John Johnson, son of Michael and Sarah Watson Johnson, first appears as a neighbor in a patent by James Johnson in 1718 in a location that would become Goochland County. He was probably born before 1697 in New Kent or Henrico County. In 1719, he patented his own land:
Patent. July 12, 1718. By John Johnson for 400 acres, Henrico co. on north side of James River. Bounded by Chas. Eavens, on n. side & near head of Tuckahoe Creek, his own, JamesJohnson & Michael Johnson (Foley Vol. I55)
The wording of this patent indicates that John already owned some land. Perhaps it was the land given to him by his father-in-law, John Pledge. This land was later referred to in John Pledge’s will.
John’s father died about this time and along with his brother James, John submitted an inventory of Michael’s estate to the court in Henrico County:
Aug. 22, 1719. Inventory of Michael Johnson. Value 63/9/6 by George Payne, William Hodges, Robert Adams. Presented by John & James Johnson and recorded 5 Oct. 1719. (Weisiger PI, 166)
His second land acquisition, in 1732, was for another 400 acres between Lickinghole and Byrd Creek further west in what had become Goochland County:
Patent. April 11, 1732. 400 acres to John Johnson land on north side of James River, on branches of Deep Creek of Lickinghole Creek and those of the E’most branch of Byrd Creek. Bounded by George Southerland’s land, crossing Duncan’s Branch to Tindal’s land. (Foley, Vol. I, 88)
A Benjamin Johnson also patented 400 on Byrd Creek on the same day and date of John’s patent. It is likely that Benjamin was John’s brother. The next year, John acquired an additional 400 acres near Lickinghole and Byrd Creeks bordering the land he had previously purchased in that location.
Patent. Sept. 12, 1733. John Johnson... 400a. Goochland co. on the branches of the Lickinghole and branches of the Byrd; adj. Thomas Tindal, (his own)John Johnson; and on a branch of the Dunkan’s Branch. Paid 40 shill. (Book 15, 119)
John Johnson’s wife was Mary Pledge. He married her before 1720 probably in Henrico County. John Pledge’s will was recorded March 6, 1720 in Henrico Co. (Weisiger Pt1, 167):
Will of John Pledge. To daughters Agnes Pledge, Martha Pledge, Judith, Anne Pledge and Mary, now wife of John Johnson, each, items, also to daughter Tabitha Pledge, items.
Wife to give what she can conveniently spare to my two grandchildren born of my daughter Elizabeth Strainge, dec’d, now living with me.
To son-in-law John Johnson, 100 acres to be taken off the upper side of land where I live, in consideration of his looking after my son John Pledge for life.
The rest of my land I live on, 200 acres, to my son William Pledge, but loving wife Dorothy to enjoy the plantation for life.
All the rest to wife, who is to be executrix
Dated 22 Nov. 1760
Wit: Mary Hutchens, Hester Childers, Tabitha Childers, Joseph Pleasants
Recorded 6 March 1720 (Weisiger, PI, 167)
Dorothy Pledge was living on Nov. 2, 1726 when she and William Pledge were witnesses to the Goochland County will of Thomas Carter (Weisiger,1736-1742, 19). Her maiden name is unknown.
John himself wrote his will on July 30, 1750 and died by the next February. He was at least 54 years old.
Will of John Johnson. July 30, 1750 Goochland Co.
Item: I give unto my son Daniel 400a of land whereon he liveth.
Item: I give unto my son John 400 a. adjoining Daniel being the first survey I took up on the Branches of the Byrd Creek.
Item: I give to my son Joseph 200 a. being part of the survey whereon I now live, lying on both sides of Mill Creek.
Item: I give unto my son James 200 a. and plantation where I now live.
Item: I give unto my brother Isaac 50 a. part of my father’s first tract being left out of his will when made to him.
Item: I give unto Stephen Benjamin Johnson 50 a. being part of the above mentioned.
Item: I give unto my wife Mary the rest of my estate.
