George Washington Jonson diaries
Diaries kept by George Washington [William?] Jonson [Johnson] (1801-1880), a Buffalo, New York, lawyer, associate of Millard Fillmore, land agent and abolitionist.
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George Washington [William?] Jonson (also spelled Johnson) (1801-1880), a Buffalo, New York, lawyer, land agent and abolitionist, kept detailed diaries for most of his adult life. A prominent attorney in Buffalo he was an associate of Millard Fillmore. In his will, he designated that his diaries and other personal papers and effects, be placed in the hands of Hon. Justin Smith Morrill (1810-1898), to be given to one of his nephews or grand nephews "then living as shall have in point of merit and scholarship be, in his opinion the most suitable to receive and have charge of the same, taking from a written promise to keep them together and preserve them. And although I have no legal right...it is my wish that such nephew or grand nephew should transmit them in the family line, so that they may continue as heirloom in the line for all future time."
Jonson was born in Enfield, New Hampshire and attended Dartmouth College. He came to the Buffalo area around 1832. He read law with Millard Fillmore in East Aurora and ran a school there. He later became an agent for the Holland Land Company in Buffalo. He was a member of the Liberty Party, later the Free Soil Party. A wealthy man with unorthodox views, he maintained a rather low profile as a public figure. However, his citizen activism included work with the Underground Railroad, opposition to debtor's prisons, and participation in the movement to impeach President Andrew Johnson. He retired to the town of Royalton in Niagara County where he died in 1880.
Several of the diaries were presented by Dr. C. S. Swan to the Historian of Enfield, New Hampshire, who in turn presented them to Dartmouth College. Dartmouth also acquired a volume from the estate of Justin Smith Morrill. The Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society acquired several volumes by purchase from a rare book dealer in Middleborough, Massachusetts.
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- Finding Aid for the George Washington Jonson diaries
- Finding aid prepared by Archives staff.
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