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Cornelius Johnson of Dorchester County, Maryland


   The first known instance of Cornelius Johnson's appearance in the records of Colonial Maryland was in 1672 when he immigrated to Maryland with his wife Barbara and daughters Mary & Barbara. They were listed as being "of Somerset county" in that year.  (The Early Settlers of Maryland, by Gust Skordas, pub. 1979, p.259  [Maryland patents Lib. 16 fol. 592]


   11 June 1672 Cornelius Johnson of Pokomoke, cooper, appoints his well beloved wife Barbary Johnson his attorney  to collect moneys or tobacco in his name and to "bargain, buy,...sell or dispose of any of my estate according as She Shall thinke fitt." The document was signed by Cornelius Johnson and witnessed by Osmond Deering and Henry Harman. (Maryland State Archives Vol. 87 pg. 141) Click here for the entire document.   The signature of Cornelius Johnson "of Pocomoke"

   Then in May or June of 1674 Cornelius Johnson petitioned the Maryland Assembly to become a naturalized citizen of Maryland and to pledge his allegiance to the British Crown. In this petition he states that he was born "att ffiacena vnder the same Dominions" meaning the United Provinces, now The Netherlands. (To Maryland From Overseas, by Harry Wright Newman, pub. 1982, p. 102 [Maryland Archives, vol. 2, p. 400] ) see footnote 1 for full petition. It is noted that his wife Barbara and two daughters where not naturalized and it is assumed that the three of them were born in England. Ffiacena is probably the town of Vianen in the present Dutch province of Zuid Holland or South Holland. Vianen is roughly east of Rotterdam which is likely Cornelius Johnson's point of departure for the New World

The Eastern Shore of Maryland & Delaware 1795                                                                                                The Seven United Provinces ca 1700 [now The Netherlands]

The Eastern Shore of Maryland & Delaware 1795

By the 6th of June 1679 Cornelius was living at "The Whorekill" in what is now Sussex County, Delaware. In a letter written by Gov. Edmund Andros of New York under date above he mentions "In the matter between Helmanus Wiltbanck & Cornelus Johnson..." (Some Records of Sussex County, Delaware, by C.H.B. Turner, [originally pub. 1909] pub. 1989 by Heritage Books, Inc., pg. 37)  On the 14th of February 1681(/82) Cornelius Johnson was fined by the Deale County Court the amount of 50 lbs of tobacco for "not working in the High ways after Leagaly warned" with numerous others. (Some Records of Sussex County, Delaware, by C.H.B. Turner, [originally pub. 1909] pub. 1989 by Heritage Books, Inc., pg. 65) 

The 1681-1688 Rent Roll of Sussex County (now Delaware) lists Cornelius Johnson as the owner of a tract called Brownbury containing 400 acres, surveyed on 6 January 1686, and another unnamed tract (Rotterdam) also containing 400 acres, surveyed on 13 February 1688(/89). (Colonial Delaware Records 1681-1713 by Bruce A. Bendler, pub. 1992, 1997, 2000,  Willow Bend Books) Rotterdam had actually been granted as a Maryland patent to Cornelius Johnson on the 8th of December 1688.(Settlers of Maryland 1679-1700, by Peter Wilson Coldham, pub. by The Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1995, pg. 93) Ruth Dryden's book on the Land Records of  Wicomico County, Maryland gives the following information on Rotterdam; "patented in Dec 1688 by Cornelius Johnson for 400 acres, Rent Rolls 1666-1723 possessed by Cornelius Johnson in Dorchester Co., 1689 Cornelius Johnson willed to Margaret Jones daughter of William Jones, William Jones, Jr. & David Jones, estate, (This is not the same Cornelius Johnson whose will is recorded in Somerset County, Maryland, she was mistaken about this), 9 December 1717 Cornelius Johnson sold to Edmund Huggins..." (Land Records of Wicomico County, Maryland 1666-1810, by Ruth T. Dryden, pg. 352)

   During the term of the January Court 1682(/83) held at Lewes in Sussex County is was noted that "the Jurey that went upon the death of John the sun of Cornelis Johnson brought their verdict into Court and say that they doe finde that he came by his death by a Dog or beast." (Some Records of Sussex County, Delaware, by C.H.B. Turner, [originally pub. 1909] pub. 1989 by Heritage Books, Inc., pg. 87)  John must have been very young (under 10 years of age at his death) as he was not yet born when his parents immigrated to Maryland in 1672.

