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Our Dorchester

Dunnock Johnson Family ~ Dorchester & Washington DC

Old Trinity summer 1925
Pauline Johnson, Eliza Jane D. Johnson, Jane D. Brewer, Edna Johnson Brewer Dowie

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Dorchester County is the largest county on Maryland's Eastern Shore with 593 square miles of land, 108 square miles of water and 1,700 miles of shoreline. Her 1669 colonial borders extended to the Atlantic. Dorchester's population in 2000 was estimated at 29,300.

Spreading across the middle of Dorchester County, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge encompasses approximately 29,000 acres.


Below: Dunnock Island lies south of Taylor's Island and north of Meekins Neck. Today it is home only to herons but this was the homeplace of the Dunnocks and here once stood a planters home where Eliza Jane was born. Today, there is no public road access to Dunnock Island.

The gut into Dunnock Island leads off the Chesapeake and is reached only by careful captains, ours were Randy and Jerry Collins of Channel Charters out of Cambridge on their former workboat, Satisfaction.


Dunnock Island where Dunnock Slough meets the Bay

The home of Nettie Meekins is no more
Remains of two chimneys and the country cedar guarding them, home destroyed April 2008 by arson

The house as seen in 1970s
Empty for several decades and fated to be lost despite all efforts by the landowners to save it

Wilber Meekins farm on Meekins Neck. The Dunnock and Meekins graveyards are behind the house, not seen from Meekins Neck Road. The land is now owned by a private hunting club. This once-proud home was nominated for listing on the Maryland Historic Trust in the 1960s when it was noted to have finely-crafted raised panels on the walls of the main level. This photo is from the 1970s - today the roof is nearly gone.

Tombstone of Samuel Dunnock at Wilber Meekins farm.

He is buried with several wives and children. The Dunnock and Meekins graveyards are nearly overgrown and no longer tended. The house they adjoin is long abandoned. Mildred Dunnock, the actress, once had a fence put around the graveyards and clean-up done but that was some decades ago. A hunting club with absentee owners owns the land.

Under Maryland law, descendants may visit the graves but real maintenance would require formal arrangements with the landowners.

Tombstone of Samuel Dunnock

ELiza Jane Dunnock Johnson, 1926 Old Trinity, Dorchester, MD

photographs: Edna Johnson Dowie

Eliza Jane Dunnock (Mrs. Cornelius W. Johnson) with her daughter Cora Pauline Johnson and grand daughter Jane Dunnock Brewer at Old Trinity, Church Creek, Dorchester, Maryland, 1926.

Her husband Cornelius was the third of the twelve children of Alward Johnson (1815-1871) and Mary Levin MacNamara, the children being born and raised in the Trippe House at Secretary (also known as My Lady Sewell's Manor). Mary Levin MacNamara was born in 1819 in Dorchester, Maryland and died April 18, 1887 in Washington, DC. When she died, both she and Alward were interred at Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, along with many other family. She was the daughter of Levin MacNamara, 2nd and his wife Mary. Closely related families from Dorchester include Insley, Stewart, and Todd.


Gravestone of Sarah Brooks Woolford Brohawn Dunnock Slacum, Trinity Church, Church Creek, Maryland
"Sarah B. Slacum - born June 1814 - died Dec 12, 1893 - Daughter of Wm & Sarah Woolford" - the inscription is from the 23rd Psalm.

Eliza Jane Johnson was the daughter of Samuel Dunnock and his fourth wife Sarah Brooks Woolford. Eliza Jane was born at Dunnock Island in 1845 and died in Washington, DC in 1928.

Sarah Brooks Woolford Brohawn Dunnock Slacum was born at Deep Point off Church Creek in Dorchester and died in Washington, DC in 1893. She is buried at Old Trinity along with her grandparents Stevens Woolford and Elizabeth (Whitely) Woolford, and numerous other family.

Sarah Brooks Woolford's nephew was Lee Woolford, known as the Captain of the Emma Giles. He served on her for nearly 50 years. His home on Church Creek was a few hundred yards from the steamboat landing, located on Steamboat Landing Road in Woolford. Sarah's son-in-law Cornelius was Captain of the Tred Avon, a steamer that also ran on the Bay.