Friday, December 16, 2011

Keeping Up with the Johnsons

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The area of Crockett County, TN where Charles Randell Johnson and
then many of is children were born, farmed and died.
Inset is an illustration of where many of them are buried.
The upper right corner is the town of Alamo, TN.

It took a few months but I finally got as much information as I could gather about the Johnson family uploaded to Charles Randall Johnson was the father of Nancy Mariana Johnson who was the mother of Bob Castellaw who was the father of Elizabeth Williams who was the mother of my father, Bob Williams.

Charles, who was born in North Carolina, was living in Haywood County by 1830. He and his wife, Margaret Louisa Wood lived all their married lives in the Johnson Grove area near Alamo, TN. Many of their children stayed there in the area and, like Charles and Margaret, are buried there. During the holidays I plan on visiting the area to see what I can discover.

Next, I would like to figure out who Charles Randall Johnson's parents were.

I have a couple of options for tracking down that information. The first possibility is that one of Charles Johnson's ancestors has his Bible or any information he wrote down himself.

He was quite wealthy, had a large amount of land with lots of slaves, donated property for the local church and, in the census of 1860, a school teacher from Pennsylvania named William Newland was living in his household. To me, that indicates he valued education enough to provide housing for someone brought to the area to teach for a while.

It also seems likely Charles could read and write and could possibly have had a family Bible in which he would record the births, deaths and marriages of family members.

Charles, a widower for a couple of years at the time, died on April 14, 1864 at the age of 61. Most likely it was sudden since he did not leave a will. However, the court's division of his property left no doubt about which of his children were living at the time and could possibly have been given his Bible or other papers that might have a clue as to his parentage.

It's a long shot but perhaps someone still living in the Haywood or Crockett County areas knows one of his ancestors?

If you know any of these people or their descendants, please let me know.

The living children of Charles Johnson at the time of his death were:
Anna Elizabeth Johnson
She was the oldest daughter so she is the most likely candidate for having been given the Bible. She married Leonidas Davis Whitaker and they farmed the land they inherited in the Johnson Grove area. Anna died in 1883 at the age of 53 while David died in 1889 at the age of 62.

The children of David and Anna Johnson Whitaker were Mary Louis, William, Charles R. Sarah C. Columbus Sidney (pictured below), and Leona Adaline. David and Anna are burried in the Castellaw Cemetery in Johnson Grove near Alamo, TN in Crockett County.

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Photo from "roosterphr"

The Columbus Sidney Whitaker Family

l to r: C.C. (Charles) on horse, Marvin beside horse,
Earl with no shoes, Viola Green Whitaker, Winnette in the stroller,
Columbus Sidney Whitaker, Altie and Claude
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Photo from "roosterphr"

Charles Sidney Whitaker
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Photo from "roosterphr"

Charles Sidney Whitaker and probably a grand daughter, Carolyn
David and Anna's son, Columbus Sidney Whitaker, was born Sept. 11, 1860 in Johnson Grove and died Sept 11, 1941 in Gates, TN. I ran across these photos on the page of "roosterphr" on They were so great, I couldn't resist reposting them here.
William R. Johnson
He was Charles' oldest son and was born Dec, 10, 1834 in Johnson Grove. He married Mariah whose last name is unknown. He died June 23, 1887 at the age of 52 in Johnson Grove. Although they seem to have had no children, when his father Charles died, William became the legal guardian of his two youngest siblings, Zach and Louisa.

Margaret Wood Johnson
Margaret was born Feb 1, 1836. Margaret married John Edward Castellaw who was one of the sons of my third great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Sr., and his first wife, Mary Elisa.

They were among the original settlers of Haywood County who came from Bertie Co., NC. After his first wife died, T.J. married Mary Cole. Their first son together was my second great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. People called him “Tom.” Therefore, John Edward and Tom were half brothers.

Before she died 18 Apr 1879 at age 34, Margaret Johnson had four children with John Edward Castellaw: Mary L., William R., Dicy A. and Joseph Dawson (Joseph's three daughters: Mary, Emily and Josephine each married a different son of Henry Day Brantley, my second great grandfather).

After Margaret died, John, who was 37, then married 19-year-old Mattie Coleman and together, they had four children: James Ebenezer, John Edward, Benjamin Wesley and Margaret. Mattie then died June 12, 1886 at age 35.

On Oct. 25, 1888 55-year-old John married 44-year-old Nancy Mariana Johnson, (my second great grandmother) the widow of his half brother Tom Castellaw and the sister of his first wife, Margaret Woods Johnson. That gave Nancy seven step-children to add to the nine children she had with Tom Castellaw. In addition to being step-siblings, the children were also cousins.

Dicey Johnson
Dicey was born in 1838 and appears in the household of Charles Johnson in 1850 but does not appear in his will in 1864 not in any of the later documents regarding the settlement of his estate so its likely she passed away before her father.

Sallie H. Johnson
She was born in 1838 and married John B. Sanders on November 15, 1862. I have no other info on them.

Charles Randall Johnson Jr.
Born in 1840 in Johnson Grove, Charles married Ida Elizabeth McAlpin on December 25, 1895. I have no other info on them.

Adaline Johnson
She was born 1843 and married Milton B. Midyett. Their children were Zachariah M., Erasmus A., and John E. I have no other info on them.

Nancy Mariana Johnson
She was my second great grandmother. She first married Thomas "Tom" Castellaw then after his death, married his half-brother, John Edward Castellaw. You can read all about her on the Johnson family page and all about her husbands on the Castellaw family page.

Zachariah T. Johnson and Louisa Johnson
The youngest two children in the family, he was born in 1849 and she in 1851. When they were 15 and 13, their father died leaving their oldest brother, Williams R. Johnson, as their guardian.
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Charles R. Johnson's record of payment
from the Southern Claims Commission
The other option for tracking down more information about Charles is through the applications he filled out as part of the Southern Claims Commission process. I posted more info about Charles and that application on a recent blog entry.

Several people who are knowledgeable about genealogy and Civil War records have reviewed the information and assured me that, since he was in fact given a payment, there is likely a folder of information sitting a filing cabinet in the National Archives in Washington. I have applied for the information, now I'll just have to wait and see if they find anything. I am not very good at waiting.

If anything is found, it could certainly add a lot of information to what we know about the Johnson family of Crockett Co., TN.

Visit my Blog Home Page or the Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.

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