James, Richard, Isham, and Susannah Johnson
of Louisa County, Virginia
by Bonnie Flythe
Sept. 26, 2008
During the mid-1700s to about 1800s, the brothers James, Richard and Isham and sister Susannah Johnson lived in Louisa County in St. Martinís Parish very near the Hanover border. They were mentioned in several deeds as neighbors of Richard Johnson, Thomas Johnson, David Johnson, William Johnson and John Glen on the north side of the Southanna River. They are not known to be related to Col. Richard Johnson or to David & William Johnson, sons of William & Sarah Johnson. The parentage of these Johnsons has been searched for, but not yet found.
Isham Johnson was born before 1745, but was probably not the oldest of the siblings. On July 15, 1766, the following undated will was presented to Louisa County Court:
Will of Isham Johnson, to sister Susannah Johnson wench I hired to Peter Shelton called Phillis; to brother Richard Johnson negro Sanyo and crop now growing and the money I have by me to James Johnson my brother he paying all my debts. Wit: James Johnson, Richard Johnson, Susannah (X) Johnson. Rec. 11 August 1766 (VaGenWeb Louisa County, Va., WB 1, 84)
The will provides the names of three brothers and one sister. Isham, the testator, left no children and was apparently not married. However, the descendants of the two surviving brothers of Isham have been traced in Louisa County, Virginia and beyond. Susannah Johnsonís fate is not known. This document is the only identifiable mention of her.
There may have been some conflict over Ishamís will because a quit claim deed was recorded the same day as the will:
I Richard Johnson of Louisa Co. for me and my heirs Release renounce & forever Quit Claim unto James Johnson of same co. all benefit, Gift, Legacy of bequest whatsoever to me belonging by reason of the Will of Isham Johnson, Dec'd., 11 Aug. 1766 /s/ Richd. Johnson. 11 Aug. 1766 ack. by Richard Johnson (VaGenWeb, Louisa Co. DB C, p. 171)
This was usually done to settle a dispute among heirs. The exact nature of this dispute remains a mystery.
The will was not the first to mention an Isham Johnson in Louisa County. He does not seem to have been a land owner even though he mentioned a crop in his will, but he did witness a deed:
Date: 12-Jan-1765 Richard Johnson of Hanover Co. and Doretha his wife to Sarah Johnson of Louisa L128 for land and plantation of Richard Johnson in St. Martins parish, Louisa County adj. Sarah Johnson and Robert Tenhams corner in Richard Johnson now Thomas Johnson line, along David Johnson's line containing 200 acres granted by patent 16 June 1737 to Lanslott Crost late of Hanover and by Crost sold to Edward Arnold, by Arnold sold to Benjamin Arnold and by sd. Benjamin Arnold to sd. Richard Johnson. Sig. Richard Johnson. Wit. William Johnson, Richard Johnson, Isham Johnson. (Lo. Co. DB: C, 256)
The grantor of this deed was a descendant of Col. Richard Johnson and not known to be related to David Johnson, William Johnson or Isham Johnson who also appear in the document. Thomas Johnson was another descendant of Col. Richard Johnson. William Johnson and David Johnson were brothers, sons of William Johnson and Sarah his wife. This and other deeds provide the location of this group of Johnsons in St. Martinís Parish, Louisa County.
Ishamís brother James seems to have been the eldest of the three, probably born in 1733 or before. Jamesí oldest child, Elizabeth Whitaker Johnson, was born in the early to mid-1750s. He was also the executor of Ishamís will. He died in 1792. James was actually the first of the brothers to appear in the records as this shows:
Feb.22, 1757David Johnson of St. Martin's Par., Louisa co., to James Johnson of same. L96 currt. Money, For 186 acres in St. Martin's Par... corner in pine in Benjamin Arnold's line. Sig. David Johnson. 22 Feb 1757 acknowledged by David Johnson, Mary his wife, declared her consent. (VaGenWeb Louisa County, Va., Deed Book B, 132)
He may have owned other land, but he does not figure in any deeds in this area before this.
