|Combs, Johnson & Murrell
|Family Traditions||How Some Have Hampered , Rather than Helped|
|Major Revisions||A New Combs-Johnson-Murrell Genealogy|
|Goodspeeds||Our Earliest Published Family Histories|
|Oscar S. JOHNSON||Exerpts from his manuscript|
|1918 Query||James JOHNSON died on the Clinch?|
Research of the Combs-JOHNSON-MURRELL FAMILIES (CJM) families has been complicated by a number of factors:
Self-generating family traditions have clouded CJM Research to such an extent that, for example, when MURRELL family researchers discovered that the wife of the Rev. Thomas MURRELL of Dickson Co, Tennessee was named Elizabeth rather than Rebekah, instead of questioning whether the deeply-entrenched Goochland Co, Virginia marriage record should be discarded, Elizabeth was assumed instead to be either the middle name of, or a nickname used by, Rebekah MARTIN. (See Below)
Likewise, Mason Combs of Hawkins Co, Tennessee, has been "given" the middle name, Calmes, and the designation, Junior, even though it appears that neither documentation nor family tradition exists to support either. Mason Combs was also assigned a death date and location of prior to 01 Nov 1802, in Hawkins Co, Tennessee because Dorothy _____, his wife, and possibly his widow, recorded a Land Trust on that date. It appears, however, that no research has ever been done to determine if the Land Trust was the result of his death -- or his departure - with the land not being sold until 1807.
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(1) DELETION: The marriage of James and Rebekah MARTIN Johnson, 1766, Goochland Co, VA, and their daughters of record, Sarah and Judith JOHNSON
BASIS: No evidence has ever existed to justify the assignment of this couple as the parents of either Martin or William JOHNSON. The marriage record is meaningless if we cannot document that it is connected to our ancestry. Moreover, the lack of namesakes for both Rebekah MARTIN and her daughter of record, Judith, has always a negative indicator.
(2) CHANGE: Both the birthdate and the birth location of William JOHNSON, son of James and brother to Martin, have been discarded.
BASIS: Deletion of the Goochland Co, VA marriage record.
(3) DELETION: All entries in regard to Capt. James JOHNSON of the James JOHNSON Company, 6th VA Line, Lunenburg Co, VA, as father to William and Martin JOHNSON.
BASIS: (1) Capt. James JOHNSON of Lunenburg Co, VA, did not die in 1777, but in 1787; (2) He was killed by neither Indians nor Tories; (3) He does not appear to have had legitmate sons by the given name of either Martin or William; and (4) his wife's name was Susannah, another non-traditional given name in the Combs-Johnson families.
(a) 6th Regimental Continental Virginia Line, Captain James JOHNSON Company, James JOHNSON, commissioned captain 16 Feb, 1777, promoted to major 1 Apr 1777, resigned 15 Aug 1777. (Historical Register of Virginians in the Revolutionary War, G. Wathmey)
(b) (Lunenburg Co, VA Court records 1787-1789) JOHNSON, James, Maj., 6th VA Regt., gave depostion that Sgt. Hugh WALLACE belonged to the 6th VA Regt. and that he was severeley wounded in 1779. Certificate authorizing [Virginia state] pension for Hugh WALLACE, abt 40 years of age, approved by the executive 20 Jul 1787. Rect. to Joseph WINN, signed by Hugh WALLACE and wit by J. PATTESON. Req. for payment to Henry LOCKHEAD & Co. (VA RW State Pensions, VA Gen So., 1980, SHP, 1982, p. 128.)
(c) (Lunenburg WB3:295) Dated: 11 Oct 1787. Prvd: [date not given] Lunenburg Co, Virginia will of James JOHNSON names wife, Susannah JOHNSON; sons, Jesse, James and Edmond; daughters: Judith Degarnette, Lucy JOHNSON; and Nancy LONGMORE (relationship not stated.) Executors: Jesse JOHNSON, Bartley SMITHSON, Charles SMITHSON, Richard JONES. Witnesses: John FOSTER, Thomas SHELBURNE, John SHELBURNE. (Lunenburg Will Abstracts, 1746-1825, Bell)
(d) Additional records, including muster rolls, document that the James JOHNSON Company of the 6th VA Line did not serve on the Frontier, but in the north, including a winter at Valley Forge which killed most members of the company, and maimed and decimated most of the remainder, resulting in life-long ill health for most survivors, including their Captain who supposedly never fully recovered from the after-effects of starvation and exposure in 1777. (See also DAR Application No. 748495, not included herein.)
