up in nearby Kennebec and was a descendant of Stephen Otis Johnson. I don’t know the origin of the story or its authenticity, but it may contain hints that aid research on this branch of the family. Stephen Otis Johnson was born in England, the first Johnson ancestor who came to this country and fought in the Revolutionary War.

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This post is dedicated to the memory of Philip S. Watts, a second father to me.

“I can tell you one thing about the Johnson family,” Phil said. “They were all PRECISE.”

He told me that a woman in the Johnson family (I’ve forgotten her name now) kept the records of births and deaths in the town of Roque Bluffs for many years.

He continued, “After the records were turned over to the town office, she was called upon many a time when there was a question about documents and she made corrections.”

I laughed. “Well, that explains my mother’s penchant for precision. She could see a crooked curtain or hem instantly. And, she always edited my writing.”

I don’t consider myself precise. But, I can’t stand the sight of a crooked curtain, picture or hem. I could edit my writing forever. I admit, I have a few family members who will remain unnamed to protect their identity, who are most definitely precise.

Philip Watts’ Revolutionary ancestor was Samuel Watts who jumped aboard the Margaretta with my ancestor Joseph Getchell Jr. in the first naval battle of the American Revolution. Samuel’s sister, Hannah Watts Weston, was a heroine of that battle.

I wonder if our ancestors knew that hundreds of years later, their descendants knew each other, grew up around each other, and talked about history, our proud history.