EARLY VIRGINIA RESEARCH NOTES AND REFLECTIONS
on Michael Johnson, his known sons, and his possible ancestors
Written by Harold Johnson
Edited by Bonnie Flythe and Neil Johnson
Faith (Bonnie) G. Flythe,
Professor of Anthropology at Northern Essex Community College in Haverhill, Mass.
Graduate of Randolph-Macon Woman's College and U. of Arizona
Dr. L. Neil(Neil) Johnson
Educator/ Superintendent of Schools, retired.
Glenville State College, Miami University & Ball State University.
Last update; April 2006
Background Information from Harold Johnson: About six years ago I had no idea that searching my Johnson line would lead me to Virginia! At that time I was researching in Rutherford County, NC for a Daniel Johnson believed to be my gggrandfather! This research was complicated by the fact that there were two Daniel Johnsons there at the same time and only after extensive effort and with some very good luck I was able to recognize one as my Daniel Johnson! The Daniel Johnson not connected to my Johnson line turned out to be a land surveyor from Connecticut! My Daniel Johnson (Jr) was born in Rutherford Co, NC b 20 May 1797 and his father was Daniel Johnson (Sr) the father of fourteen children of which Daniel (Jr) was the thirteenth! The third child of Daniel (Sr) was Elizabeth Johnson b 10 Oct 1780 married to Joseph Carpenter. I mention her at this point because it seems that Elizabeth somehow wound up with all the family papers, both Johnson and Carpenter, and passed them down in her family! The first notice that I had regarding these papers was found in a book CARPENTERS A PLENTY by Robert C. Carpenter. In his book he noted his visit to a Miss Vennia Carpenter, a spinster, where he was shown a trunk of papers! He also noted in his book that another visit had been made to this trunk of papers in the year 1939 by the author of a book COUNTING KINDRED, by E. E. and M. L. Deppen (Sinking Springs, PA 1940) page 267! I have not read this book but I have seen transcripts taken from the book. Now, further research found a transcript of some of the papers in the trunk published in a newsletter called the Bulletin by the Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County of NC, Vol XXI, Feb. 1993, page 38/39 with the following note: This family record and associated notes were abstracted from the original documents at the home of the owner, now deceased, several years ago.....The documents noted are not currently available for examination!! Listed below are some important transcripts from the trunk and their connection to this Virginia research!
“I, William Johnson, hath been out at Expence on the account of Matthew Hutchason Estate”
“David Hutcheson, admr. of Wm Johnson, deceased, Charlotte Co., Virginia”
“I ..(?).....Johnson of Goochland County.....bound to John Whittenton”
I have been unable to find any record of this bond of ...(?).... Johnson! Furthermore, in the book COUNTING KINDRED, I am told, is a transcription of this same bond that reads as follows: Bound to Jno. Wittenton in the county of Ticenton for 100 (pds) on May 20, 1700 from the County of Goochland, VA. Notice there is a big difference between the two sources! The “county Ticenton” mentioned in the second source is a complete mystery at this point! And notice the date “May 20, 1700" .....this is the earliest date I have found regarding our Johnson line. Goochland County was not formed until 1728! Having this associated with the second source raises some doubt about the date! Obviously, there’s conflict here! Now, the existence of the bond is undisputed in that it was recorded in two unrelated sources at two different times, but the contents of the second source, if true, could lead to another chapter in this ever intriguing family history saga!!! ...Harold Johnson
