The OHS Pipe Organ Database

BuilderID 3148

Builder Identification

Westfield, Massachusetts, 1844–1870.

Additional Notes

  • From the OHS PC Database, derived from A Guide to North American Organbuilders, by David H. Fox (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1991). -

    Father of William H. Johnson; father-in-law of John Wesley Steere; did masonry work, 1834; built organs beginning in 1844 in Westfield, Massachusetts; firm named Johnson Organ Co. after 1871; became Johnson & Son, 1875; retired 1890; died 20 January 1901.

    Patent #191,973; 12 June 12, 1877; combination reed and pipe organ.

    Sources:

    • John V. V. Elsworth, The Johnson Organs (Harrisville, NH: The Boston Organ Club), 1984.
    • Barbara Owen, The Organ in New England (Raleigh: Sunbury Press, 1979), 406.
    • Stephen L. Pinel, "Organbuilders and Their Families: in the Population Schedules of the Federal and State Census Surveys", The Tracker: 32:1 (Richmond, Va.: Organ Historical Society, 1988), 29.

  • From the OHS PC Database, (James H. Cook and Elizabeth Towne Schmitt, co-editors). —

    William Allen Johnson was born in Nassau, New York. His family moved to Westfield, Mass. In 1834 he apprenticed himself to a contractor for slightly over 3 years. By 1837, he entered the business for himself. In 1844, the First Methodist Church of Westfield was completed and he assisted with the organ building. He continued to work with the organ building from 1844 to 1847, and at the age of 31, devoted his building entirely to organs. Edwin Hedges started working for Johnson at age 20 and made the pipes. They worked together until the business closed in 1898... we have the names on some of our pipes."

    Source:

    • From Betty Grice, citing Church records [St. Mark's Episcopal, Coldwater, Michigan] as her source.

Database Entries

There are 300 entries in the database that describe organs by Wm. A. Johnson.


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Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by James R. Stettner

Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by Karl Moore

Builder's Nameplate. Photograph by Jim Cook