Executors: Mary Johnson, Daniel Johnson
Wit: Joseph Peace, Benjamin Watkins (a Quaker), and James Johnson
Rec; Feb. 19, 1751. (DB# 6,121)
In leaving 50 acres to his brother Isaac, John indicated that his father did leave a will, but Michael Johnson’s will has been lost. Stephen Benjamin Johnson was not called brother by John in his will and most likely he was the son of the Benjamin Johnson who died in 1744 leaving the widow Agnes.
Children of John and Mary Pledge Johnson I. Daniel Johnson (bef. 1729-aft. 1764)
Daniel inherited 400 acres from his father, but did not live on it for very long. In 1754, he sold the 400 acres to James George.
Feb. 9, 1754. Daniel Johnson to James George, for 89 pounds, 400 acres on Lickinghole & Byrd Creeks. Bounded by William Webb, James George, Duncan’s Branch, William Davis.... land “where Daniel Johnson now dwells” Wit: John I Bibey, Timothy Reach, Wm. Mann(?), Jr. Rec: May 21, 1754 (DB#6, 361).
Where he lived after this is not clear. He seems to be the Daniel Johnson who married Hannah Edwards about 1755. They were the parents of Martha (b. 1756), Jesse (b. 1759), Ann (b. 1761) and Thomas (b. 1764) according to the Douglas Register (Jones, 224).
In 1762, Daniel and Hannah sold 100 acres on Genetoe Creek to John Johnson.
Oct. 21, 1762. Daniel Johnson to John Johnson for 40 pounds, 100 acres Genetoe Creek. Bounded by Henry Gray, John Turner, & Samuel Richardson. Wit: IsumJohnson, Joseph Johnson, David Johnson, Bartholomew (X) Turner. Signed: Daniel Johnson, Hannah (H) Johnson. Rec. Nov. 16, 1762. Relinq dower. May 17, 1763 (DB#8, 304).
In 1758, this land had been purchased from the heirs of John Hix:
David Hix to Daniel Johnson for 30 pounds, 100 acres on Branches of Genetoe Creek. Bounded by Henry Turner, Samuel Richardson, & William Johnson’s lines “being the land and plantation where John Hix formerly lived”. Wit: Wm Miller, John Laprade, John Woodall, Willm. Woodall. Signed: David (his X Mark) Hix. Rec: Aug. 15, 1758 (DB#7, 315)
Daniel may have purchased a total of 200 acres or this second deed refers to the same tract of land, but affirms the sale by Elizabeth & William Hix to Daniel Johnson of their share of the inherited property.
April 18, 1759. Elizabeth Hix and William Hix to Daniel Johnson for 30 pounds, 100 acres on the branches of Genito Creek bounded by William Johnson, Samuel Richardson & Henry Turner being the land whereon John Hix formerly lived. Wit: William Miller, John Laprade, Samuel Perry & Miller Doggett. Rec: Dec. 18, 1759 (DB#8, 80)
John Hix had died in 1748. His will mentioned a grandson James Johnson Hix and Isaac Johnson was a witness. There was probably a relationship between the two families, but the specific nature of it is not known.
After 1764, Daniel & Hannah are untraced and are presumed to have moved away.
Children of Daniel Johnson & Hannah Edwards Johnson
1. Martha (Nov. 5, 1756- )
2. Jesse (July 23, 1759- )
3. Ann (Oct. 23, 1761- )
4. Thomas (June 15, 1764- )
II. John Johnson (bef. 1729-1781 Lun.Co., Va.)
John and his wife Ann sold their 400 acres on Little Byrd and Lickinghole Creek to James George in 1752.
Sept. 26, 1752. John Johnson to James George for 80 pounds, 400 acres on Little Byrd & Deep Creek of Lickinghole Creek. Bounded by George Sutherland, Duncan’s Branch, Thos. Fendals, George Sutherland. Wit: Josias Payne, William Murry, Thomas Poor. Signed: John Johnson Rec: Sept. 26, 1752. Ann wife of sd. Johnson relinq right of dower (DB#6, 247)
They seem to vanish from the records of Goochland after that and may have moved to Lunenburg County with some other members of the Johnson family. In 1781, a John Johnson wrote a will there leaving a widow Ann. The will mentioned sons Jacob and John and the executor was Isaac Johnson, son of Michael and Sarah Johnson.