The above records strongly negate any possibility that the above Capt. James JOHNSON (1722-1787) was the legitimate father of William or Martin JOHNSON since (a) neither were named in his will and (b) both the Capt. James and his son, James, were still alive at the time the Capt. James JOHNSON's will was signed in 1787. Multiple-source, long-standing Johnson family traditions uniformly agree that James JOHNSON, father of William and Martin, died when Martin, born 1776-1780, was young, possibly even an infant (See Goodspeeds' History of NW Arkansas; the Madison County biographies of Thomas M. JOHNSON and Col. James M. JOHNSON. Also, newly-discovered, early family traditions further confirm an early death for James JOHNSON (See 1918 Query).
(4) CHANGE: The birth year and location of Martin JOHNSON, son of James, has been modified to: Born 1776-1780, VA or NC.
BASIS: If the above James JOHNSON was not the father of Martin JOHNSON, then no evidence exists to place either Martin JOHNSON's birth or his father's death in (a) Lunenburg Co, Virginia; or (b) in the month of August (it appearing that both Lunenburg Co, VA and the month, August, were arbitrarily selected by earlier researchers based solely on the residence and the resignation date of the above Capt. James JOHNSON of Lunenburg).
(5) DELETION: The possible marriage of William JOHNSON, son of James, to Sarah FORBISH, and his death in Rhea Co, Tennessee, as advanced by researcher, the late Ruby Johnson Wiedeman in her book, The Johnson Family, 1743-1978.
JOHNSON, a well-known farmer of the First District, was born
in Rhea County, Tenn., May 27 1818. He is the youngest of nine
children (four now living) born to William and Sarah (FORBISH)
Johnson. The father was born in Virginia in 1766. He was a
tinner by trade. About 1803 or 1804, he immigrated to Rhea County,
Tenn., being the seventh man who settled there. He purchased land
and became a succesful farmer. His death occurred about 1842.
The mother was born about 1769 on New River, S. C., and died in
Rhea County about 1845. For forty-eight years she was a devout
member of the Primitive Baptist Church to which her husband belonged
for fifty-four years. The paternal grandfather, a native of Ireland,
who settled in Virginia [unnamed]." (History of TN, 20 East
TN Counties, Goodspeed Publishing, 1787, SHP reprint, Easley,
SC, 1991 (excerpted))
While it is possible that the above William JOHNSON may have been the son of James and Rebekah MARTIN Johnson of Goochland Co, VA (given his birth year of 1766), that question should be left to his descendants. For William JOHNSON of Rhea County, Tennessee to be the father of our William JOHNSON who fathered James M. JOHNSON, b 25 Dec 1806, GA, he would have had to name two living sons, James. Although it is true that children's given names are occasionally repeated within the same family, it is almost always as a result of the death of the first child. Moreover, a New-Old [sic] Family Tradition has been discovered that indicates it is possible that William JOHNSON, brother of Martin JOHNSON, may have married a Tisha Combs (See 1918 Query).
IMPORTANT: A number of additional research updates to the family of William and Martin JOHNSON of Hawkins & Warren Cos, Tennessee and Madison Co, Arkansas, are in the process of being posted. These will include, but not be limited to, providing our sources and documentation for having tentatively:
(1) Changed William JOHNSON'S birth to 1774-1778; added Tisha Combs, b ca 1780 in SC, as his wife; and added Madison Co, Arkansas after 1850, as probable death locations for both.
(2) Added Elizabeth JOHNSON Mitchell, b 1797, as a new and eldest daughter of Martin and Sarah Combs Johnson.