In the Vestry Book of St Peter’s Parish, New Kent County can be found; Michael Johnson with children, Daniel, Anne, Agnes, & Sarah. This seems to indicate that this Michael Johnson could very well be the Michael that died in Henrico Co. in 1719! We are also aware that some researchers, including the work of Dr.Lorand V. Johnson, indicate the above Michael to be the son of Edward Johnson, a Quaker, with lineage to Caskieben, Scotland! In support of this, a very important discovery is found in Public Record Office in London! One of these records, as transcribed by Lloyd D. Bockstruck in his book Virginia Colonial Soldiers, is the Militia list for New Kent County, 1701/02 …. “Benjamin Johnson, Quaker; William Johnson; Michal Johnson, Quaker”. We have not researched to the fullest this period in Michael’s life as most of our effort has been directed to the Goochland Co group of Johnsons. Another thing, the given names Daniel, William, John & James appear often in this family for many generations forward and one could reasonably expect to find them in the past. With that in mind, we have uncovered some records that ought to be noted here in order to invite comments from others! First, there is in Nugent, 23 April 1646, bk 2, p91, a patent, to Richard Moore & William Welton, Upper Nofork Co, 250a, trans of 5 persons: Wm Johnson, Danll Johnson, Richard Moore, James Daley, & Thomas Moore! This is the earliest recording that I have found regarding a Daniel Johnson! And, because they were listed together there is a good chance that the William Johnson is a relative, possible a brother. Now, again in Nugent, 1653 a patent in issued to Oliver Segar, Lancaster County. Upon the head of Coxes Cr. running & c. To land of William Johnson, thence to Daniel Johnson. Trans. of 5 persons. Book 3, pg 221. I have found no land granted to the above William Johnson or Daniel Johnson. This indicates that they purchased the above land from someone. Once more in Nugent, 1653, March 12. William Johnson.....Pat. 550a... Henrico County. On the North side of the river by the name of Harrahadocks; adj Captn Edloe. Book 3 pg 11. I mention this patent of William Johnson here because this is the earliest land grant that I have found giving to a ‘Johnson’ in Henrico County and also the name William fits in well with naming pattern of this family. The name of the river Harrahadocks can be found spelled Harrahtocks, Harristocks and Harrow Attocks! The exact location remained a mystery until I found a land patent to Thomas Taylor for 631a, Henrico Co., on the North side of the James River commonly called or known by the name of Harrahadockes ! ( bk 6, pg 52). Now the description of the above patent of William Johnson places the land just South and East of present day Richmond, VA.! This definitely brings this William Johnson under our umbrella of research!
Is there an early Woodson connection? Possibly! Consider this: 1660/61, Jan 17. Sarah Johnson... inventory and nuncupative Will .... Henrico County. Miscellaneous Court Records. Vol # 1, pgs 13-14. ( Facsimile in the Va. Genealogist, Vol # 20, pgs 6-7). This is a very interesting and warrants further investigation! There is a John Woodson, Deborah Woodson, Robert Woodson and Elizabeth Dunwell mention as recipients in this document It is considered in this VA Genealogist publication that the above Sarah Johnson could be Sarah Woodson the wife of the late John Woodson who came to America in 1619! Their sons were John and Robert! It is also reported that Sarah married a second time and then a third marriage to an unknown Johnson. Another early Woodson /Johnson connection can be found in Henrico County, Virginia wills and Deeds, 1677-1705 Compiled by Benjamin B Weisinger III p.363 - 4 Jan. 1685 Edward Hatcher of Varina Parish, planter, to John Field of same, carpenter, for 1060 lbs tobacco, 300 acres in same parish on north side of James River, next to land sold by said Hatcher to Robert Burton,
being part of a grant to said Hatcher 6 Oct. 1675. Wit: Jno. Woodson, Will Johnson Signed: Edward (EH) Hatcher Recorded 1 April 1686. Mary, wife of Edward, relinquished her dower right. I find it very interesting that there is a John Woodson that is an adjoining land owner to Michael and John Johnson in Henrico Co in 1717!