Children of John Johnson and Ann ____ Johnson
1. John. He is untraced here.
2. Jacob. He is untraced here.
III.Joseph Johnson (ca. 1720-1781)
He must have been born about 1720 or possibly earlier. He married Sarah Harris before 1757. His wife’s ancestry is not known at this time. In that year, his daughter Ann was born, but his will indicates that he had older children. According to the Rev. Douglas, on Aug.13, 1760 his son David was born. Joanna was born Feb.19, 1765 and Thomas on Dec.2, 1767. The Rev. Douglas also mentions a funeral service for one of Joseph Johnson’s children. The identity of the child is not known.
Joseph and Sarah may have moved to the western part of the county about 1763. That year, they sold the land Joseph inherited from his father John. Mary Pledge Johnson, John’s widow & mother of Joseph relinquished her dower right. She obviously outlived her husband by many years.
Mar. 1, 1763. Joseph Johnson sells to John Guerrant, for 191 pounds “land whereon the sd Joseph Johnson now lives containing by estimation 200 acres... it being part of a tract of land granted by patent to John Johnson, Dec. & by him devised to ...... Joseph Johnson.” Bounded by James Johnson, William Haws (?), John Johnson, Benj. Warkins, on Dover Mill Creek. Wit: Thomas Binford, Joseph Mason, William Hodges, David Johnson. Signed: Joseph Johnson. Rec. May 17, 1763. “Mary Johnson mother sd. Joseph & Sarah hiswife” relinq dower (DB#8, 331)
In 1777, Joseph Johnson signed a deed of gift to his son John. This John is an older son of Joseph born before the Rev. Douglas began keeping the Register.
_________1777. Joseph ___________ to John Johnson so[n of the s]aid Joseph Johnson for the natural love he has for his son, John Johnson a tract of land containing about 100 acres bounded by Jacob Laine, Daniel Young, Rattlesnake Run, Joseph Jen_________. (deed continued page 7) Signed: Joseph Joh________ Wit. Abram Parish, James (+his mark) Martin, John ( ( his mark) Martin. Ackn & rec. Aug. 7, 1777 DB#1, pg. 4. (TLC, 1)
The deed is recorded in Fluvanna County. Rattlesnake Run, a branch of Bird Creek, was near the north east corner of the county.
Another land transaction occurred in 1778 when Joseph & Sarah sold 106 acres on Byrd Creek to Thomas Martin. This Thomas Martin may have been a relative by marriage.
Aug. 21, 1778. Joseph Johnson & Sarah his wife sell to Thomas Martin of Fluvanna co., for 190 pounds, 106 acres. Bounded by the Byrd Creek, John Johnson, Jacob Laine, John Gilbert, Turner Anderson, Samuel Richardson. Wit: Jos. Hayden, John Martin, John Gilbert. Signed: Joseph Johnson, Sarah Johnson. (DB#12, 178).
Joseph’s undated will was probated on Nov.19, 1781 when he was probably in his sixties. His daughter Joannah is called Joannah Moss and, since she married Nathaniel Moss on Dec. 31, 1780, it is obvious that her father wrote his will after that date. The complete text is as follows:
In the name of God Amen. I Joseph Johnson being sick in body, bit in my perfect senses and sound Memory do make this my last will & testament
First, I bequeath my soul to God that gave it & my body to be buryed in a Christian like manner at the discretion of my Executors and as touching Such Estate as it has been please to God to ______ with in this life, I dispose of in manner following after my Just debts being first paid.