St. Martinís Parish Tithable records are particularly valuable in tracing this line, but they begin in 1767 (Davis, Rosalie Edith, Louisa County, Virginia Tithables and Census 1743-1785)
From year to year, the lists vary in detail. Some simply provide numbers of tithables and some name all the tithables in a household.
James Johnson was listed in Martinís Parish in 1767 as an owner of 215 acres of land. His tithable slaves were: Tom, Dogin, Fana, Toby, Corda, & Beck. He was enumerated by Richard Anderson in a precinct including Richard and David Johnson. Andersonís tithables precinct was south of the Southanna River.
James purchased more land:
10 ____ 1769Thomas Darricott and Eliza. his wife of St. Martins Parish, Louisa Co., to James Johnson of same; £220 current money, 200 acres and Plantation on the south side of the south fork of Pamunkey River in St. Martins Parish .... corner on the river bank in David Sheltons line ... David Andersons line ... sd Sheltons line. /s/ Thos. Darracott, Eliza. Darricott. 14 August 1769 ack. by Thos. Darracott and Eliza. his wife. (Davis, R.E. Lo.Co. Deed Books C, C 1/2, D and D 1/2: 1759-1774 , DB D Ĺ, p 153-155 )
This resulted in the sale of the land that he had been living on:
12-Apr-1770Jas. Johnson of St. Martins Par., Louisa Co., Planter, and Sarah his wife to David. Johnson of same; L100 currt. Money, 192 acres land and Plantation on both sides of Elk Swamp in St. Martins Par; ... lands of Pouncy Anderson, William Johnson, William Priddy and the sd. David Johnson. Sig. James Johnson, and Sarah Johnson (X) Wit. John Scott, John Higgason, George Matlock. (VaGenWeb, Lo.Co. DB: D, Page: 246)
James was evidently married to a Sarah, most likely Sarah Tenham, daughter of Robert Tenham. Tenham had written his will in 1763 mentioning his Johnson daughter, but not identifying her husband:
23 Dec. 1763Will of Robert Tenham of St. Martins Parish. 5 daus: Mary West, Eliza. Tenham, Rebekah Walker, Sarah Johnson, Ann Tenham. To dau. Mary West all corner of land above Peter Shelton's Branch, where said dau. Mary now lives - 2 acres. Exors: friend John Boswell of Hanover Co., Thos. Johnson, jr., son of Nicholas Johnson of Louisa Co.. ./s/ Robert Tenham Wit: Pouncey Anderson, Robert Wilson, Elizabeth Anderson. Rec. 9 Oct. 1769. (Chapplear, N. & Hatch, Abstracts of Lo. Co. Wills, WB 2, 65)
Firm proof of this marriage has not surfaced, but the wives of many other Johnson men during this time period have been identified and a Sarah was not among them.
James continued on the same tithable lists from 1768 through1773 with Conday, Beck and Furra/Forra/Forday listed. Then in 1775, James was listed as head of a household that included Richard Johnson, William Johnson, Furry, Beck and Nan. Two of James sons were old enough to be tithables & were so listed. In 1776, his tithables consisted of James Johnson, Richard Johnson, William Powers and three slaves. William Powers was a son-in-law and was apparently working for him. In 1783 James Johnsonís tithables differed from those previously enumerated. They consisted of Richard Johnson, John Johnson, James Johnson, Jr. and 6 slaves as well as James himself.
Then, Sarah Tenham Johnsonís sister wrote her will in Louisa County in 1783:
WB 3, p.7. Will of Elizabeth Tenham, spinster, Parish St. Martins. To John West, son of Benj. West, all my lands. To Robert West, son of Benj. West. Sarah Perkins, wife of Will Perkins. My sister Ann Isble. Molly Walker, dau. of Peter Walker. My sister Sarah Johnson. Dated 11 Dec. 1783. Signed: Eliz. Tenham. Wit: Thos. Johnson, Jr., Benjamin West, Elizabeth Walker. Rec. 10 May 1784. (Va.GenWeb Louisa Co., WB 3, 7)
Some have claimed that James Johnson married Sarah Parish, but James was having children well before the James Johnson-Sarah Parish marriage of 1768 and Sarah Tenham Johnson was still alive in 1783! In addition, Sarah Johnsonís will indicates that she was the mother of James Johnsonís oldest children, born in the 1750s & early 1760s.
