A Minister Among Friends

Jesse Allen Johnson, (1838-1920) was the son of Henderson Johnson and Amelia Norman. He was born in the Westfield District of Surry County, N. C., where he lived for several decades. His grandfather, Wright Johnson, was a well-known “local preacher” and deacon of the early Methodist denomination.

Jesse A. Johnson was married in 1859 to Elizabeth Gray. Only two of their children survived the Civil War era. Elizabeth died in 1876. Jesse married again, to a widow from Davidson County, Triphenia Everhart. They continued to live in Westfield.

Around 1890, the name Jesse A. Johnson began to appear in the Meeting Minutes of the Society of Friends (commonly known as Quakers.) A record of that year included “A Minute from White Plains Meeting of Ministry and Oversight asking that Jesse A. Johnson be recorded as a minister among Friends…” His name can also be found as a minister in a number of marriage records in Surry County, including the wedding of his half-brother, Charles Johnson, to Lillian Woodall.

The Yadkin Valley News of Oct. 3, 1891 reported that Rev. Allen Johnson was conducting a revival meeting near Westfield, at Jessup’s schoolhouse. Apparently he continued to preach, using schoolhouses as his venue. An article in the Mount Airy News in 1912 reported incidents at the McBride schoolhouse, during a sermon by Rev. Allen Johnson. In the 1910 census, his home was on McBride Road, in the Flat Rock area. His stepson, William Everhart lived nearby, and his daughter, Mary Hemming, lived with her husband near the granite quarry.

Jesse Allen Johnson died in that area in 1920.

Copyright 27 August 2020 by Glenda Alexander.  All rights reserved.

(News article from The Yadkin Valley News, Mt. Airy, N. C., 23 Oct. 1891, p. 3.  Records consulted include census reports, marriage and death records, newspaper articles, and Meeting Minutes of the Society of Friends.)

 

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