Continuing with early research. In Nugent, 1689, April 20. Daniel Johnson...Pat. 391a...Henrico County, Parish of Varina. North side of James River, adjoing land of Joshua Stapp: crossing br of Shacko Cr. And Peynoucky Path: to Robert Green’s Path. Trans 8 persons. book 7 pg 713. Now, could this Daniel Johnson be a brother to Michael Johnson? There are court records of Henrico County (1683-4) that mention Daniel Johnson and also a John Johnson. Both Daniel and John deposed that they witnessed a man pour three gourds of water over a hogshead of tobacco because he said it was too dry! Other names mentioned are the neighbors (land owners) of the above Daniel Johnson. The burning of the Henrico CO. courthouse records by Benedick Arnold during the Revolution makes sorting all of this out extremely difficult. Important recent research has shown that this land patent of Daniel Johnson is mentioned in a land patent to John Gun!1736, June 5.... John Gun...Pat 717 acres....Henrico County, on the north side of James River and the Branches of Shoccoe Creek... North side of the main road, crossing Johnson’s Branch and a branch of Gilly’s Creek.... including 391 acres part formerly granted to Daniel Johnson, Pat Bk 7, pg 713 and by mesne conveyance the right and title is vested in said John Gun.....Pat Bk # 17 Page 116/117. This ‘find’ helps clear up the reason I could not find any record of what happened to this 391 acre farm of Daniel Johnson! He lost the title to the land! Now, how could this have happened? Notice that the term mesne (in Law) could mean intermediate or intervening! But intervening what?....or intermediate ownership? Obviously, more research is needed here! Why? Because, there is a will of John Gun recorded in Goochland County, May 20 1735, naming wife Mary, granddaughter Ruth Harris and mention of John Harris and sister Mary Harris, deceased. Now, notice that the date of the John Gun patent of 1736 is after the date of John Gun’s will! The surname Harris is found linked in later years to other Johnsons of Goochland County.
Two other Daniel Johnsons found in early Virginia records are: In 1710, Jan 24. A letter from the secretary of the Admiralty to Capt. Charles Smith of the H.M.S. OXFORD to discharge Daniel Johnson in order that he may come home to Virginia, said to be a servant to Mr. Voss a pilot in Virginia...... Colonial records project # 08129 & 02938. There is a Capt. Israel Voss living in Norfork Co in 1713 (Land patent bk 10, pg 79)! This places another Daniel Johnson in our research field! I have not been able to place this Daniel with any of our data, however this Daniel does fit the time line of the Daniel Johnson died 1749 that married Mary Saunders, daughter of John Saunders! See John Saunder’s will of 1736.This Daniel Johnson has sons John and Daniel and records can be found in Powhaton & Cumberland Counties. To date, I have not seen a connection to our Johnsons of Goochland County.
At this point, I think it’s important to take note of Charles Johnson of Goochland Co! The earliest record we have of Charles is a land patent in 1731. This Charles has three sons, Charles Jr., James and William! Note the given names! This family of Johnsons are neighbors of Michael’s children, sometimes owning adjoining land! However, with all this closeness we have found no interconnection with Michael’s children! In other words, if there was a connection one would expect to find that they at least would have witnessed each others instruments of record! Not so, I found none! We have collected considerable documentation of Charles and his family, but know nothing of his ancestor(s)
Now the rest of this report will deal with Michael Johnson and presenting what we believe to be reasonable evidence that identifies six of his sons! At this point we have been unable to place them in a correct birth order, however the list as presented here is an attempt to do so. Bear in mind that this order is subject to change! Daniel(1), John(2), James(3), Isaac(4), Joseph(5), and Benjamin(6)
The first record we see of Michael Johnson in Henrico Co is 1714, 25 Dec! Thomas Mims.....500a.. (N L)...Henrico Co; on the south side of the main branch of the Tuccahoe (Cr); adj. Wm Burton; Benja Woodson; Michael Johnson...Pat bk 10, page 217, paid 50 S. The reader is asked to look ahead at the year 1717, Jan 22 where Michael Johnson records a land patent of 500a! (N L) Henrico Co; on the S. side of the main br. of the Tuckahoe Cr; adj. Benja. Harrison’s survey; John Woodson’s Mill Cr; and Thomas Mim’s land. Paid 50 shill. Book 10 pg 345. This area is now in Goochland County. Now, the question is, how could the above Thomas Mims patent be described as joining Michael Johnson land when Michael did not patent his land until 1717? The answer may well be that Michael Johnson, after applying for a land patent and while waiting for a survey to be completed, decided to proceed to settle the land prior to the issuance of the actual patent!. Now, the rule was that a settler must clear at least three acres of land and be living on the land in some sort of shelter at the end of three years. Clearly, three years has passed from the above mentioning of Michael Johnson’s land to the date of the Land Patent dated 22 Jan 1717! Less than six months later two of Michael’s sons patent land adjoining him! 1718, July 12. John Johnson(2)...400a (N L) Henrico Co; on the N. side of James Riv. adj. Cha. Eavens; on the N. side and near head of Tuckahoe Cr; his own, James Johnson; and Michael Johnson. Paid 40 shill. Book 10 pg 380.! And then 1718, July 12. James Johnson(3)....400a (N L) Henrico Co., on the N. side of James Riv. adj. Cha. Eavens; John Johnson; Joseph Woodson; and Benja. Woodson. Paid 40 shill. book 10 pg 380. Notice how these three tracts are adjoining! This will be important later! Thirteen months later, John(2) and James(3) were in court proving an inventory their father’s estate! 1719, Aug, 22.... Michael Johnson...Inventory..of Estate.. “Recorded in a court held for Henrico County the fifth day of October 1719, John(2) and James(3) Johnson presented this Inventory upon oath which was thereupon written to record...Test..Henry Wood, Dep .There is record that Michael left a will as noted in son John’s(2) will, but we have not been able to find one.
