Johnson is situated in the central part of Lamoille County, under the shadow of Sterling Mountain (alt. 3,715 feet). Johnson is at the junction of the Gihon and Lamoille Rivers with an elevation of 531 feet. There is an incorporated village within the township bearing the same name.|
The average precipitation is 40". The average temperature in January is 18.2 degrees F.; while in July the normal is 70.0 degrees F. In March 1888, Johnson had a record snow fall of 62 inches which fell in three days.
The Long Trail runs through the town, crossing the main highway at the lower section. Three camps: French, Barrows, and Parker are located on the trail within the town and can accommodate from eight to twelve people.
Johnson was granted February 27, 1782, and chartered to WilliamSamuel Johnson, Reverend Jonathan Edwards, Charles Chauncey, and others on January 2, 1792.
According to the Historical Records Survey: "The town is believed to have taken its name from William Samuel Johnson, who had represented Connecticut in London and who later became the first president of Columbia College. Reverend Jonathan Edwards was the second son of the distinguished divine of that name and became the second president of Union College. Charles Chancy (Chauncey) was for sixty years pastor of the First Church of Boston."
According to an early history of Johnson: "The township, containing 23,040 acres, was first granted to a man by the name of Joseph Brown, who was one of the first settlers of the town of Jericho, some time previous to the year 1780. He caused the outlines to be surveyed, commenced the allotment in the eastern part of the town, and gave it the name of Brownington."
Samuel Eaton, the first town settler with his large family traveled seventy miles through the wilderness, his horse carrying all of their possessions. He was guided only by the trees which he and his co-pioneers had previously blazed during the French War, (before the reduction of Canada by the British). Mr. Eaton from Peirpont, New Hampshire, was enlisted in the American Army under Colonel Beedle and frequently passed through this country. The farm on which he settled, upon arriving in Johnson in 1784, is the farm known at present as the Carroll Manchester Farm, part of the farm being in the town of Cambridge and part being in Johnson. Here for some time he and his family depended on hunting and fishing for their food. The year following his arrival, a family by the name of McConnell, and others from New Hampshire (Samuel Roger Miller, who was elected assessor at the first town meeting March 4, 1789, McDaniels, Mills, Simons, Smith, and Greggs) arrived and began a regular settlement.
At the first approach of winter, and in view of the scarcity of provisions, Aaron Smith accompanied his wife Hitty and child Samuel Johnson (the first child to be born in Johnson, February 12, 1789, and only a few months old at this time) to the Onion River(Winooski). Mrs. Smith and child traveled alone and on foot to Bennington where they spent the winter with friends.
Surveys state that: "A survey of the town lines was made in 1786 and was attested by James Whitelaw as surveyor general in 1795. The town was lotted in two divisions. The first division was of 300-acre lots. This left a strip adjoining the now defunct town of Sterling amounting to 19 acres to each right. The boundaries of Johnson were changed in 1855 by the annexation of a part of the town of Sterling. The annexation was approved by the town in 1856."
The spirit of the first settlers is embodied in many tales of their sacrifice and achievements. The wives and daughters were full fledged partners with their "men folk," working and being content with the necessities of life. Johnsonians have a heritage of which they may well be proud.
Source: "History of Johnson, Vermont" residing at the Johnson Town Clerk's office