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Research NOTE: Oscar S. JOHNSON, born 26 Jun 1874, Drakes Creek, Madison County, Arkansas, died 2 Apr 1969, Madison County, Arkansas, was the son of Noah and Charity DRAKE Johnson. Oscar's grandfather, Martin Johnson, Jr., lived on a nearby farm in Richland township. Madison County, Arkansas from the time of Oscar's birth until his death in 1797 when Oscar was almost 24 years old. Likewise, a number of his great-aunts and great-uncles lived nearby. Prior to his death, Oscar Johnson dictated both Johnson and Drake Family Histories, and his niece, Virginia JOHNSON Berry, of Huntsville, Arkansas, stated in Dec 1995 that Oscar's mind was clear right up until his death, and that he was widely known for having a remarkable memory. Newspaper reporter Bob Edmiston of Springdale, Arkansas, stated in Aug 1995 that he had interviewed Oscar S. Johnson before his death for a feature article for the Madison Record, that he appeared both physically and mentally alert, and that the only difficulty during the interview was Mr. Johnson's deafness. He stated that during the interview, Mr. Johnson held a typewritten manuscript that appeared to be about 30 pages in length, but never referred to it, instead depending entirely on his memory. In October of 1996, Wilma Jean HAYES Lawrence obtained and made available a copy of the original typewritten Oscar S. Johnson manuscript from a family member. It is 34 pages in length. The following is an exact transcription of relevant excerpts from the manuscript. A full transcription will be provided shortly, but in the interest of time, it was thought better to include a partial copy than none. As soon as the transcription is complete, a text file will be made available to researchers. NOTE: Numerous errors exist in the manuscript, and will be addressed later; however, it is nevertheless invaluable in that it offers new areas to explore, as well as what may be new and/or clarifying information. ALSO NOTE: The manuscript has been typed exactly, including spelling errors, etc.; however, minimal data has been added in italics for purposes of clarification, and/or to indicate where additional material has not yet been transcribed.
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.
William and Martin grew to man's Estate, married and each had Families, Which will be given in the Family Tree later on. During the war of 1812, They volunteered their Services in the Great Lake Campaign. They were honorably Discharged, Returned Home And Resumed Their normal lives until the Great Exodus to Arkansas of the Johnson, Drake, counts and Families in 1832.
Martin and William were given land Grants in Lieu of cash payments. Martin laid his land Grant of 640 acres near New London, Ohio. If he ever attempted to improve or dispose of it, none of my older folks knew. Presumably it was sold for taxes.
In the meantime, Reverend Murrel's labor in the Ministry called him from place to place. Finally, He and his Wife located in the North Carolina.
Communication by mail compared to today was out of the question, so was travelling by train. IT is my understanding that the Johnson Family in Tennessee lost contact entirely. The Murrel's were childless.
Martin Johnson Senior's Family
Sarah Coombs Johnson
William (Billy) Johnson
(They had no children)
Uncle Billy was serving as Sheriff of Warren County, Tennessee in 1832 and for a number of years following. He did not move to Arkansas until 1868.
This Family Located in Central East Missouri and nothing much is known of them. The farm on which they located was heavily timbered and their residence was destroyed by a forest fire. One member of the Family who was sick in bed was burned to death.
(Pleasant M. Johnson was elected the first sheriff of Madison County in 1836 and served Eight Two year terms)
Uncle Pleze's sons (like everyone who was
old enough to attempt making the trip, had the "Fever")
urged their Father to outfit them with a caravan. At first he
flatly refused, But they were so insistant that he finally agreed.
About the time their Father had everything ready, THE boys changed
their minds and said they would not go, This so enraged him, he
drove them to go. Caravans were passing almost daily and they
joined an outfit supposedly from Boone County, Arkansas. The boy's
outfit consisted of cattle, horses, wagons and other material
worth several thousand dollars.
Everything went along fine until the Caravan was well on its way to California. Suddently, after pitching camp for the night, a general uprising and a fight broke out. Abe was killed and Jerry ran out of the camp. The boy's part of the Caravan was driven off. Jerry was a full year making his way back to Arkansas to report to his father.
Brooding over the affair and blaming himself for it, his mind became unblanced, He built a cabin on the head waters of Lollar's Creek and lived the life of a hermit for the blaance of his days.
