One man’s passing does plenty to jolt the memories

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

To the Editor:

With the passing of Edward Lee Johnson of Sedley, Southampton County and our entire region lost not only a true friend but an unequaled link to our rich past traditions that will be lost forever.

Few of us who are natives to this area missed the treat of eating water ground cornmeal from Mr. Johnson’s mill.

To most of us, &uot;Johnson’s Meal&uot; was much more of a household word than was Kelloggs, Nestles, Lipton and the like.

For many of us who did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, we all knew his product as a quality Southampton product that had no equal. One would have to assume that Johnson was as unique as the product that he produced.

Grist mills are a most important part of Southampton County history. The physical

attributes of these mills that were mostly built in the early 1800s are one of the only links to a bygone era of our area.

The grist mills listed on old Civil War maps of our area are among the few distinct landmarks that we can identify with today.

References to grist mills in old land deeds will continue to be a valuable link to our past for centuries to come.

With Johnson’s passing

we have not only lost a true artisan,

but we have lost a native son who had unequalled knowledge of a bygone era. While we mourn with family and friends their personal loss, we should all realize our region’s great loss of such a valuable link to our past.

We should all strive to document our past and make sure that the attributes and contributions of native sons like Johnson are not lost for our posterity.

Sam Pope