Taking the children in order: Daniel Johnson(1) married Agnes (?). He died before 21 May 1754 with a will naming wife Agnes, son William, son John, daughter Ulsy Wood. He appointed his brother James Johnson(3) and his son William Johnson and his son John Johnson executors . Wit: James Johnson(3), Moses Brumfield, Joseph Johnson(5). Recorded Goochland Co. May 21, 1754. Book 6 page 369. Take note here that Daniel(1) names his brother James(3), also witnesses James(3) and Joseph(5)! The proof that Daniel(1) is Michael’s son will be found in James’s(3) profile! William son of Daniel(1) married Elizabeth Hutcheson c 1747 and in 1761 sold his inheritance in Goochland County and moved to Lunenburg County. John son of Daniel(1) remained in Goochland County. I have been unable to identify, with certainty, what became of Ulsy that married a Mr. Wood! Now, in Daniel’s will he leaves the rest of his land to his wife Agnes, and after documenting and accounting for all of his land named in the will we find that there was a significant amount of land left over! This we believe was land that Michael left to his sons as stated in John’s(2) will!
John Johnson(2) married Mary Pledge an seen in her father’s will of 1720, Nov 22, John Pledge, Henrico Co. VA. to daughters Agnes Pledge, Martha Pledge, Judith, Ann Pledge, and Mary now wife of John Johnson(2), Abstracted by Benjamin B. Weisiger III, Colonial Wills of Henrico. John(2) died 1750 in Goochland Co. with a will naming wife Mary, sons Daniel, John, Joseph, and James! John(2) also names his brother Isaac and a Stephen Benjamin Johnson! This naming of Isaac as one of John’s(2) brothers here is significant as evidence is gathered to prove Michael as father of John(2)! We find that sons Daniel and Joseph and perhaps James stayed in Goochland and surrounding counties. Son John is a mystery, for two years after his father’s death he sells his inheritance and that’s the last record we have of him! John(2) in his will left the rest of his land to his wife Mary, and after documenting and accounting for all of his land named in the will, just as with his brother Daniel(1), a significant amount of land was left over which we believe was land that Michael left to his sons as stated before!
The wife of James(3) the elder is not known. However, his known children are, Agnes, d c1802, Drury md Hannah Clark, Sarah md Stephen Sampson, James, the younger, md Mildred Mims, Mary md Bartholomew Turner, David md Lucy Ellis, Isham d before 1798, and Benjamin md Martha Hughes. Records show that James(3) the elder died after 1787 indicating that he lived longer that any of his brothers! In tracing the land records of James(3) the elder we find that he also had land that was handed down to him by his father Michael! This is noted in a deed 1757, Jan 4.....Deed...200a.. James Johnson and Mildred his wife to William Harves (Harris) and Tabitha his wife of Hanover Co for 11 pounds “being part of a tract of land taken up by Michael Johnson, grandfather of said James Johnson” bounded by Tuckahoe Creek. Wit; Isaac Sheppard, W’m Miller, John Hughes, James Tompkins, William Graves. Mildred relinq. her dower right. Deed bk 7, pg 140.[From the files of Bonnie Flythe]. Notice the acreage, 200a! And notice the amount paid to William Harves, 11 pounds! This would indicate perhaps James’ brothers and sisters may also be a part of this transaction! But the most important bit of information here is the naming of Michael Johnson as a grandfather! Now other records and the land description here places this 200a plainly in the area of Michael’s land grant of 1717! So, we now have James(3) the elder identified as son of Michael! And because in Daniel’s(1) will he names James(3) as his brother, Daniel(1) is also identified!