Thus, endeth a Chapter of sadness.
|William Counts||A Mrs. Counts Fritts|
|Matin [sic] Counts||Mrs. Billy King|
|Henry Counts||Mrs. James McDonald|
|Mrs. Phelin Hash||Mrs. John Clark|
CH: Additional re descendants to be entered
|James Jr.||Mrs. Y. J. Baird|
|Jacob||Mrs. Sam Phillips|
|Jack||Mrs. Martin Fritts|
|Robert||(I am not acquainted with these marriages.)|
NOTE: Additional data re descendants to be entered here
Jack Johnson and Robert Johnson moved to Texas at an early date. I know nothing about their families.
NOTE: Additional stories and data re descendants to be entered
The Family of
Martin Johnson Jr.
Lydia Hock Johnson
NOTE: Additional data re descendants to be entered
Nancy Johnson Drake Family
|Pleasant M.||Mrs. Wiley B. Davis|
NOTE: Additional data re descendants to be entered
First Marriage of James Johnson
A Mrs. Boyd Johnson
|Pleasant M. Jr.||Robin|
|John Jr.||Nancy Johnson|
|Martin Jr.||Lauretta Johnson|
|John (Uncle Jack)||Annie|
NOTE: Additional data re descendants yet to be entered
Their (Martin and Sarah COOMBS Johnson) Son's Marriage
Richard (Dick) Johnson
Mrs. McMurray Johnson
|John (Little Jack)|
*(Tommie went to California during the Gold Rush in 1849 following
the war between the states). The Family heard from him, but lost
NOTE: Additional data re descendants to be entered
|Thomas||Mrs. Jacob Counts|
NOTE: Additional data re descendants to be entered
(This Concludes The Johnson Family Tree Report. From James
Johnson 1748 to the 4th and 5th Generations).
/s/ Oscar S. Johnson
May 20, 1962
written from memory
Oscar S. Johnson
NOTE: The Johnson Family Tree Report apparently originally concluded here, but in fact, the manuscript continues to include the William JOHNSON family as follows:
1748 The James Johnson Family Head
Rebecca Martin Johnson
|Mrs. Joshua Boren|
|Britt||Mrs. Frank Lollar|
The Ella Johnson Gage Family
|Nicholas||Lisha Gage Lewis|
|Joshua||Mrs. Alex Foster|
NOTE: The above is p 22 of the manuscript and the only
page devoted to William Johnson's family. Pages 23 & 24 list
the names and units of grandsons and grandsons-in-law of William
and Martin Johnson who served in the Civil War, as well as some
World War I and II descendants. Pages 25-28 are termed 'historical'
and include general history plus Oscar's story of the Johnsons'
move to Arkansas, and life in Arkansas thereafter. Page 28 ends
Oscar S. Johnson
June 26, 1962
Note that this was apparently the occasion of his 88th birthday.
Note: Pages 30-34 is continuing 'historical,' primarily general in nature. Page 34 is unsigned.
NOTE: It is our intention to continue adding to these pages the various documentation and family traditions we already have as quickly as possible, and to add more as we discover them during the course of this research. We should point out at this time, however, that it appears that Oscar S. JOHNSON was told of the finding of the marriage record in Goochland VA and of the Capt. James JOHNSON of Lunenburg by earlier researchers rather than from family stories passed down through the generations. We know that at least one early researcher had discovered the Lunenburg Co, VA Capt. James JOHNSON as early as 1909 (source material to be entered shortly) and believe it likely that research may have begun as early as the 1860s or 1870s by Col. James M. JOHNSON, great-grandson, of our James JOHNSON, possibly while he was in Washington, D. C. following his election to the House of Representatives during Reconstruction. NOTICE: Upon completion and posting of a full transcription of Oscar S. Johnson's Johnson Family History, we will next post an annotated copy.
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SOURCE: "Tennessee Historical Magazine", Vol.
4, No. 3, Sept. 1918, publ. by the Tennessee Historical Society:
"The following historical statement has been sent to us with the appended inquiry:
"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. A great grandson of this Major Johnson was named Ichabod MITCHELL (b. Sept. 27, 1822; d. Jan. 18, 1917, at Combstown, Tenn.). Two of the JOHNSON family, Martin and William, married Sallie and Tisha Combs.
"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.
"Perhaps members of our society in the eastern part of the State can find for us the desired data."
