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Johnson Burial Plot
Town of Dryden, Tompkins Co., NY
Because this story was told to me when growing up, I felt that it should be written for more to view. We try to preserve the history in the cemeteries in our counties, but so many never know about the unmarked graves on family lands. It is my hope that someone will know about this story in their family and give us more information to place in the records of history.
It is unknown who this family was other than the name was Johnson. A story told to me by my father (Wilbur H. Genung) that in the 1800s a family by the name of Johnson lived here. The family had not been seen by anyone for a while. The neighbors became concerned and sent out a party of men to check on the family. When the men came to the home they noticed in the side yard two fresh graves, with wooden crosses marking the graves of two children.
When they went to the house no one answered their calling. They found the family all dead inside, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson, and the rest of the children. I was told that the father - mother - and five children were all dead, I do not remember if the five children were counting the two that had already passed away that were buried, or if this was the count that died inside the home.
I believe I was told this was a time of diphtheria outbreak. The outbreak so bad, the men feared their own lives, so they burned the home with the bodies inside. This land was on the property of my father's family (Genung). I remember as a child the well was still there, and part of an old foundation. When I was growing up this part of our property was always called the Johnson Lot. Looking at an old map from 1866, C. Johnson is found living at this location. 1850 Dryden Census records have no Johnson living in that area at that time. A map for around 1853 has no house at this location that time. Looking at a map from 1887 there is no house at this location. The time of this happening must have been between the years of 1866 - 1887.
This page will be updated as I research this family more.
Thank you Janet Nash for writing down this information.
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(File originally created November 24, 1998.)
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