William Johnson of Middlesex and Goochland Counties, Virginia

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William Johnson….5 Mar 1744/1 Oct. 1745. Son William Johnson my estate in Goochland Co. Son Henry Johnson land in Middlesex Co. Children Vizt. Henry Johnson, Benjamin Johnson, Stephen Johnson, Samuel Johnson and Averilla Johnson. Exor: Wife Margaret Johnson Wit: William Wood, Mary Sadler and Charles Wood. (Hopkins, 74)
The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Virginia from 1653-1812 lists the children of William Johnson and Margaret Pace as: William (1722), Elizabeth (1726), Henry (1727), Daniel (1729-1729), Samuel (1731-1735), Jane (1733), Avarilla (1735), Benjamin (1739), Stephen (1741), Samuel (1742). According to the same Register, William had married Margaret Pace on Sept. 22, 1721 in Middlesex County.
A question does arise from an examination of this list. Is it possible that some of the other Johnsons in Goochland came from Middlesex? The Division of William Johnson’s estate in Middlesex nearly 20 years later sheds some light on this:

Aug. 2, 1763. Division of the estate of William Johnson, deceased to Henry Johnson, Benjamin Johnson, Stephen Johnson, Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Williams who married Avarilla Johnson and Margaret Johnson, the widow. (Hopkins, 90)

It appears from this that William may have been the only heir to move to Goochland County. He did not participate in the division and that may be because he had moved away so long ago to live on his inheritance.
Sometime in the 1740s, he moved to the land in Goochland County and married Christian Leak. Christian Leak was the daughter of Walter & Judith Leak. Walter Leak’s will was written on Oct. 31, 1757 and probated May 16, 1756 (Henley, 44).
The Douglas Register records the birth of their children as follows: Judith born April 13, 1751; William born June 18, 1753; Walter born Sept. 23, 1755; Samuel born Nov. 17, 1757; Manoah, a son, born July 13, 1759; Jeremiah born Feb. 14, 1762; Stephen born Sept. 20, 1763; Christian, a daughter, born Feb. 15, 1767; and Josiah born April 24, 1769 (Jones, 228).
William appears to have stayed on his plantation and not purchased or sold any land for many years. The Personal Property Tax lists from 1782-1796 in Goochland County consistently show a William Johnson in the western part of the county, either in what was designated as district #6 or the Upper District of the county. In 1785, Stephen Johnson is listed as a tithe in the household of William Johnson. Stephen, the son, would have been 22 years old at the time. Stephen is listed independently in the Tax list of 1787, but was described as “of Byrd Creek” just as his father was in the same list. The father William seems to have prospered. He owned three horses and sixteen cattle.
In 1791, William is listed as having a tithe named Robt. Banks. The next year Robt Banks and Will Banks were in the household of William Johnson. In 1793 & 1794, William and Daniel Banks were living with William Johnson. They were probably indentured servants working for him.
William Johnson’s will was written on April 7, 1796 and probated Sept. 19, 1796 when he was 74 years old.

April 7, 1796. Will of William Johnson. Son Stephen Johnson, land and plantation “whereon I now live” & one negro man named Tom, etc. My grandson John Smith Johnson. Daughter Christian Pope. Daughter Judah Johnson. Son Walter Johnson. Exec.: Son Stephen Johnson. Wit: Wm. Massie, James (X) Pace, Jesse (X) Pace. Signed: William Johnson. Prob. Sept. 19, 1796 (DB17, p. 26)

According to William Johnson’s estate division, William Banks was paid his freedom dues and Daniel Banks paid for “his hire”.

Oct. 17, 1796. Ordered that Robert Lewis, John Wade, Nathaniel Massie, James Allen and John Perkins or any three of them divide the estate of William Johnson & report the same to the court.

The estate of William Johnson decd. to Stephen Johnson Exor.

To Arch. Bryce for John Modgrass & Co.

To Arch Bryce

To Doc. James Porter

To William Banks for freedom dues

To Daniel Banks for hire

To Walter Johnson his legacy

To Stephen Grange for Smith’s work

To Andrew Drake for hire

To Clerk of Goochland Court

To Judah Johnson

To services as Exec.

26/9/9 & 1/4

John Wade & Nathaniel Massie

Rec: Jan. 6, 1797 (DB#17, pg. 58)

His wife Christian was probably deceased by this time since she does not appear in either of these documents. Samuel, Manoah, Jeremiah, & Josiah were unaccountably absent from the will. Perhaps, at least a few of them may have been given financial aid by their father many years before and William did not see the need to leave them anything more.

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