James Johnson died on Feb. 23, 1792. His will was a nuncupative will made at the very end of life:
The William Johnson who heard Johnsonís last wishes was most likely his son William.
His widowís dower of 80 acres was allotted apparently before his demise or there was a copy error! This indicates that he owned a total of 240 acres:
Report. Sarah Johnson's Dower land on River adj. Overton, Anderson, Shelton 80 acres. Dated 23 Jan. 1792. Signed: Cors. Dabney, Saml. Dabney. Rcd. 11 Feb. 1793. (VaGenWeb,Louisa Co. VA WB 3,508)
Subsequent court documents give a listing of all of James children. Soon after Jamesí death, some of the children sold their share of their fatherís land and also their share of their motherís dower:
Date: 13-Sep-1792 Wm. Johnson and Ann his wife, Isham Johnson of Louisa, William Moss and Rebecca his wife of Buckingham, Richard Johnson and Sarah Johnson of Louisa, James Johnson and Kezekiah his wife of Louisa, William Powers and Elizabeth Whitaker and John Johnson and Mary his wife of Louisa L80 and L120 to John Overton land where James Johnson lately lived adjoining the lands of John Overton, Robert Duncan, Minor v. Anderson and each of our portions of Sarah Johnson's right of Dower at her death containing by estimation 200 acres that is our 1/10 each and 1/10 of Sarah Johnson's dower as hereafter may be laid off to her sold by Wm. Johnson and Ann his wife, Isham Johnson, James Johnson and Keziah his wife, William Powers and Elizabeth Whitaker his wife, and John Johnson and Mary his wife. Wit. Samuel Luck, Robert Duncan, John Jackson, Jesse White, William Overton. 13 Sep 1792. Rec. 12 Nov 1792 proved again 14 Apr 1794. (Va.GenWeb, Louisa Co., DB G, 393)
It is not clear why the deed had to be proved again two years later.
A division of James Johnsonís personal property was recorded:
Div. of est. of James Johnson on 25 Dec. 1793.
Lot 1 to Ann Johnson
Lot 2 to Sarah Johnson
Lot 3 to Isham Johnson
Lot 4 to Thomas Johnson
Lot 5 to James Johnson
Lot 6 to Richard Johnson
Lot 7 to William Powers
Lot 8 to William Johnson
Each 51-26 lbs. Div. made by Cornelius Dabney, Robert Duncan Thos. Shelton, Saml. Dabney. 9 Dec. 1793. Rec. 11 Sept. 1797
(VAGenWeb, Louisa Co., VA WB 4, p. 32)
This provides a list of eight of Jamesí ten children. Rebecca Moss and John Johnson are not included on the list & the reason for this is not known. His estate was appraised and a sale was conducted in 1793:
Account of sales of JAS JOHNSON est. by Shff. Louisa Co. Amt.: 165-17-4. Richard, Nancy, Thomas, Sarah, Benj., John & Wm. Johnson, Edward Curd, John Overton, Thomas Meriwether, Mrs. Johnson. Signed: Thomas Meriwether D.S. for James Dabney. Rcd. 11 Feb. 1793. (VaGenWeb, Louisa Co., VA WB 3, p. 509)
By the time of James demise, some of his children had moved to other counties:
Sept. 13, 1792Wm. Johnson and Ann his wife, Isham Johnson of Louisa, William Moss and Rebecca his wife of Buckingham, Richard Johnson and Sarah Johnson of Louisa, James Johnson and Kezekiah his wife of Louisa, William Powers and Elizabeth Whitaker and John Johnson and Mary his wife of Louisa #80 and #120 to John Overton land where James Johnson lately lived adjoining the lands of John Overton, Robert Duncan, Minor V. Anderson and each of our portions of Sarah Johnson's right of Dower at her death containing by estimation 200 acres that is our 1/10 each and 1/10 of Sarah Johnson's dower as hereafter may be laid off to her sold by Wm. Johnson and Ann his wife, Isham Johnson, James Johnson and Keziah his wife, William Powers and Elizabeth Whitaker his wife, and John Johnson and Mary his wife. Wit. Samuel Luck, Robert Duncan, John Jackson, Jesse White, William Overton. 13 Sep 1792. Rec. 12 Nov 1792 proved again 14 Apr 1794. (VaGenWeb Louisa Co., Book: G, Page: 393)
In 1796, Sarah Johnson, his widow, died in Louisa County. She left a will that provides further information about the children:
