Johnson, Isaac (bap. 1601, d. 1630), colonist in America, was baptized at St John’s, Stamford, Lincolnshire, the eldest son of Abraham Johnson (1577-1649), gentleman, of South Luffenham, Rutland, and Anne (née Meadows) (c.1583-c.1602).
On his marriage in 1623 to Arbella, a daughter of Thomas, 3rd Earl of Lincoln, his grandfather settled on him the manor of Clipsham.
Isaac was the largest shareholder of the Massachusetts Bay Company and was one of the twelve men to sign the Cambridge Agreement on 29 August 1629. In 1630 he sailed in the Winthrop Fleet to America, arriving at Salem on 12 June, and was one of the four who founded the first church at Charlestown on 30 July. The want of good water at Charlestown obliged them, on 7 September, to move to Shawmut, now Boston, which was settled under Johnson’s supervision. He died at Boston on 30 September 1630, the richest man in the colony.
Isaac was grandson of Robert Johnson (1540/1541-1625), a Puritan rector of North Luffenham, Rutland, for 51 years, from 1574 until his death. Robert Johnson enjoyed the patronage of William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley and was a Canon of Windsor (1572 to 1625) and Archdeacon of Leicester (1591 to 1625).
Using the income from these and other church posts, Robert founded free grammar schools in Oakham and Uppingham in 1584, as well as other charitable institutions. He placed great importance on education, because of his Puritan beliefs. The grammar schools taught Hebrew, Greek and Latin in to those who were too poor to pay for schooling.
Among other endowments and foundations, Archdeacon Johnson founded Hospitals of Christ in Oakham and Uppingham, and re-founded and endowed the old hospital of Saint John the Evangelist and Saint Anne in Oakham. The schools and hospitals received their charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1587. He was also one of the eight founding fellows of Jesus College, Oxford.