Rewriting the Biography: Elizabeth SIMS in the U.S. Federal Census

Rewriting the Biography is an ongoing theme for the rough draft notes of a new/updated biography of my 5th great-grandfather James SIMS (1754-1845) of Nicholas County.

Warning: This analysis of the census records of the family of Elizabeth SIMS is a bit on the long side.

Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845), the oldest daughter of James SIMS and his first wife Phebe, was the mother of a dozen children. Eleven of these married and had a total of 86 children (possibly 88 as two are still under investigation). A lot of behind the scenes research was done and is ongoing for Elizabeth’s family group.

In the partition suit filed in the Circuit Supreme Court of Law and Chancery for Nicholas County, George H. Lee, Judge, seeking to have the court provide for the sale of the 125-acre farm near Beech Glen which was left by James SIMS when he died, the names of nine of Elizabeth’s children were given.

…also the children of Elizabeth Johnson, dec’d, formerly Elizabeth Sims: to-wit, John Johnson, Wm. Johnson, Harrison Johnson, James Johnson, James Settle and Rachel his wife; William H(?)ale [sic, Kelly] and Amy his wife, John Backhouse and Phoebe his wife; ______Montgomery and Elizabeth his wife; Sarah Hyphy, John Kincaid and Mary his wife…

I don’t have a digital copy of the original partition suit. This is an excerpt received by email from a typewritten letter with the transcription of the record which may have been a copy entered into a court ledger. Three or four instances when an error could have slipped in or an addition made by a well-meaning person. I am trying to track down the original.

Missing in this list were two daughters, Barbara and Susannah. Elizabeth’s youngest daughter Susannah predeceased her, possibly the reason for the omission.

As an aside, Sarah Hyphy is likely a transcription error and should be Sarah HUGHES, daughter of Margaret SIMS and Matthew HUGHES. Margaret was deceased and her children were named in the partition suit. I have since found another original document which includes Sarah HUGHES, a minor. This will be shared in a later post.

Let’s get on with the census analysis for the households of Elizabeth SIMS, her husband, and their children.

The 1800 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth SIMS married John JOHNSON, son of Amy NELSON and William JOHNSON Sr., in 1802. Her husband John was found on the 1802 Kanawha County Tax List, a substitute for the 1800 census.1 He was the one white male over 16 years of age on the list. As wives were not listed on these tax lists, we cannot tell if John and Elizabeth were married at the time the tax list was prepared.

The pre-1850 U.S. Federal Census Records

As only the head of household’s name is found on the pre-1850 census records, we can only assume Elizabeth SIMS was the woman found in the household of John JOHNSON in 1810, 1820, 1830, and 1840. She bore him eleven known children (and one unknown) in twenty years between 1803 and 1823 and therefore must be the older female found in his pre-1850 census records.

The 1810 U.S. Federal Census

By 1810 Elizabeth had given birth to two sons and three daughters per the tick marks on the census. In order of birth, these children were Phebe, James, Amy, John, and an unknown girl.

I find it interesting that the first two children were named after Elizabeth’s parents, James SIMS and Phebe (whose maiden name is unknown). The second daughter was named after John’s mother Amy NELSON. The second son carried the same name as his father. The third daughter reflected in this listing remains unknown.

1810 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON, seen as JOHNSTON

1810 U.S. Federal Census 2
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Sheet 207A, Line 21
Name: John Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (James & John Brown)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 3 (Phebe, Amy & unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 5
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 7

The 1820 U.S. Federal Census

By 1820 the Johnson family was found in the newly formed county of Nicholas. They did not move, the county lines changed. Elizabeth, the wife of John JOHNSON and oldest daughter of James SIMS, had ten children when the 1820 census was taken. She had given birth to two more sons and four daughters during the 1810s. The unknown daughter from 1810 had likely died before this census. John and Elizabeth named their children born in the 1810s by order of birth: William, Rachel, Mary, Barbara, Elizabeth, and Harrison. Elizabeth’s husband John was engaged in agriculture. Their oldest sons, who were 10 thru 15 years of age, were not included in the count of working persons, likely considered too young to work.

