John Johnson papers
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John Johnson papers

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Georgia Historical Society
Creator: Johnson, John, -1804.
Title: John Johnson papers
Dates: 1770-1792
Extent: 0.15 cubic feet (3 folders)
Identification: MS 0430

Biographical/Historical Note

John Johnson, a dissenting minister, was sent by the Countess of Huntingdon to Savannah in order to manage the Bethesda Orphan House property which she had inherited from the Rev. George Whitefield, the orphanage's founder. After her death on June 17, 1791, ownership of the Orphan House property reverted to the State under authority of an Act of December 20 1791. The Trustees appointed by this act called upon the Rev. Johnson to give up the property, which he refused to do. Johnson returned to England after the affair.

Scope and Content Note

The papers in this collection tell Johnson's side of the crisis over the sale of the Bethesda Orphan House.

Index Terms

Bethesda (Orphanage : Savannah, Ga. (1740-1809))
Georgia--Social life and customs.
Johnson, John, -1804.
Journals (accounts)
Letter books.
Letters (correspondence)
Whitefield, George, 1714-1770.

Administrative Information

Custodial History

All of the collection, except for Item 3, was purchased from a London bookseller.

Preferred Citation

[item identification], John Johnson papers, MS 430, Georgia Historical Society, Savannah, Georgia.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Wylly Woodbridge, 1875 (Item 3). Purchased, date unknown.


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

Copyright has not been assigned to the Georgia Historical Society. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Division of Library and Archives. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Georgia Historical Society as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Publication Note

The journal, extracts from the letter book and other papers were published in The Georgia Historical Quarterly, I, 108-134 (1917).


Encoding funded by a 2012 Documenting Democracy grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Container List



1Official journal, 1791 September 11-1792 March 10
In the hand of John Johnson. Letters and other papers referred to in the journal are in the letter book and other papers in this collection.


2Letter book, 1791 January-1792 January 29
In the hand of a clerk. Laid in are "Methods of Ascertaining the depreciation on £5055 Currency;" letter to Johnson from John Michael, Charleston, March 3, 1792. 2 p. ALS (part cut off); comments on Bethesda affairs, on Georgia, and on religion; clipped newspaper notice of publication of Johnson's poem, "The Rape of Bethesda."


3-7Miscellaneous papers, John Johnson to Sir George Houstoun, 1792 January 9 ( 4.0 p. )
(second letter in the letter book); certified copy of the will of George Whitefield, 1770; The State Gazette of South Carolina, February 9, 1792, between the Trustees and John Johnson; clipping advertising the Orphan House property for lease, February 21, 1792; clipping by John Johnson giving notice that those who have any part of the property are answerable to him, March 2, 1792.