|Birth: ||Mar. 6, 1787|
|Death: ||Apr. 5, 1873|
NICHOLAS JOHNSON, died at the residence of his son, Joseph B. Johnson, in Nicholson township, Fayette county, Pa., on the 5th of April, 1873, after an illness of several weeks, in the 86th year of his age.
Among the many distinguished persons, whose recent deaths have demanded public notice, none perhaps will be more missed and lamented within the sphere of his labors and acquaintanceship than the venerable subject of this Memoir. His advanced age, his christian virtues and his remarkable affability gained for him at once the love, and commanded the respect and esteem of all who knew him.
He was peculiarly identified with the community in which he lived; he had grown up in that community to manhood, and there he had lived, and in a measure worn out a long and useful life. For nearly seventy years, in the various relations of life, he had occupied the same place as a residence or home. In 1804, when he was seventeen years of age, his parents emigrated from Rockingham county, Virginia, to Fayette county, Pa., where shortly after their arrival, they purchased the tract of land on which they lived many years, and which, by an arrangement in the family, came into the posession of their son, Nicholas.
Here he resided until his family grew up, married and settled around in the neighborhood, when being admonished by advancing years, he made arrangements by which his son, Joseph B. Johnson became the owner of the greater portion of the old homestead of his father. Here it was that the venerable and beloved father calmly breathed his last, and here in the family burying-ground his mortal remains reposed in the slumbers of the grave.
At an early period when his parents came to this section of the country, emigration was attended with much greater difficulties and hardships than since the introduction of steamboats and railroads. Then the old fashioned tented wagon, the pack-horse and the pack-saddle, were the only means of travel and transportation for the few necessaries of life which the emigrant carried with him to his new home. At that time none of the present facilities of emigration were enjoyed. The old BraddockRoad across the Alleghany Mountains, was then the only route for the emigrant to this section of the country; and over this rough and tortuous road, winding its way among the hills and rocks of the mountains, this family met and encountered the hardships and privations of emigration, in the hope of bettering their condition in a new home, on the west side of the Alleghanies. The want of a due respect for labor at that time in eastern Va., owing to the existence of the institution of human slavery there, induced and influenced many who had to depend upon their own labor for a living to leave that state, and seek a home, in states where the blighting effects of that institution were not known. Under these circumstances, our late bishop, in his boy-hood, commenced life.
From early parental instruction, and the examplary life of both his parents, who lived to a great age, he became impressed while young, with the importance of religion, and of yielding obedience to its demands. Acting under these convictions, he united himself, with the Mennonite Church; while yet a young man, and during the whole of his long and eventful life, he was faithful and remarkably punctual in the discharge of his christian duties. A remark that he made to his son, Joseph, on the first Sabbath, of his last sickness, shows with what wonderful punctuality he had attended, in the public worship of God, through the whole course of his long life. He remarked on that occasion, "that, that was the first Sabbath, when there was meeting in the neighborhood or church, when he was about home, on which he had failed to attend the public worship of God for sixty years." This also shows, with what remarkable health he was blessed throughout the whole course of his life. The last public occasion at which he was present, was the funeral of his son-in-law, Solomon Honsaker of the Masontown Mennonite Church. In a word of exortation, at that time he said to the concourse of people that he felt a presentiment of that being the last time that he would ever enjoy a public opportunity of calling on them to seek the Lord, or of pointing them to the Lamb of God. This proved to be prophetic; for, in the course of a few days the slight indisposition under which he was laboring at that time, developed a formidable derangement of the stomach which baffled medical skill, and prostrated him in a way, that considering his great age, almost precluded any reasonable hope of his recovery from the commencement of the attack. His patience, and christian fortitude in his final sickness, evinced his faith in the religion that he had professed through life; and his implicit confidence in the promises of God. He frequently assured his friends and brethren during his illness that he enjoyed the comforts of God's grace and Spirit; and that he was fully resigned to the will of his heavenly father in his affliction; believing from the first, that it would finally end in the struggle with his last enemy, death. Of him it may be said with peculiar emphasis, that he died in the triumph of faith; and that his life was a commentary on the Scriptures of divine truth, which he so highly appreciated, and labored so long an faithfully to inculcate upon his fellow-men.
Possessing a vigorous constitution, and uninterrupted health, for a period of fully three score years, he was enabled to stand at his post, in all the various relations that he sustained to the church through life: First as member, next as deacon, then as a preacher, and finally as a bishop. In all these positions he was faithful in the discharge of whatever obligation they respectively imposed upon him. His affable disposition and social habits endeared him to a large circle of friends and relatives; he seemed to be connected by a kind of social affinity with every situation of life, from youth to old age. He spent much of his time for several years previous to his death, in visiting among his children, relatives and friends, and was always greeted with a cordial welcome upon his arrival; and invited upon his departure, with a warm solicitation, "to come again." At a late period of life he frequently made long journeys, in attending the Conferences of the church, and other large meetings. The last journey of any considerable distance, that he made, was to a Conference in Elkhart county, Ind., in October 1872, in the 85th year of his age. This was a journey of nearly five hundred miles, and was accomplished by him without the usual fatigue consequent on advanced age. Upon his return to his home and friends, in his usual good health and spirit, he manifested no indications of weariness from the travel.
For many years, the church in this vicinity, amongst his family and relatives, was mainly supported and upheld by his labors. The first house for public worship, that was build by the church, was erected upon his land. Here, in this church, in the year 1842 he took an active and leading part among the members of the church, in organizing and conducting a Sabbath School. This, it is believed, was the first SABBATH SCHOOL established in the Mennonite Church within the United States.
He was about forty years of age when he was promoted from deacon to preacher, and notwithstanding the great drain upon the membership of the church by emigration to the west, and elsewhere, he lived to see the church grow from a few scattered members, whoc worshiped, principally, for many years, in a small school-house, to a church of near one hundred members, with a large, commodious, and substantial brick-house recently erected at a more central location. The numerous accessions to the church within the last year or two, seemed to be the crowning joy of his life. But he had already long passed his three score years and ten, and was awaiting the call of his Master. Death to him had lost its sting and its terrors. Through its dark valley and shadows, he felt that he would be supported by the rod and staff of Israel's Shepherd, and should fear no evil. What a blessed end! How blest are the dear who die in the Lord! He selected as a text for a funeral sermon, at his burial, Luke 23:28. "But Jesus turning unto them, said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children." From the text Elder Joseph I. Cover of the Brethren Church, preached the funeral discourse to a large concourse of people, at the house of Joseph B. Johnson.
Anna Druslein Johnson (1764 - 1847)
Magdalene Bixler Johnson (1792 - 1869)
Honsaker Johnson Cemetery
Maintained by: Karen
Originally Created by: mutchmj
Record added: Oct 09, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 30440228
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In memory of my 4th great grandfather.|
Added: Nov. 17, 2012
God Bless You For Your Service to Him|
Added: Apr. 2, 2009