Last Updated 22 Dec 1996
1. Elizabeth, wife of James JOHNSON and the Rev. Thomas MURRELL, Sr., was born between 1740 and 1750, possibly in Maryland. She resided between 1785 and 1806 on Big Creek, Hawkins Co, Tennessee. She resided between 1806 and 1840 in Dickson Co, Tennessee. She died after 1840, probably in Dickson Co, Tennessee.
Elizabeth married James JOHNSON before 1776. James JOHNSON
died between 1776 and 1785, possibly on the Clinch River,
in then-Old Fincastle Co, Virginia. He was probably killed
by Indians, but possibly by Tories. Elizabeth and James
JOHNSON had the following children:
+2 i. William JOHNSON P31 was born 1774-1778, location unknown. He married Tisha Combs (ancestry unknown). He may have died after 1850 in Madison Co, Arkansas.
+3 ii. Martin JOHNSON Sr. P36 was born 1776-1780, possibly on the Clinch River of then-Old Fincastle Co, Virginia. He died 19 Jan 1852, Madison Co, Arkansas. He married (1) probably in Hawkins Co, Tennessee about 1797, Sarah Combs (ancestry unknown), born 1779, North Carolina, possibly that part which is now East Tennessee, died 1828, Warren Co, Tennessee. He married (2) Mary "Polly" WARREN, b 1774-1780, in Virginia or North Carolina, died after 1860, probably in Madison Co, Arkansas, the widow of Jacob HAWK, who died ca 1828-1829 in Warren Co, Tennessee.
the Rev. Thomas MURRELL Sr. before 1786. Rev. Thomas
MURRELL Sr. was born between 1740 and 1750, probably in Virginia.
He was probably one of the two Thomas MURRELLS who resided
in Henry Co, Virginia ca 1778-1780. He resided between
1785 and 1806 on Big Creek, Holston River, Hawkins Co, Tennessee.
He resided between 1806 and 1826 in Dickson Co, Tennessee.
He died about 1826 in Dickson Co, Tennessee. Elizabeth
and the Rev. Thomas MURRELL Sr. had the following children:
4 i. Thomas MURRELL Jr. was born in 1785, probably on Big Creek in present-day Hawkins Co, Tennessee. He married Ella COEN. He died in Feb 1866 in Dickson Co, Tennessee (Incomplete entry -- additional data to be added shortly).
+5 ii. Richard MURRELL P45 Richard MURRELL was born in 1786, probably on Big Creek in present-day Hawkins Co, Tennessee. He married (spouse's name unknown ). He died Dec 1840 in Dickson Co, Tennessee.
Back in the 1880s, Goodspeeds' Publishing Company sent out salesmen/interviewers across several Southern states, including both Tennessee and Arkansas, for the purpose of selling local histories that included biographies of local individuals and their families. The Goodspeeds' Histories are often called "vanity books" because the salesmen/interviewers would pre-sell the books to individuals whom they would interview for the purpose of including their biographies. Unfortunately, some interviewees exaggerated, hid and/or neglected to mention some facets of their ancestry or to name all members of their families. Added to that are errors made by the interviewers and the typesetters -- all of which tends to place 'facts' garnered from these histories more in the category of family lore than documentation. Nevertheless, the Goodspeeds' Histories are a valuable tool for Southern researchers, particularly since so many Southern courthouses were burnt during the Civil War, and also because they do also contain histories of the counties and communities in addition to the individual biographies.
SOURCE: Dickson County History of Tennessee, From
the Earliest Time to the Present; Together with an Historical
and a Biographical Sketch of From Twenty-Five to Thirty Counties
of East Tennessee, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original
Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc., Illustrated, Chicago
and Nashville: The Goodspeed Publishing Co., 1887, Reprinted 1990
by Mountain Press, Signal Mountain, TN.
