Johnson, Mary (nee Braithwaite) (1848-1913)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by Alfred Johnson

By the rather sudden death of Mary Johnson, wife of the Rev. Alfred Johnson, of Penge, the Church of God, as well as her husband and four daughters, has sustained an irreparable loss. She was the daughter of George and Elizabeth Braithwaite, of Ripon, who were connected with our Church in that city for many years. Her grandmother, Christiana Beckwith, had conversed with Hugh Bourne. 

Mary Johnson was very early trained in the “fear and admonition of the Lord,” and took pleasure in obedience. Her father was a local preacher and class leader in the city, and preached in the circuit for many years; and her mother was one of the foremost in caring for the Church, and was “given to hospitality.” Thus it was that Mary was brought into contact with many of our ministers and laymen whilst quite a child; and they all loved her. Whilst still young in years she went to reside with her maiden aunt, Miss Beckwith, a well educated teacher in a Wesleyan Day School, from whom she received, for those days, a liberal education. Before attaining her twelfth year she was consciously born of the Spirit. When fifteen such was her grip of God’s Word that she could clearly state the ground of her acceptance with God, and knew much of God’s redemptive plan of salvation. 

In the historic year of 1870, she was united in marriage to the writer, who shortly before spent a part of his probation in Ripon. In her father’s shop the writer met her for the first time—the sweet and charming lady who afterwards consented to that union so approved in heaven and blessed on earth for forty-three years. 

Mrs. Johnson became the mother of seven children—two boys and five girls. Notwithstanding many “weighty” afflictions and bereavements, she was ever the inspiration and help of her husband in his ministerial work. On Wednesday morning, March 12th, she passed into the calm of the noontide heaven, aged sixty-four years. The first part of the funeral service on the 15th was held in our own church, which was almost filled with weeping and sympathetic friends. F. Chilvers, Esq., presided at the organ, and played such comforting pieces as “O rest in the Lord,” and again on Sunday evening, when A. Lee, J.P., spoke of the deceased’s sterling qualities, and then proceeded to discourse from 2 Cor. iii. 18. Letters from all parts of the Connexion testify to Mrs. Johnson’s goodness, intelligence, broad-mindedness and love. She will be long remembered in many of our churches.


Mary was born in the spring of 1848 at Ripon, Yorkshire, to parents George Braithwaite, a tea dealer (1851), and Elizabeth Beckwith.

She married Alfred Johnson (1842-1919), a PM minister, in the summer of 1870 in the Houghton le Spring Registration District, Co. Durham. Census returns identify five of their six children.

  • Kate Eliza (b1873) – a nurse (1911)
  • Elizabeth A (b1875) – a milliner (1901)
  • Beatrice Mary (b1878) – a governess (1901)
  • Gertrude Harriet (1880-1906) – married John Thomas K Bathhurst
  • Ethelwynne (1884-1961) – a housekeeper

Mary died on 12 march 1913 at Penge, Kent.


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1913/572

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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