Moving on to Isaac(4)! In 1747 we find a land patent issued in Brunswick County to Isaac Johnson(4) and Joseph Johnson(5) of 400 acres on both sides of the Middle Fork of the Meherrin River! As it turns out, the Joseph Johnson mentioned here is Isaac’s(4) brother! In 1755 Joseph(5) patents an additional 400a adjoining their first tract! Meanwhile, after the first patent and before the second patent Lunenburg County has been formed from Brunswick County and now both tracts lie in Lunenburg! We have not researched Isaac’s(4) family in Lunenburg. But records show in Goochland that he came back to sell the land that his father (Michael) left him.
1756, Jan 19....Deed...Isaac Johnson(4) of Looningburg Co, for 100 pounds 150a to John Johnson of Goochland Co, being on the south side of Tuckhoe Creek bounded by Benj. Johnson(6) decd, Daniel Johnson(1) decd, and John Johnson(2) decd and Moses Brumfield on Tuckahoe Creek. Except the graveyard where Michael Johnson, his wife and child is buried...Mary, wife of Isaac Johnson relinq. her Dower right. .Deed book 7, pg 59 wit: William Miller, Daniel Johnson(12) and Wilmanton Harris. Recorded 20 Jan 1756.. This is convincing evidence that Isaac(4) is the son of Michael! Now remember, in John’s(2) of 1750 he names Isaac(4) as a brother and mentions Stephen Benjamin believed to be the son of Benjamin Johnson(6)(now deceased)!
Now to Joseph(5)! We have indicated above that Joseph(5) moved away to Lunenburg by 1747. He also returns to Goochland to sell his inheritance. 1759, Oct 13, Deed.....200a.....Joseph Johnson(5).. of Lunenburg County to John Laprade of Goochland County for seventy one pounds five shillings; lying in Goochland County upon Dover Mill Creek adjoining the lands of Robert Burton, John Barnett, Daniel Johnson and corners on Richerson, having been willed to the said Joseph Johnson(5) by his father Michael Johnson Wit: William Wodlow, John Watkins, Stephen Sampson and Miller Doged. Rec. Book 8, pgs 62-63-64. Feb 19, 1960. . This deed speaks for it’s self! Joseph(5) died before 3 Mar 1761 for we find his will in Lunenburg County recorded on that date, leaving wife Mary, son Mical, son Isaac, dau Sarah, dau Mary Winningham, son David, dau Ann md Stephen Wood, son Joseph, Susannah md -?- Hudson, dau Elizabeth, dau Isley and dau Charity. Bk 2 pg 28.
Of all of Michael’s sons Stephen Benjamin(6) is the more difficult to figure out. If we go back to Isaac’s(4) profile we see that the deed description here names a Benj Johnson dec’d. We also find in 1744, Aug 21. Benjamin Johnson(6)...Inv. & Appr.....Goochland Co. Deed book 4 pg. 405. Apparently he died before selling the land he inherited from his father Michael! To support this there is in 1763, Jan 15........Deed...150a..Benjamin Johnson, John Barnett and Agness Barnett to Elisah Leek...Goochland CO...For 120 pounds VA money on Tuckerhoe Creek joining the lands of Benjamin Woodson, William Webber, John Laprade and the lands of Moses Brumfield. Wit: Benj. Woodson Jr., William Hodges, Joseph Johnson and John Johnson rec. 19 April 1763. Now, note here the land adjoins Moses Brumfield and then turn to Isaac’s(4) profile where his land also joined Moses Brunfield! Researching the other adjoing land owners also confirm this fact! Now, the Benjamin Johnson named in the deed above is apparently the son of Stephen Benjamin(6), and Agness could be his daughter.
In conclusion, the way things look to me is that Michael gave each of his sons 200 acres except Isaac(4) & Benjamin(6) who received 150 acres each! That totals out to be 1100 acres! That’s a lot of land! We know he patented 500 acres but that leaves 600 acres undocumented! The reader is urged to go back and read John’s(2) where additional land is referred to as a ‘first tract”. Perhaps future research will solve this puzzle!
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