"Thomas J. MURRELL was born in Dickson County, Tenn., January 11, 1825, the son of Thomas and Ella (COEN) Murrell, both of whom were natives of East Tennessee. The father was trustee of Dickson County for seventeen years. Our subject was first engaged in farming, which occupation he followed for twelve years, when he engaged in merchandising at Dickson, Tenn. He was married, December 28, 1845, to Mary Eliza AUSTIN, who was also born in Tennessee. Their marriage has been blessed by ten children: Elenora, Mary Elizabeth (deceased), James Samuel, Mary Franklin, George R. (deceased), William M., Lucinda E. (deceased) and Nannie Beulah. Our subject is a successful merchant and an influential citizen." (Goodspeeds, Mountain Press, pp. 46-47)
"William M. MURRELL was born in Dickson County, Tenn., October 3, 1862, being one of ten children born to Thomas J. and Mary Eliza (AUSTIN) Murrell. Our subject was raised on the farm until his fifteenth year, at which time he entered school at Dickson, taking a five year course. After leaving school he returned to the farm and remained for two years. He then engaged in merchandising at Dickson, which business he successfully follows. He was married, October 18, 1885, to Mattie H. ANDREWS, who was born in Hickman County, Tenn. Politically he is a Democrat." (Goodspeeds, Mountain Press, pp. 46-47)
(1) Goodspeeds History of NW AR, biography of Thomas M. JOHNSON: "... born in Warren County, Tenn., September 9, 1811, and is a son of Martin and Sarah (Combs) Johnson, natives of North Carolina, and afterward residents of Hawkins county, Tenn. The father was born in 1777, and died in Arkansas in February, 1851. His father had been killed by the Indians, and he was taken to Tennessee by his mother, who afterward returned to North Carolina. Martin JOHNSON was a farmer all his life, and in 1832 located in Madison County, Ark. He was a soldier in the War of 1812. The mother was born in Hawkins county, Tenn., in 1779, and died in Warren County of that State in 1829. Her husband afterward married Mrs. Polly HAWK. His first marriage was blessed in the birth of thirteen children..."
Researcher Note: TMJ bio indicates that both parents were born in NC, then conflicts itself when indicates mother born in Hawkins Co, TN.
(2) Goodspeeds History of NW AR, biography of Col. James M. JOHNSON: "...is the son of James M. and Elizabeth (DUNIGAN) Johnson, grandson of William JOHNSON and great-grandson of James JOHNSON, who was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and he was killed by the Tories while on a furlough. Evidence goes to show that he was a commissioned officer of some note. William JOHNSON was a soldier in the War of 1812, was under Gen. JACKSON, and participated in most of the principle battles..."
Researcher Notes: Thomas M. JOHNSON states that his grandfather was killed by Indians, whereas Col. James M. JOHNSON states that his great-grandfather was killed by Tories. At this point in our research, no position can be taken, but it should be noted that (a) Thomas M. Johnson was a generation older than Col. James M.JOHNSON, and thus closer to the events that took place; (b) Col. James M. JOHNSON's continued use of his title so many years after the CW ended may indicate that it was important to him that his ancestor have been not only a revolutionary, but an officer; and (c) that it appears highly unlikely that, IF William and Martin JOHNSON were the sons of a Revolutionary War Officer, that neither they nor their mother appear to have applied for Bounty Land on his behalf so far as we have been able to determine thus far.
(3) Goodspeeds History of NW AR, biography of Richmond JOHNSON: "...born September 7, 1836, and is a son of Martin and Lydia (HAWK) Johnson. The father was born in Warren County, Tenn., June 5, 1812, and his father, Martin JOHNSON, was a native of that State, did active service in the War of 1812, and died in Madison county in 1850, having located here in 1832..."
Researcher Notes: Another conflict appears here in that Thomas M. JOHNSON (1 above) stated that his father, Martin JOHNSON, was born in NC, whereas Richmond JOHNSON (3), states that his grandfather was born in TN [nb: Presumably meaning that part of NC or VA that later became TN].
(4) 1918 Query Tennessee Historical Magazine: "..."During the Revolutionary War, about 1777, Major James JOHNSON was killed by Tories while bathing in the Clinch River in Hawkins Co., Tenn. His wife was ill in bed with a young baby and saw through the window the killing of her husband. Later, after her husband's death, she married Thomas MURRILL [sic] of Hawkins County... It is particularly desired, if possible, to ascertain the exact date and location of this tragedy. Tradition says that Major JOHNSON had gone home on a furlough and had resigned or was about to resign his commission at the time of his death."
Researcher Notes: It is possible that the above is a clue to the solution of Indians vs. Tories. The author of the query, probably one James T. CLARK, a great-great grandson of James JOHNSON, had previously corresponded with the Bureau of Pensions, and may have previously read both Thomas M. JOHNSON's and Col. James M. JOHNSON's Goodspeeds' biographies. He also apparently had heard oral family histories whose perspective would have been somewhat different since his family had not apparently ever left middle Tennessee. It appears, however, that he and possibly Col. James M. JOHNSON as well may have discovered part of the military record of Capt. James JOHNSON of Lunenburg Co, Virginia, and 'adopted' it (See Major Revisions). Nevertheless, his inclusion of the location, Clinch River, is of interest due to the death of a JOHNSON man on the Clinch River in 1776, the facts of which would probably have been unknown to James T. Clark (Additional data re James T. Clark and his ancestry will be posted shortly).