Viz. I lend to my beloved wife Sarah all my Estate both real and personal during her natural or second Marriage which may first happen to support and raise and Educate my young children on & at her decease
Item I give to my daughter Mary Cock five Shillings sterling
Item. I give to my son John Johnson five shillings sterling
Item. I likewise give to my Daughter Ann Haden five shillings Sterling
Item. I give my whole Estate both real & personal to my four youngest children Benjamin Johnson, Joannah Moss, & Thomas Johnson& Patsey Johnson to them & their Heirs forever after their Mother’s decease or second marriage which may first happen to be equally divided amongst them. Except a horse colt and saddle which I singularly give to my son Thomas Johnson besides his equal part with my other three youngest Children . my desire is that none of my slaves should be sold but that my children may make out one amongst another with out selling them and if one of my four youngest Children should die without heirs my will and desire is that his her their parts shall be equally divided amongst them that are living of my four youngest children before mentioned, Benjamin, Joanah, Thomas & Patsey or such of them as may be living. I appoint William Price & my son Benjamin & my wife Sarah Executors to my last William & Testament
Signed and delivered in the presence of David Shelton, John Williamson, William Haley.
Signed: Joseph Johnson
At a Court held for Goochland County Nov. 19th, 1781. This writing was presented in court, proved by the oaths of John Williamson and William Haley to be the last Will and testament of Joseph Johnson dec. and ordered to be recorded. Then on the motion of Benjamin Johnson one of the executors herein named who made a _____________ with Peter Parrish and Barret Farrar his securities entered into bond conditioned as the law requites. Probate _____ was granted ___________. (DB#13, 152)
In 1782, the tax list in District #6 in the western part of the county shows a Sarah Johnson with three slaves, but no Joseph Johnson. No Josephs are listed until 1787 and that Joseph is described as “son of James”.
The children of Joseph and Sarah Harris Johnson
1. Mary (ca. 1748- )
Benjamin Cock married Mary Johnson some time before 1769. On May 24 of that year, a daughter Ann was born to the couple. A Benjamin Cock was on the 1800 Goochland Co. Tax list, but this couple is untraced.
1. Ann (May 24, 1769- )
2. John (ca. 1750- )
John married Judith Martin probably in the 1770s. They had: David Harris Johnson on Dec.10, 1779 and Judith Martin Johnson on Jan. 27, 1782 according to the Douglas Register (Jones, 226). The mother of Judith Martin Johnson was listed as “Molly” Martin by the Rev. Douglas, but this is probably an error.
In 1783 in Fluvanna County, John and Judith Johnson sold the land given to John in the Fluvanna deed of gift signed in 1777 by his father.
Mar. 31, 1783. John Johnson & Judith his wife of Goochland Co. to John Gill for 200 specie, 100 acres of land on northern branches of Great Byrd Creek, being the land whereon sd. John Gill now lives, joining the land of Jacob Layne, Thomas Martin, Samuel Richardson and Alexander Toney. Signed: John Johnson, Judith (her + mark). Wit: William Barnard, Samuel Richardson, Joseph Haden, Gent. Rec.: Apr. 3, 1783 Fluv. DB#1, 449. (TLC, 48)
Also in 1783 in Goochland County, John and his wife sold what appears to be the remainder of their land:
Dec. 15, 1783. John Johnson & wife Judah to Charles Goodman for 60 pounds, 100 acres more or less on branches of Little Bird. Bounded by Daniel Grubb, William Anderson. Wit: John Dykes, jr., Abrame Parrish, John Grubb. Signed: John Johnson, Judah Johnson (DB#13, 259)
They may have been leaving the county and are untraced after this date
Children of John Johnson and Judith Martin Johnson
1. David Harris (Dec. 10, 1779- )
2. Judith Martin (Jan. 27, 1782- )
3. Ann (Nov. 21, 1757- )
She married William Haden in Goochland on Oct. 31. 1775. Both are described as being “of Albemarle”. They moved to Logan County, Kentucky and have descendants there.
4. David (Apr. 13, 1760- )
5. Benjamin (b.bef. 1760- )
Benjamin may be the same person as the “David” mentioned by the Rev. Douglas in his Register. He was described as a younger child in his father’s will, but was made an executor. Joseph probably did that in 1781 because his son Benjamin was of age. Therefore, he must have been born in 1760 or before. No son named Benjamin is listed in the Register and this leave some uncertainty.
