Monday, September 5, 2011

Some Johnsons of Tompkins County NY

This is it, the last two newspaper clippings of obituaries that are in my grandmother's collection! I'm amazed I've actually completed a task - I promise I won't let it go to my head.

The clippings have been trimmed of all identifying information and one of them is maddeningly vague about the person on top of that. To my knowledge, these two people are not family members, so must have been friends or neighbors.

I suspect that they must have been related to each other in some way, but I have no proof for that yet. Both seemed to have lived, or at least were buried in the south-eastern corner of Tompkins County, NY.

First we have a gentleman named Royal C. JOHNSON. Annoyingly, there were apparently multiple JOHNSON men with the first name of Royal during this time period (who knew???), but I was able to find my guy in several federal census records, and I also found his World War I Draft Registration Card. So I know for a fact that this Royal was actually Royal Casey JOHNSON.

In the 1900, 1910 and 1920 Federal Census records he was living in Caroline, Tompkins County, NY with the family members named in the obituary. I can't be sure of his parents because that information would have been in the 1890 census. In 1930, the records show him and his wife living in Ithaca, Tompkins County, NY. All these years he was working in a lumber mill, first as a sawyer, eventually by 1930 he was the foreman.

Now, my next JOHNSON is much more mysterious. This is a really frustrating obituary - no year, no gender, no mention of family members. At first, I assumed it was a woman based on the name. Turns out though as I did searches online, Benonia can be a man's name, and is often interchangeable with "Benona". You learn something every day!

I was unable to locate this person for sure in the records I searched (admittedly, it was only an online search in ancestry, rootsweb and find a grave). The person they were living with when they died (William J. Van De Mark) has a name common enough that I wasn't comfortable making a choice.

Oh well!! I will come back to this one day and we'll see what turns up then!

Obituary Text:

Royal C. Johnson
Royal C. Johnson, 63, of the Danby Rd. died Sunday, Apr. 21, 1946, at his home.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Pearl T. Johnson; 2 sons, Howard Johnson of Las Vegas, Nev., and Lloyd Johnson of Elkhart, Ind.,; 2 daughters, Mrs. Ethel Yonkin of Ithaca RD 3 and Mrs. Thelma Jones of Ithaca; 4 sisters, Mrs. James Gleason of Ithaca RD 2, Mrs. Daniel Flynn of Ithaca, and Mrs. Charles Quick and Mrs. Edward Fitzpatrick of Detroit, Mich.; 3 brothers, Harry Johnson and William H. Johnson of Ithaca and James Johnson of the Town of Caroline; 6 grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held in the First Methodist Church at 2:30 p. m. Wednesday. The Rev. Henry G. Budd, minister, will officiate. Burial will be in Lake View Cemetery.

Friends may call at the Wagner Funeral Home, 421 N. Aurora St., at their convenience.

Benonia B. Johnson
The funeral of Benonia B. Johnson, 78, who died Friday, March 28, at the home of William J. Van de Mark in Brooktondale, was held at 2 o'clock Monday afternoon, March 31, at the Baptist Church in Brooktondale. Rev. C. I. Swayze officiated. Interment was in West Slaterville Cemetery.

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