Researcher Note: One James T. CLARK was probably the author of the above query, and the same individual as the J. T. CLARK of McMinnville [Warren Co], Tennessee who corresponded with the U. S. Pension Office a number of times in regard to the Revolutionary War records of his ancestors, James JOHNSON and Mark MITCHELL during the period of ca 1908-1910.
James T. CLARK, b ca 1850 in Van Buren Co, Tennessee, was the son of John C. and Lydia MITCHELL Clark. The ancestry of John C. CLARK has not yet been determined, but Lydia MITCHELL, b 18 Dec 1820 in Warren Co, Tennessee, was the daughter of John and Elizabeth JOHNSON Mitchell. Elizabeth JOHNSON, b ca 1797, Tennessee, was, according to MITCHELL Family Tradition, the daughter of a Martin JOHNSON. Her husband, John MITCHELL, b 1795, Tennessee, was the son of Mark and Mary RYDER Mitchell. Mark MITCHELL, b 17 Jan 1754, d 18 Apr 1838 in Warren Co, TN, married (2) an Anna HAWK, who preceded him in death. One Ichabod MITCHELL, b 27 Sep 1823, was the son of John and Elizabeth JOHNSON Mitchell, and thus the uncle of the above James T. CLARK. William M. JOHNSON, b ca 1800, Hawkins Co, Tennessee, son of Martin and Sarah Combs Johnson, was a co-guardian of Mark MITCHELL prior to his death (nb: Mitchell was apparently mentally impaired for a number of years prior to 1838). If Elizabeth JOHNSON Mitchell was the daughter of Martin and Sarah Combs Johnson, then she would have been William M. JOHNSON's sister. Much additional research has been completed on the MITCHELL Family, and will be posted herein as soon as possible, but an online MITCHELL researcher is very much needed.
It is possible (not fully researched) that the following JOHNSON might have been "James" or kin to same:
RW Pension Statement of James KINCAID (S16907), application dated 5 Nov 1833, Lafayette Co, MO:
"...I entered the service Of the United States under Captain John DUNKIN. At this time my father lived in a settlement called Castle's Woods on Clinch River about 25 miles north of Abingdon, Virginia, a frontier fort. Powell Valley had been settled, but the settlers had been run off by the Indians. A good many of them could not bring their plunder with them, but had hid it. John DUNKIN was ordered out with a company of militia to guard the people who had left their property behind them, to collect it together and bring it into the settlements. I was one of DUNKIN'S company. At this time Captain Joseph MARTIN was stationed at Rye Cove Fort on Clinch River in order to guard the frontiers of Virginia. He kept two spys, who were brothers, to wit: John and James BUNCH.
"When we got into the valley we met with these spys. They they returned with us down to what was called MARTIN'S Station in said valley, but we found no one there - they had all fled. One of the settlers that was with us, who had fled from the valley by the name of DAVIS. Before the people fled he had lived at OWEN's Station, ten miles below MARTIN's Station. We took up at MARTIN's Station. Sometime after, DAVIS petitioned DUNKIN for a few men to go down to OWEN'S Station with him to collect his plunder. Five men was granted him, one of whom was James BUNCH. They went to the Station and collected the plunder accordingly, as I understood, and returning back to the camp the Indians waylaid the path and fired upon them and wounded BUNCH, and killed a man by the name of BOWMAN at the place, and wounded another by the name of JOHNSON, so BUNCH related, for he returned with him a piece, but he never got in. Three of them got in that night, two of whom was BUNCH and DAVIS.
"The next day DUNKIN went down with all his force, save a few left to guard the wounded. This affiant was one that went down. We went to the place and there found BOWMAN dead. DAVIS took us to a tree where he said and [sic] Indian stood whom he shot at. We went to the place and found a great deal of blood. We then took his trail and followed them, but not a great ways, as it appeared they had scattered. We returned back and buried the dead, thence to camp. This circumstance broke up the expedition.
"Bunch grew very sick and we had to take him to his company at the Rye Cove. We were then all dismissed and returned home. As well as I can recollect, this took place in 1776. I do not recollect the particular month, except that it was in warm weather.." (NARA, S16907, Kincaid, James)
As noted above, we are actively seeking Family Traditions as well as standard documentation such as court records. In addition, we are hopeful that old letters and bible records can also be uncovered. All early documents will be posted herein. If you know of additional materials, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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