Benjamin Johnson “son of Joseph Johnson” married Anna Norvell, daughter of James Norvell on Sept. 1, 1779 (Williams, 46). DNA testing has proven that a descendant of this man was a descendant of Michael Johnson.
6. Joannah (Feb. 19, 1765- )
Joannah married Nathaniel Moss on Dec.31, 1780 (Jones, 36) and they moved to Georgia.
7. Thomas (Dec. 2, 1767- )- Untraced here
8. Patsey (ca. 1770)
Martha married Daniel McCary on Dec. 25, 1792 with Thomas Martin as surety (Williams, 57).
IV. James Johnson (ca. 1725- )
He married Mildred Mims in 1751 (Jones, 28). James Johnson and Mildred Mims were the parents of Sarah (b.1755), Martha (b.1758), Mary (b. 1760), David (b. 1762), twins John and Benjamin (b.1764), Judith (b.1765), James (b.1767), and Nansy (b.1769) according to the Douglas Register (Jones, 225).
Several years after the father’s demise, they sold James inheritance from his father John.
Jan. 4, 1757. James Johnson and Mildred his wife to William Harves (Harris?) And Tabitha his wife of Hanover Co. For 11 pounds, 200 acres “being part of a tract of land taken up by Michael Johnson grandfather of sd. James Johnson” Bounded by Tuckahoe Creek. Wit: Isaac Shepherd, Wm. Miller, John Hughes, James Tompkins, Wm Graves. Signed: James Johnson, Mildred Johnson Rec. Jan. 18, 1757. Mildred Johnson relinq dower right. (DB#7, 142)
Roughly a month later, James and Mildred purchased some acreage further west in the county on Lickinghole Creek.
Feb. 12, 1757. David Mims to James Johnson for 30 pounds, 58 acres on Lickinghole Creek. Bounded by Mim’s Bridge, Edward Scruggs, Church Rd. Wit: John Smith, Thomas Mims, John Wright. Signed: David Mims. Rec. July 19, 1757 (DB#7, 182)
However, they sold that land a few years later.
May 21, 1762. James Johnson & Mildred his wife to Alexander Baine of Henrico county for 45 pounds, 58 acres. Bounded by Mims Bridge on Lickinghole Creek, Edward Scrugg’s line, Church Rd. Wit: William Prosser, John Mims, Thos. Davenport. Signed: James Johnson, Mildred Johnson. Rec: Sept. 21, 1762 (DB#8, 298)
In Order Book #12 the February 1773 Court mentions a suit by Carter & Trent against “James Johnson (Lickinghole)”. This was probably Mildred’s husband, but that is not proven. The James Johnson who married Rachel Haden is consistently referred to as James Johnson, Jr. in the Court Order Books of the early 1770s. James Jr., son of James Johnson the Elder died before the August Court 1773 & further research would help distinguish the two men.
In 1784, a James Johnson was on the Personal Property Tax List for 1784 in District #4 which was on or near Lickinghole Creek In 1786, Dabney Wade was to pay the taxes of “James, est.?” It is difficult to be sure about the meaning of this, but in 1787 the only James listed in the Reconstructed Census in the west end of the county was “James (old)”. By this time the term old might fit John’s son James.
A James appears in the tax lists of 1789 &1790. In 1791, he was listed as “levy free” and in 1794 the entry was “James, David Johnson exempt”. 1795 had “James paymt David Johnson” and 1796, 1797, & 1798 “James exmt”. After 1798, James does not appear in the tax lists of the upper district (Personal Property Tax List, 1782-1809).
It seems that James, son of John may have been disabled & that his son David took some responsibility for handling his father’s affairs. Further research would clarify this. James and Mildred Johnson have not been definitively traced after 1769.
Children of James Johnson and Mildred Mims
Bibliography Foley, Louise Pledge Heath, Early Virginia Families Along the James River Their Deep Roots and Tangled Branches Henrico County-Goochland County, Vol. I, (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1983)