The Quaker Johnsons of Bedford County VA and Their Antecedents

My fourth great-grandfather John Johnson, Jr, who appears to have perished in the War of 1812, is from a Quaker lineage. [See John Johnson, Jr (?-1812/3) Bedford County, VA.]

Each of the following quotations appear to be relevant to the immediate families of my ancestor(s), although at present none of these sources exactly “fit”:

The following marriages were recorded in the Monthly Meeting of the South River Meeting-House (Lynchburg, VA):

Joseph Johnson and Agatha Moorman, daughter of Zachariah Moorman, were married at South River Meeting-house 4-17-1785. The following sitnesses signed the marriage certificate: Christopher Johnson, John Lynch, William Stanton, Christopher Anthony, Ann Candler, Milley Johnson, Molly Johnson, James Johnson, William Davis, Elizabeth Douglas, Judith Ballard, Susanna Miller, John Candler, Samuel Davis, Mary Timberlake, Rachel Johnson, Mary Johnson, Salley Johnson, Samuel Johnson, Zachariah Moorman, Rachel Ballard, JOHN JOHNSON, Rachel Moorman, Achilis Douglas, Betty Johnson, Ann Lay, Susanna Johnson.

JOHN JOHNSON of Bedford County, and RHODA MOORMAN, of Campbell, were married at South River Meeting-house 10-21-1789. The following witnesses signed the marriage certificate: Micajah Moorman, William Johnson, Joseph Johnson, Thomas Moorman, William Bloxom, Charles Moorman, Thomas Johnson, Moorman Johnson, Thomas Johnson Joseph Stratton, Samuel Davis, Richard Bloxom, Mary Davis, Annis Davis, Agatha Johnson, Susanna Johnson, Betty Moorman, Desha Moorman, Sarah Stratton, Milley Johnson, Susanna Johnson, Nancy Moorman, Rachel Johnson, Prudence Moorman.

The following excerpts are from the book: Rhoda Moorman Coffin (1826-1909), her reminiscences, addresses, papers and ancestry (1910)

“I was born 2nd month 1, 1826, near a small village called Paintersville in Green County, Ohio.

“My parents were JOHN and Judith JOHNSON. My father, the son of JOHN and RHODA MOORMAN JOHNSON, was born near Lynchburg, Virginia, 1st month, 3d, 1795. His father, JOHN JOHNSON, JUN., died early in the year 1803, [FN1] when my father was eight years old, leaving his mother with five sons and one daughter. Her sixth son, James, was born six weeks after his death.

“In 1807 she disposed of her property in Virginia, and with her family and necessary effects in a two-horse wagon, she left her native state and removed to Waynesville, Warren County, Ohio. I have heard my grandmother say that she was six weeks on the road.

[FN 1] JOHN JOHNSON, Jun., died on, or about, January 14th, 1803.”

The following are excerpts from a compilation of research on the Quaker Johnsons, created by Douglas Tucker in 1998, the review of which I believe will prove illuminating:

So far this group has barely touched on William and John Johnson and our discussions of Edward (father of Penelope) predate many of your joining the group. This also introduces the MASSIE/MASSEY family. In other words, there is much here to absorb. The task Suzanne is laying out for her group is locating as yet untapped sources which may shed more light on certain aspects of this tradition. Hopefully in the process we can move away from a history based on much “circumstantial evidence” to one filled with “real facts” from primary sources. Of course this means an open mind to changes in the traditional history; it’s an exciting time for this group. LSS]

I have been digging through my old Johnston/Johnson notes and was amazed at how much I had from sources other than Lorand Johnson (The Scottish Nation by Anderson, Thomas Histoy of Aberdeen, Scotland’s Men of Letters by the St. Andrew’s Society of Marischal College, Registry of St. Nicholas Church, Aberdeen, and several others) However, I had taken notes from four books by Lorand Johnson the earliest of which was dated 1935. I assume that was the study he completed while still in medical school. None of it seems terribly helpful towad resolution of the several issues that are on the table, namely

  • (1) the kinship of William and James Johnson of New Kent Co.,
  • (2) the origins of Edward Johnson, father of Penelope Johnson Clark and
  • (3) a definitive linkage between the Johnsons of New Kent Co. and the Johnstons of Caskieben.

My own multiple ties to the Johnsons are through Rachel Clark/Thomas Moorman, Thomas Clark Moorman/ Apharacia Hope, Susannah Johnson/Micajah Clark Moorman and Martha Bangham/Thomas Chalkley Moorman. Rachel Clark’s mother was Penelope Johnson, daughter of Edward Johnson/Elizabeth Walker. Apharacia Hope’s grandmother was Henrietta Johnson, daughter of William Johnson and Sarah Massie. Susannah Johnson and Martha Bangham both tie back to the John Johnson/Lucretia Massie line.

