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Johnson Gravesite Restored

George W. Johnson (1801-1874)

Nancy Morse Lewis Johnson (1806-1886)

H. Willie Baker (1872-1879)

Lewis E. Warner, Jr. (1878-1878)

David Morse tavern building opposite Chestnut Street in East Walpole

George W. Johnson was born on March 28, 1801 in Sharon. He was the son of Joshua and Hannah Johnson. On October 19, 1828, George Johnson married Nancy Morse Lewis who had been born in Dedham on May 11, 1806. The couple settled in Walpole, Massachusetts where George Johnson became a merchant and grocer. By 1857, his store was located in the David Morse tavern building opposite Chestnut Street in East Walpole. In addition to running his grocery store, Johnson was the Postmaster for East Walpole.


Sometime around 1843, George and Nancy had a daughter, Julia E. Johnson.

On April 5, 1865, Julia Johnson married Harlin Pillsbury Baker, who had been born in Lowell, Massachusetts. Harlin Baker was a house painter and the couple lived with George and Nancy Johnson in Walpole.


Harlin and Julia had two sons: Harlin William (called H. Willie) Baker, born on October 4, 1872, and George Henry Baker, who was born on July 6, 1874 and apparently died in infancy.


That same year, Julia Johnson Baker’s father, George W. Johnson died on November 4, 1874. He died in Walpole and his death was attributed to “old age.” Johnson was buried in Old Parish Cemetery in Norwood, where his stone reads:


GEORGE W. JOHNSON

Died

Nov. 4, 1874

Aet. 72 yrs. 8 mos.

By this event of death a good man has

gone to his rest




Harlin P. Baker died sometime in 1874-1875. On May 3, 1876, Julia Johnson Baker married Lewis E. Warner. It was the second marriage for each. Lewis Warner’s first wife, Eldora Minerva Joslin and their child, Eldora, both died on October 23, 1874, during childbirth.


Julia and Lewis Warner, who was a baggage master on the railroad, resided in Norwood, where their twin sons, Lewis Edward Warner and Edward Lewis Warner were born on March 3, 1878. A little over two months later, on May 19, 1878, Lewis Edward died of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, a highly contagious disease.


On January 22, 1879, Julia and Lewis Warner lost another boy. H. Willie Baker, then six years old, died of scarlet fever, a bacterial illness that often developed from strep throat. Scarlet fever, now called scarlatina, almost always included a sore throat and very high fever and was most common in children between 5 and 15 years of age.


Both boys were buried alongside their grandfather and a small gravestone bearing their names was erected. Now quite faded from weather, it reads:


H. WILLIE.

DIED JAN. 22,

1879.

AGED 6 YEARS

3 MOS. 18 DAYS

LEWIS E. JR.

DIED MAY 19,

1878.

AGED 2 MOS 21 DAYS

CHILDREN OF

LEWIS E. &

JULIA E. WARNER



Edward Lewis Warner, the surviving twin, lived into adulthood.


Nancy M. Lewis Johnson continued to reside with her daughter and son-in-law in Norwood until her death on September 22, 1886. Like her husband before her, the cause of her death was recorded as “old age.” Although interred with her husband, her name was not recorded on the gravestone. By 1890, Julia and Lewis Warner had left Norwood.


But that’s not the end of the story.

George Johnson’s gravestone was found broken on the side of the hill in Old Parish, and its base was damaged as well. The repair of the base was begun in September, 2019, and finished in October of that year. The top of the stone was repaired and the entire stone cleaned in June, 2020.


In the summer of 2022 while researching another family, the small gravestone belonging to H. Willie and Lewis Jr. was found in another lot in the cemetery, a good distance from their grandfather’s grave. The plot plan for the Johnson plot clearly marked the burials of two small coffins.



The stone had apparently been knocked over and rolled down the hill. It was returned to the family lot in the fall of 2022. While preparing to reset the small stone, its original base was uncovered and restored as well.






George Johnson and his grandsons H. Willie and Lewis Jr. once again interred in the family plot



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