(5) According to the RW Pension Statement of James KINCAID, one JOHNSON was killed by Indians in Powells Valley on the Clinch River south of Martin's Fort at Rye Cove in the late summer or early fall of 1776.
Researcher Notes: This JOHNSON might have been a local resident, a militia man in the company of Capt. John DUNCAN, or even a Pittsylvania Co, Virginian as many were in the area since Martin's Fort was that of Capt. Joseph MARTIN of Pittsylvania, later the Indian Agent in residence on Long Island of the Holston, Sullivan Co, TN [add'l to be entered]. The area in question would have been considered Virginia at the time, but may have been on today's Virginia-Tennessee border [add'l to be entered]. Although it appears that his death occurred in 1776, we have at present a birth year range of 1776-1780 for Martin JOHNSON and thus, this JOHNSON death should not be excluded without further research.
(6) Oscar S. JOHNSON Family History: "James Johnson, A Native of Virginia, Born 1748, Married Rebecca Martin February 27, 1774. He was A soldier in the Revolutionary War and was appointed Major in 1776. He was killed by a Band of English Tories, while on a furlough visiting his Family. Two Sons were born to this union, William in 1775 and Martin in 1776. Soon after the death of her Husband, James Johnson, Rebecca met and Married The Reverend Thomas Murrel, A Baptist Minister. Following their Marriage, The Family moved from Virginia to Tennessee (Middle Tennessee) near McMinnville in Warren County. Reverend Murrel reared William and Martin almost from infancy, providing for their every need.Their training, Education etc. As if they were his own children. In after years, they spoke of him in the very highest terms as being a fine Christian Gentleman."
Researcher Notes: Oscar S. JOHNSON's statement that William was born in 1775 and Martin in 1776 is of interest in that (a) it further emphasizes the fact that the Goochland marriage record of James and Rebekah MARTIN Johnson was a record of convenience, with no basis for actual fact (See Major Revisions); and (b) he places Martin JOHNSON's birth in 1776 rather than 1777, showing, as do other records that follow, that a probable 4 year variance existed in reference to the birth years of the two men. Again, it appears that the later-discovered military record of James JOHNSON of Lunenburg was merged with the earlier family traditions; to wit: both James T. CLARK and Oscar S. JOHNSON appear to be of the opinion that the death of James JOHNSON occurred near his home (and family) as vs. on a battlefield. Bands of English Tories do not, however, appear to have been on the rampage on the Clinch River that early (add'l to be added later). Also, both men confirm that the widow JOHNSON married a Thomas MURRELL, and in the instance of Oscar S. JOHNSON, that he was a Baptist Minister. Note that Oscar makes no mention of east Tennessee (Hawkins or Sullivan Cos), but does specify that they went to Tennessee from Virginia, appearing to be in conflict with Thomas M. JOHNSON's biography which makes no mention of Virginia, but refers to North Carolina.
(7) Further corroboration of the relationship of William to Martin JOHNSON, and of William's grandson, Col. James M. JOHNSON to Martin JOHNSON'S son, Thomas M. JOHNSON, can be found in the Southern Land Commission Claims [to be entered shortly], in which Thomas M. JOHNSON, in an affidavit, refers to Col. James M. Johnson as his "cousin."
(8) The 1850 Madison Co, AR Census includes the following:
Richland Twp #302 farmer $300
Martin JOHNSON 70 m VA
Mary [Polly HAWK] 70 f NC
Prairie Twp HH#49 miller $200
William JOHNSON 72 m Unk
Lishley 70 f SC
Researcher Notes: (1) Martin JOHNSON'S birth year has now been listed as 1776, 1777 and ca 1780; (2) His birth place has now been listed as NC (1x), VA (implied 1x, stated 1x); and TN (1x); (3) It has not yet been documented that the above William JOHNSON is the same as Martin JOHNSON's brother, but significant other information [to be added shortly] makes it probable and in need of further investigation.
(9) The 1880 census records of those of Martin and Sarah Combs Johnson's children who were known to still be living at that time all stated that both parents (Martin and Sarah Combs Johnson) were born in TN, with two exceptions, that of Matilda whose census record indicates parents' birthplaces unknown, and that of Elizabeth whose record has not yet been obtained. Only one known child of William and Tisha Combs Johnson was still living in 1880, Ellen JOHNSON Gage, whose parents are both listed as having been born in TN [nb: detailed records will be added].
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