Poetry, song writing, and storytelling are skills that can be found throughout generations of the Johnson family. Several in Benjamin F. Johnson’s immediate family became especially prolific and skilled these art forms. George Washington Johnson, Benjamin’s brother, composed the following two poems (below) about their childhood home in Pomfret, New York.
I thought it would be cool if everyone in the extended family shared poems, songs, or stories written by descendants of the Johnson family in the comments section below and on the Facebook Group. If you or a family member has composed a poem, song, or story share it with all of us! Instructions for how to submit a comment on the website and Facebook can be found here.
Poems written by George Washington Johnson
Oh, don’t you remember the dear old brown cottage,
The kitchen, the square room, the bedroom and hall.
The well at the door and the orchard near by it.
The garden, the barn and the corn house and all?
Oh, don’t you remember the old dingy schoolhouse,
With benches and desks, all defaced with the knife,
Where we learned the first lessons in reading and spelling
That did mark out the way that has followed through life?
Oh, don’t you remember the old kitchen fireplace,
Where oft we have met when our day’s work was done,
With brothers and sisters and friends we loved dearly,
To pass off the evening with all sorts of fun?
How well I remember each tree in the orchard,
Each shrub and each flower in the garden that grew,
The well and the spring and the brick yard near by it.
The rustle of leaves as the gentle breeze blew.
To scatter the hay, I would go to the meadow
Or ride on old Katy to plough out the corn
Or pile up the brush in the clearing and burn it,
Till I’d hear the sweet sound of the old dinner horn.
Fond memories will come of the scenes of my childhood;
How well I remember the dear old brown cot
Surrounded by orchard, by fields and by wildwoods.
I cannot forget them, that dear hallowed spot.
How well I remember the old cellar kitchen,
Where mother presided at night, noon and morn
And always had puddings and pies and turnovers
And the best thing of all was a pot of hulled corn.
Sometimes she would make us meal-mush for our supper
With milk from the dairy or fresh from the cow
Or a pudding, well sweetened with maple molasses;
It was made of corn meal but I cannot tell how;
Or a pot of baked beans, smoking hot from the oven
With a chunk of fat pork with rind sliced and torn
Or a loaf of brown bread with sweet yellow butter
But nothing compared with the pot of hulled corn.
My Boyhood Home
The home of my boyhood, the place of my birth
It is dearer to me than all others on earth
Its charms are still with me wherever I roam
I’ll never forget my own boyhood home
My dear loving mother; she watched o’er my youth
And taught me the lessons of honor and truth
Her voice, in my fancy, in accents so low
Is whispering to me wherever I go.
The voice of my father still sounds in my ear;
The laugh of my brothers and sisters so dear
The cow bell’s jingle; the old dinner horn
The crow of the cock to awake us each morn.
The hoot of the owl, the lone whip-poor-will
At evening we heard from the woodland and hill
They still ring in my ears tho long years have past
Since I saw the dear home of my infancy last.
Altho many a mile have I wandered away
My body grown feeble, my hair turning gray;
Yet the happy scenes linger; I dream of them yet;
The home of my boyhood I’ll never forget
Thanks to George, we have a wonderful peek into the Ezekiel Johnson home in Pomfret and gather a realistic picture of what their lives were like during this period of time. I look forward to being inspired by the compositions submitted by all of you!