Johnson Ferry was an important 19th-century ferry linking what is now Atlanta with much of north Georgia on the other side of the Chattahoochee River. The name Johnson is a corrupted version of the owner's name, which was really Johnston; therefore the ferry was originally called the Johnston ferry (or Johnston's ferry). A historical plaque on the present Johnson Ferry Road documents that ownership.
William Marion Johnston, a Georgia native born in 1817, owned the farm at that location during the Civil War and raised thirteen children by two different wives. When he died in 1879, his grave in Marietta was robbed by a janitor from the Atlanta Medical College in order to sell the cadaver to the college.
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