Children of James Johnson and Sarah (Tenham)Johnson
I. Elizabeth Whitaker.
Elizabeth was probably born about 1753 or 1754. This daughter was married by the Rev. Douglas to William Powers on Nov. 29, 1774 (Jones, W. Mac, The Douglas Register, 40). Rev. Douglas described William Powers as "of Goochland" and Elizabeth Whitaker Johnson as "of Hanover". Her father Jamesí tract of land may have straddled the Louisa- Hanover border. After this, she is untraced.
William was born about 1754 and on Oct. 15, 1781 married Ann/Nancy Johnson of Goochland Co. (Williams, ÖÖÖ., Marriages of Goochland Co, Va.. 1733-1815, 48)
Ann/Nancy was a daughter of James Johnson and Rachel Haden of Goochland & Albemarle Counties.
After the death of Williamís mother, the couple moved to Logan County, Kentucky. William died there in 1811:
Will of William Johnson. Names wife, Ann; brothers Richard and Thomas, nephew William Johnson; sister Rebecka Jones. Exec: Ann Johnson, Thomas Johnson. Wit: Richard Bibb Jr, William Duncan, Gabe Lewis. Probate: 18 Nov 1811 (Logan County KY Will Book A: pp.199-201)
Richard was born before 1754. His wife was a Sarah, but little more is known of him. He apparently moved to Logan County, Kentucky.
He was born before 1762 according to the Tithables Lists of Louisa County. On Oct. 6, 1790, he married Kesia Johnson, daughter of David Johnson in Louisa Co.
They were apparently involved in some sort of dispute with Kesiaís brothers Christopher and Thomas Johnson.
In Chancery. May 17, 1792. James Johnson & Kesia his wife, pltfs agt. Christopher Johnson and Thomas Johnson, execs. of David Johnson, decd.; It appears that Christopher Johnson is not an inhabitant of this county. 18th Cent. Newspapers (VGGA 25 Jul. 1792)
It is not known how this was resolved.
Years later, James and Kesia sold some of their land:
25-Dec-1801James Johnson and Keziah his wife of Louisa to William Richardson of Hanover ?300 tract on Folly Swamp cont. 147 acres adj. sd. William Richardson, Thomas Harden, Lewis Turner, Hunters Road. Sig. James Johnson, Keziah Johnson. wit. Austin B. Cosby, Samuel Richardson, John (x) Mallory. (VaGenWeb, Louisa Co., Deed Book: J, Page: 270)
After this, they are untraced.
Like his brother, John was born before 1762 according to the Tithables Lists. John married a Mary by 1792. Her surname is unknown and they are untraced.
Ishamís birth date is unknown and after his appearance in his father and motherís estate settlement papers, his fate is unknown.
By 1792, Rebecca Johnson had married William Moss of Buckingham County. She was probably born about 1771. In 1797, Rebecca was a widow and remarried:
16 Nov. 1797. Drury Jones and Rebecca Moss. Sur. Thomas Johnson. Married by Rev. Richard Pope. (Williams, Mar. of Lo.Co., Va., 59)
The 1811 Logan County will of Rebeccaís brother William Johnson indicates that she and her husband moved to Logan County, Kentucky with some of her siblings.
Sarah was mentioned in her motherís will of 1796. After that she is untraced.
The fate of this child, living in 1796, is not known.
