Saturday, July 2, 2011

Rev. Thomas Johnson

Rev. Thomas Johnson
Rev. Thomas Johnson (1802-1865) = Circuit Rider, Missionary. Best known for his work at the Shawnee Methodist Indian Mission Manuel Training School on the Santa Fe Trail in Fairway, KS. Johnson County, Kansas was named in his honor. He was born in Nelson County, Virginia, July 11. His brother, Rev. William Johnson (1805-1842), also served as a missionary.
Thomas married Sarah Davis (1810-1873) at Clarksville, MO. Several of their children’s names were Ann E., Alexander McAllister, Edna, Eliza, Cora, Mary Cummins, and William McKendree. Eliza later married John Bristol Wornall.
The 1808 treaty with the Osage Indians states the reservation boundary was between Missouri and Kansas territories. Congress, in 1819, passed the Civilization Fund, making $10,000 available annually for instructing Indians in agriculture, literacy, and other such pursuits. Much of the money was given to church agencies. The Delaware and Shawnee were forcibly relocated to eastern Kansas (present-day Wyandotte County). In 1830, the same year he married Sarah, Thomas moved to a village called Turner to preach the gospel. He built a log house on a hill south of the Kansas river.
In October of 1839, at the Missouri Methodist Conference at Fayette, Mo., Rev. Thomas Johnson was appointed as the superintendent of the Indian Mission district and to the Shawnee Mission (est. 1839-1862) on the Santa Fe Trail. Pioneer children attended school there also. At its height, there were sixteen buildings on 2000 acres.
During 1855, the Kansas territorial governor, Andrew H. Reeder appointed the Shawnee Indian Mission as the second capitol of the Kansas Territory (1855-1856) and the legislature met there. Hostilities were hot preceding the Civil War on the border. Johnson was shot near midnight of New Year’s Day as he answered the door to someone asking directions and died shortly after. He was quietly buried in the mission’s cemetery.

More to Read:
1. Annals of Shawnee Methodist Mission. Compiled by Martha B. Caldwell. Kansas State Historical Society. Topeka, KS. 1977.
2. Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs Relating to Kansas Indian Schools, 1837-1879. U.S. Office of Indian Affairs.
3. Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865. Jay Monaghan. Bonanza Books, NY; MCMLV.
4. Here Lies Kansas City. Wilda Sandy. 1984.
5. History of White Christian Church: 1832-1996, Wyandotte Co, KS.
6. History of Wyandotte County, Kansas and Its People. Perl W. Morgan. 1911.
7. Historic Johnson County, By Elizabeth E. Barnes. Neff Pub, Shawnee Mission, KS; 1969.
8. Opening the Western Frontier; Thomas Johnson and the Shawnee Indian Mission. Joanne C. Eakin.
9.  Official Kansas Territorial Legislature, Shawnee (1854-55)
10. National Historic Trails Auto Tour Route Interpretive Guide: Western Missouri Through Northeastern Kansas, National Park Service, US Dept. of the Interior, Sept. 2005.
11. Findagrave #35605339

Historical Note: Thomas' mother-in-law was captured by the British and the Indians in Kentucky during the Ruddell Station raid in 1780. 

Places to see in Mo & KS.
1. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (portrait of Roma Johnson Wornall), 4525 Oak St, Kansas City, MO
2. White Christian Church/Delaware Indian Mission, 2200 N. 85th St., Kansas City, Wyandotte County, KS.
3. Shawnee Indian Mission Historic Site & Museum, 3403 W. 53rd, Fairway, KS.
4. Shawnee Methodist Mission Cemetery (1839-1930), 3201 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, Shawnee Twp, Johnson, KS
5. Old Mission United Methodist Church
6. Edna Johnson Anderson, Elmwood Cemetery
7. John Wornall House Museum, 6115 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO

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Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. ~ Ephesians 1:15-17.