   Cornelius Johnson and Henry Harman are listed as debtors to the estate of Henry Ward of Cecil County, Maryland on an inventory of the latter's estate, dated 29 April 1684. (Prerogative Court Abstracts 1679-1686, by Vernon L. Skinner, Jr., Family Line Publications, pub. 1992, pg. 50)  Also listed on this document were Hermanus Willtbank and Otto Wolegaft (Wolegast) both of whom are known to have been of Sussex County. In a later probate record of Henry Ward's estate it lists these fellows as "Cornelius Johnson & Hen. Harmanus" also listed in both records was a Matthew Harman / Harmanus.  (Prerogative Court Abstracts 1688-1698, by Vernon L. Skinner, Jr., Family Line Publications, pub. 1992, pg. 50)  There was apparently another Henry Harman / Harmon who resided in Dorchester County, Maryland prior to our Henry's arrival here, or I should say while our Henry was still located at "The Whorekill" in Delaware. The other Henry Harman died in Dorchester County sometime in 1685 or 1686. His inventory is undated and also the date of it's being recorded was omitted but from others recorded before and after it we can safely assume the 1685/86 death of this Henry Harman. (Prerogative Court Abstracts 1679-1686, by Vernon L. Skinner, Jr., Family Line Publications, pub. 1992, pg. 68)  The estate was a small one valued at only 22.16.6. The widow of this Henry Harman married secondly Christopher Short. At this point I would also like to dispel the belief that our Henry Harman / Harmon was one and the same as Henry Hayman of Somerset County, Maryland. There is ample evidence which refutes that claim in the records of that latter county.

   On the 15th of June 1695 Henry Harman and John Min(n)ifree appraised the personal belongings of Ralph Thompson and John Barnes, both of Dorchester County, Maryland, deceased.  (Prerogative Court Abstracts 1688-1698, by Vernon L. Skinner, Jr., Family Line Publications, pub. 1992, pg. 27)

   On the 2nd February of 1695(/96) a tract called Fiddenton (or Tiddenton) was surveyed for Henry Harmann,  containing 85 acres. The Dorchester County Rent Rolls show that this land was possessed by Cornelius Johnson who married Harman's daughter. (Dorchester County, Maryland Rent Rolls 1688-1707, Vol. #3, by Leslie & Neil Keddie, The Family Tree Bookshop, pg. 11)  Whether is was Cornelius Johnson, Sr. or Jr. who married Miss Harman is hotly contested. Some have speculated that it was Cornelius Johnson, Jr. whose wife Mary was the daughter of Henry Harman since their son was named Harmon Johnson however it appears that the most likely candidate is Barbara the wife of Cornelius Johnson, the immigrant, who was Henry Harmon's daughter. The proof may lie in the will of Henry Harman. Henry wrote his will on the 29th of October 1702 and his was a resident of Dorchester County at that time. He characterized himself as a tailor and the only person that he mentioned in his will was Barbary Johnson whom he made his executrix and also left her and her heirs his "entire estate, real and personal, including (his) dwelling plantation and tract Tidenton." (The Maryland Calendar of Wills Vol. IV, Wills from 1713-1720, by Baldwin & Henry, pg. 32) Witnesses to this document were Abell Pride, Robert Hobbs, Jr. and Ann Hobbs. The will was probated on the 18th of May 1714 but there is speculation that Henry's death had occurred somewhat earlier than this as Cornelius Johnson was listed as owner or possessor of Tiddenton by 1707.

   Cornelius Johnson was living in Dorchester County Maryland by  the 28th of May 1696 when he  and Henry Whitaker witnessed a transaction between Anthony Squires of Dorchester County and William Wattson which was acknowledged on the 2nd of June in the same year. (Abstracts from the Land Records of Dorchester County, Maryland Vol. B, by James A. McAllister, Jr., pub. 1960 2nd printing 1982, by Family Line Publications, pg. 15) See Timeline of Cornelius Johnson in Dorchester County, Maryland by clicking here.

 

Footnotes

1.) Province of Maryland (Archives of Maryland Vol. 2 p. 400) Assembly Proceedings, May--June 1674 

To the Right Honble. the Lord Proprietary of the Prouinces of Maryland and Avalon Lord Baron of Baltemore &ca. 

The Humble Peticon of John De Le maire William Tick Cornelius Johnson Axell Stille Henry ffreeman Marcus Syserson, Jeffery Jacobson, Henry Henderson, Oliver Colke, Mounts Anderson, Lawrence Christian, Hance Peterson, Cornelius Peterson, John Desjardins Martin Mugenbrough, Henry Mathews, Henry Inloeas, John Nomers, Andrew Clements, Cornelius Arenson Hester Cordea, John Lecount, Moses Lecount, Phillip La Count Anthony Lecount Hester Lecount, Katherin Lecount, Humbly sheweth unto your Lordship that your Peticoners John Lemaire was borne att Anjou in the Kingdom of France William Tick att Amsterdam in Holland vnder the Dominions of the states Generall of the vnited Prouinces Cornelius John-son att ffiacena vnder the same Dominions Axell Stille in the Kingdom of Sweadland...

 


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