Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Grave Hunting

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l to r: Louisa Johnson, Bob Williams, Scott Williams, Charles Randall Johnson

I recently wrote in this blog about my third great grandfather, Charles Randall Johnson. During the recent holiday week, my Dad and I decided to try and find the grave of our ancestor and his wife, Louisa Wood Johnson.

We headed to the Johnson Grove area of Crockett County, TN and after a lot of wrong turns and asking a couple of strangers, we finally found the cemetery. In case you ever want to visit Charles and Louisa, once you pass Tucker's Grocery on Castellaw Rd., you'll turn left at Johnson's Grove Baptist Church.

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Tuckers Gro. on Castellaw Rd.

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Johnson's Grove Baptist Church

There is actually another connection between the church and my third great grandfather. He donated the land on which the church stands.


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The deed of land to the church
from Charles Randall Johnson's
Number 711
C.R. Johnson
To Deed
Baptist Church


Haywood County Tennessee
Know all men by these ? that I Charles R. Johnson of the state and county above ? have this day ? unto the Baptist Church of ? called Johnsons Grove and worshiping in Haywood County Tennessee may right and title to one acre and nine poles of the land upon which this house of worship now stands. The title to be fully and entirely vested in through long as thoz shall use the house and land to worship as a Baptist church having the privilage to extend the house to other denominations as a matter of ? which ? in this ? beginning at a...
1851

C. R. Johnson 

Once you drive about a half mile down Johnson's Grove Rd, you'll see The Castellaw Cemetery up on a hill on the right.

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The Castellaw Cemetery

In addition to Charles and Louisa, there were lots of other family members buried in the cemetery.  

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Headstone of John Edward Castellaw

John Edward Castellaw
married two of the daughters of Charles R. Johnson. In 1854 he married Margaret Wood Johnson and then after she died, he married her sister and my second great grandmother, Nancy Mariana Johnson. Interestingly, John Edward was also a half brother to Nancy's first husband, Tom Castellaw. John Edward and Tom had the same father, Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Sr. who was my fourth great grandfather.

Once we left the Castellaw Cemetery, we headed a few streets west and found another of Charles and Louisa's children, William R. Johnson and his wife Mariah. This couple's grave sits surprisingly close to the road on the edge of a field.

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Headstones of William R. and Mariah Johnson

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Headstones of William R. and Mariah Johnson

In the past, their graves were each next to a tree but now, the trees too have died and there remains only stumps where they once were. That is likely what kept their headstones from being destroyed by farming equipment.

From what I have been able to find, it appears they did not have children of their own, but after William’s father died, he became the legal guardian of his youngest siblings, Zach and Louisa. I have not found any more information on the siblings.

As we headed back out of town, I noticed a possible cemetery in the middle of a field. Out in the country, if you spot a clump of trees that farmers have not touched, there's a good chance someone is buried there.

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I ran through what looked like to me like grass (sorry, I'm not a farmer) and pushed my way through a lot of growth and discovered...

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the solitary grave of Major J. E. Varner who was born on March 11, 1842 and died February 15, 1873. I don't know who he was but I do know he was a Mason. If you have been looking for your Varner ancestor, here he is.


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Major J. E. Varner


That ended of our grave hunting for the day and we headed to Herbie Town.

For more, visit my Blog Home Page or the Haywood County Line Genealogy Page.

2 comments:

  1. This family must have felt giving land for church important. Louisa was married first to a Mr. Wortham and they had one son, John Francis Wortham, who gave land for a Negro church which still stands in Crockett Co. and about 10 years ago the pastor was Charles Johnson.

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  2. Like your style, enjoyed the format of the page. Very nice work! Happy Hunting. Rhonda Smith, ivygeni on findagrave.com

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