Thomas was born about 1780 and in 1799, he married Nancy Price:
25 Feb. 1799. Thomas Johnson and Nancy Price, dau. of John Price. Sur. Jesse Perkins. Wit: David Johnson. William Johnson is brother and guardian of Thomas. Married Feb. 26 by Rev. Richard Pope. (Williams, Mar. of Lo.Co., Va, 58)
Thomas was in Louisa County in 1800 when he sold his portion of his fatherís property:
Dec. 8, 1800. Thomas Johnson son of James Johnson of Louisa to John Overton of same #50 land where James Johnson Dec'd. lived being 1/10 supposed to be 20 acres more or less. sig. Thomas Johnson Rec. 8 Dec 1800. (VaGenWeb, Louisa Co., Book: J, Page: 88)
Thomas and Nancy Johnson moved to Logan Co., Kentucky at some point.
Richard was born before 1745. He had been left a legacy of a slave Singo by his brother Isham in 1766. Then in 1767, a Richard Johnson of St. Martinís Parish was listed with slaves Tom and Singo in the tithables listings.
The Rev. Douglas recorded the marriage of Richard Johnson and Dorothy Powers on Nov. 14, 1769 (Jones, W. Mac, The Douglas Register, 29). He also recorded the births of some of their children: Reuben Powers (1772), Christopher (1774), Lewis (1777), and Francis (1782) (Jones, W. Mac, The Douglas Register, 227).
Soon after the marriage, Richard purchased land in Goochland County. This seems to have been near the home of his bride and her father William Powers:
May 21, 1770. Strangeman Hutchins of St. James Northam Parish of Goochland sells to Richard Johnson of same for 32 pounds, 10 shillings land on Branches of Tuckahoe Creek, 60 acres, Bounded by Tuckahoe,Ö Wit: Jas. (?) Pleasants, Frances Pledge, Joseph Watkins. Signed: Strangeman (his X mark) Hutchins. Ackn.: May 21 1770. Eliz. his wife relinq. Dower. (Goochland Co., Deed Book #10, p. 41)
Then a few years later, he purchased more land:
DB#10, p. 252. Aug. 17, 1772. James Libscomb & his wife Jane of King William County to Richard Johnson of Goochland County for 100 pounds land 150 acres. Bounded by Henry Atkins, Jr. Henry Atkins, Sr., John Bowles & Reuben Fordís line, William Powers, Major Powers, Isham Parishís line. Wit: (unreadable on reel). Ackn. Aug. 17, 1772 by Lipscomb and his wife. (Goochland Co., Deed Book #10, p. 252)
Dorothy was probably the mother of Richardís eldest son Philip. Philipís birth was not recorded by the Rev. Douglas, but he was mentioned in his fatherís will. Dorothy died before Richard and on April 18, 1785 he married Milley Walker in Goochland County (Williams, Ö, Marriages of Goochland Co,Va 1733-1815, 48). She may have been the Molly Walker, daughter of Peter Walker mentioned in the will of Elizabeth Tenham, sister of Sarah Tenham Johnson. Milly was the mother of Richardís sons Peyton, John, and Thomas.
At some point, Richard and Milly moved to Buckingham County after selling this land in Goochland:
Oct. 3, 1792. Richard Johnson & his wife Milly to William Powers for 150 pounds. Land in Goochland and Hanover Cos., 150 acres. Bounded by Henry Stephenson (?), Isum Parish, William Powers, ________,____Atkinson, John Watkins. Wit: Joseph Watkins, Thomas Shores (?), John Powers, Major Powers. Signed: Richard Johnson. Rec. Oct. 3, 1792 (Go.Co. DB#16, 191)
Richard dated his will in 1823 in Buckingham County, a burned county. Fortunately it survived in the Contested Election Files for that county:
Richard Johnson of Buckingham Co., D. 8 Sept. 1823 R. 10 May, 1831
Eldest son: Philip Johnson $100 in addition to what he has already had.
Son: Reubin Johnson $400
Son: Christopher Johnson 5 pounds
Son: Lewis Johnson $400
Daughter: Nancy Riddle $500
If money in hand is insufficient to pay legacies, my executors to sell as much of my personal estate as will raise that sum which estate is to be pointed out by my sons of my present wife.