As I mentioned earlier, I researched the “Old Town” property in King William Co. which was passed down by immigrant James Johnson to three subsequent generations of Johnsons (John, James, James) before being sold to the Ammons. Some Johnsons from this line migrated to Greene Co., Ohio where they again named their property “Old Town” . (Other Johnson in the same line settled in Highland and Clinton Cos. Ohio.) To avoid confusion, the “Old Town” property owned by James Johnson was originally considered New Kent Co., but became part of King & Queen Co. in 1701 and King William Co. in 1704. The Old Town property was acquired by patent by James Johnson (see Nugent) and not through purchase from George Walker as reported by Lorand Johnson — although other adjacent property may have come through purchase. More on the Old Town issue, later.

(1) Possible kinship of William and John Johnson of New Kent Co.

As far as I can tell (aside from Lorand Johnson’s research), the rationale for these two being siblings is based on their shared last name, their closeness in age, the fact that they married sisters, their shared Quaker religion, and the fact that the properties they owned at a very early age were contiguous. Their properties also were close to the property of Edward Johnson who some think was related to William and John. Seems to me a fairly convincing circumstantial case for close kinship if not brotherhood..

We know, for instance, that both John and William owned their land in 1704 through the Quit Rent lists. How did they acquire their properties? They were both relatively young (still in their 20’s), yet William owned 265 acres and John owned 100 acres. Given that neither Johnson is recorded in Nugent as having received a patent, my supposition is that they probably inherited the property from their father (or possibly fathers).

Why did William have considerably more land than John? He was the older son, that’s why. Can we prove that he was the older son? Only factual evidence is that William baptised his first child three years before John baptised his first child. The fact that William died many years before John has minimal relevance given the times and general living and health conditions.

Patent records show that James Johnson, father of John and possible father of William, acquired two patents (one for 110 acres and another for 40 acres) for property in the newly opened Indian grounds in Pamunkey Neck in 1701 and 1703, respectively. (In the 40 acre patent, his listed himself as the transported person. In the 110 acre patent, he listed three strangers as the transported persons.) The acquisition of these patents fits nicely with the fact that John and William had their own properties by 1704.

By the way, my notes indicate that James Johnston had two wives and that he had four sons by first wife Margaret Alexander and one daughter by second wife Faith Leith. Records from the Aberdeen Quaker Monthly Meeting show that James married Faith Leith in 1686 and that a daughter, Elisabeth, was born 26 Dec 1688 in Aberdeen. That establishes that James and Faith could not have been in Virginia before 1689 at the very earliest. My notes also show that James Johnston married Margaret Alexander 23 NOV 1672 at St. Nicholas Church, Aberdeen and that their four surviving sons were James, William, John and Alexander (not well-documented). There is hard evidence that James was their oldest son, that he married Jean Olgivie (Burgh records of Aberdeen show that Jean Olgivie Johnston died in 1716), and that he remained in Aberdeen at least through 1716. Thus, the James Johnston who married Jean Olgilvie and remained in Aberdeen was the son of the James Johnston who settled at “Old Town” in Pamunkey Neck. (This is one of the relationships that Lorand Johnson mixed up in his first book, but corrected in his later books.)

There is circumstantial evidence that Alexander Johnson was the youngest son of James and Margaret Alexander. William and Sarah Massie Johnson’s first child is noted in St. Peter’s Parish records in 1698. John and Lucretia Massie’s first child is noted in 1702. Alexander and Mary Walker’s first child is recorded in 1708. William and John both would have been about 20 plus or minus a couple of years when their oldest child was born and Alexander could have been as old as 23. So I see no problem with the suggested birth order or the dates that have been generally associated with these Johnsons.


Virginia Historical Marker Commemorating Goose Creek Friends Meeting House; Bedford County, VA 1765

I have some notes on the Bedford County Goose Creek Meeting House but
the historic marker there pretty well sums it up. From A GUIDEBOOK TO

“Quaker Baptist Church”

A Quaker meeting was established on Goose Creek in 1757, and a meeting
house built. Fear of Indians caused most of the Quakers to move
elsewhere though some of them returned. Unsuccessful attempts were made
to reestablish the Goose Creek meeting. Before 1824, a church was
established near here, known as Difficult Creek Baptist Church. The
present Church (Quaker Baptist), built in 1898, stands near the site of
the old building.

Bedford county: Route 24, 3.0 miles east of interesection of Routes 122
and 24.

In JOHN JOHNSON Sr’s 1816 will, he identifies Judith Ballard as a daughter.

Note the following:

Josiah Bailey of Campbell County, and Susanna Ballard, daughter of Barclay and Judith Ballard, of Bedfore County, were married at Ivy Creek Meeting-house, in Bedford County, 7-15-1804.

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