That part of estate which came by my wife Milley should remain in her possession for life and then be equally divided between her children: Payton, John and Thomas Johnson, after Thomas returns the negroes he carried off. It is my desire that my 2 daughters: Salley Dunn and Elizabeth Johnson share equally with the above named children of my wife Milley. Their share is for life only, then to go to their children. If they die without issue, property to go to children of wife Milley.
Wife: Milley land I live on for life then to be equally divided among her children. Also 1/3 of personal estate for life, then to her children. Also my interest in the Rock house and lot in Bent Creek.
I have loaned the following negroes to my children and they are to be deducted from their share- Peyton Johnson, Crecey, $500; John Johnson, Judith, $600; Salley Dunn, Suckey, $600.
Executors: George Christian, John T. Bocock, Henry Flood.
Witnesses: John Morgan, William Gordan (?), John Ferguson. Will was presented by Mildred Johnson and John H. Johnson, opposed by Philip Johnson, County Court and Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery (15 Sept. 1831) uphold will. (Southside Va., Vol. 5, #1, p.3)
If Richard lived till about 1831 when his will was recorded, he would have been about 86 years old! Obviously his widow Milly outlived him, but nothing more is known about her.
Children of Richard Johnson and Dorothy Powers
Philip was probably born about 1770. A Philip Johnson does appear in the Personal Property Tax Lists for Goochland County in 1792 & 3, 1798-1803, 1805 (3 Chopt Rd.) and 1806-1809 (Goochland Co., Va P.. P.. Tax Lists 1782-1809 LDS #2024552). He does not appear in the land tax lists.
II. Reubin Powers
This son was born on Oct. 7, 1772, but he is untraced.
Christopher was born Oct. 25, 1774 and is untraced here.
On Feb. 13, 1777, Lewis Johnson was born in Goochland County. He is untraced here.
Born March 19, 1782, this son may not have survived childhood. He was not mentioned in his fatherís will.
Nancy was probably born about 1783 or 1784, but her birth was not recorded. Nancy married Robert Riddle in 1805 in Goochland County with Madison Powers as security (Williams, .., Mar. of Goochland Co., Via 1733-1815, 83). She may not have moved to Buckingham County with her parents.
Although Sally married a man named Dunn, she is untraced
Nothing is known about this daughter.
Children of Richard Johnson and Milly Walker
This son was born to Milly after 1785, but is untraced.
Born after 1785, he is untraced.
This son, born after 1785, is untraced.
m. Sarah Tenham
m. Dorothy Powers
B. Reubin Powers
m. Robert Riddle, 1805
m. _______ Dunn
m. Milly Walker
Chappelear, Nancy & Hatch, Kate Binford . Abstracts of Louisa County, Virginia Will Books 1743-1801, (Washington, D.C., Chappelear & Binford, 1964)
Davis, Rosalie Edith, Louisa County, Virginia Tithables and Census 1743-1785, (Manchester, Mo., 1988)
Davis, Rosalie Edith, Louisa County, Virginia Deed Books C, C Ĺ, D and D Ĺ: 1759-1774, (Manchester, Mo., Davis, 1977)
Goochland Co., Deed Book #10, LDS #31656
Goochland Co. Deed Book #16, LDS #31658
Goochland Co., Virginia Personal Property Tax Lists 1782-1809 LDS #2024552
Haden, Kay email of, Logan County Kentucky Will Book A
Jones, W. Mac, The Douglas Register, (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1977)
Southside Virginian, Vol. 5, #1
VaGenWeb Louisa County, Va., Deed Book B
VaGenWeb, Louisa Co., Va Deed Book C
VaGenWeb, Louisa Co. Deed Book: D
Va.GenWeb, Louisa Co., DB G
VaGenWeb Louisa County, Va., Will Book 1
VaGenWeb,Louisa Co. VA WB 3
VaGenWeb, Louisa Co., VA WB 4
VaGenWeb, Louisa Co., Will Book: J
VGGA 25 Jul. 1792
Williams, Kathleen Booth, Marriages of Goochland County, Virginia 1733-1815 (Baltimore, Md.: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1979)
Williams, Kathleen Booth, Marriages of Louisa Co., Virginia 1766-1815, (Baltimore, Md., Clearfield Co., 1989)
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