1820 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON

1820 U.S. Federal Census 3
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No. 204A, Sheet 152, Line 30
Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820
Name: John Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (William & Harrison)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 2 (James & John Brown)
Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 4 (Rachel, Mary, Barbara, Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 2 (Phebe & Amy)
Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Elizabeth)
Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 16: 10
Free White Persons – Over 25: 2
Total Free White Persons: 12
Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12

The 1830 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth gave birth to her 11th and 12th child during the 1820s. Her husband John was 53 years old and Elizabeth was 48 in 1830. They had four daughters and two sons living at home. Five of their children had married during the last decade. John and Elizabeth were living in a part of Kanawha County which would become Fayette County in 1831. [Land deeds need to be checked to determine if there was an overlap in the neighboring county of Nicholas.]

1830 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Sr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census4
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 198A & 198B, line 23
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: John Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1 (Harrison)
Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (John Brown)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Susannah)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 2 (Mary, Barbara)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 6
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 8
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 8

Phebe JOHNSON and John BACKHOUSE

Elizabeth and John’s oldest daughter Phebe, named after her maternal grandmother, had married John BACKHOUSE in 1822. They were the parents of five children born during their first eight years of marriage. The identity of one of the three sons under age 5 is unknown and he is no longer seen with the family in 1840 as will be seen further below in this post.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – John BACKHOUSE

1830 U. S. Federal Census5
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 172A & 172B, Line 18
Name: John Backhouse
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (Josiah, John & unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Polly)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Phebe)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 7

James JOHNSON and Mary Elizabeth MURPHY

James, the oldest son of Elizabeth and John married Mary Elizabeth “Betsey” MURPHY in 1829 and had not yet had children when the 1830 census was enumerated.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – James JOHNSON

1830 U.S. Federal Census6
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 198A & 198B, Line 11
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Mary Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 2

Amy JOHNSON and William KELLY

John and Elizabeth’s daughter Amy married William KELLY in 1826. They had a pair of twins, Anderson and Jackson. The fact that they were twins is not reflected in the 1830 or 1840 census but will be seen in the 1850 census.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – William KELLY

1830 U.S. Federal Census7
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 199A & 199B, Line 10
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: William Kelly
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Anderson and Jackson)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Amy)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 3
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 3

John JOHNSON Jr. And Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE

The fourth child John Jr. married Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE in 1829. John’s wife was pregnant with their first child when the census was taken in 1830. Of course, this cannot be deducted from the census but the child would be born in September of 1830.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Jr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census8
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 198A & 198B, Line 22
Name: John Johnston
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Mary Ann)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 2

Rachel JOHNSON and James SETTLE

Rachel, the sixth living child of Elizabeth and John, married James SETTLE in 1829. They were married less than six months when the census was taken and did not have children. James was the brother of Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE, wife of Rachel’s brother John JOHNSON Jr.

1830 U.S. Federal Census – James SETTLE, seen as SETLES

1830 U.S. Federal Census9
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Sheets 213A & 213B, Line 24
Enumeration Date: 1 June 1830
Name: James Setles
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Rachel)
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 2

The 1840 U.S. Federal Census

By 1840 Elizabeth and John had only two children living at home. There was a young male under the age of 5 years of age in the household. Could he have been a grandson? It is very unlikely he was a late child as Elizabeth would have been between 48 and 52 years old when he was born.

Elizabeth’s husband John and their youngest son Harrison were engaged in agriculture as 2 persons were marked. Also in the occupation columns was the heading for a learned professional engineer. This category was marked with 1 indicating one of the men in the household had likely been schooled in the profession. Harrison, the only male old enough to work, was later only seen as a farmer.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Sr.

1840 U.S. Federal Census10
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet No. 146A+B, Line 13
Name: John Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (poss. a grandson)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Harrison)
Free White Persons – Males – 60 thru 69: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Elizabeth)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
Persons Employed in Learned Professional Engineers: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Phebe JOHNSON and John BACKHOUSE

Phebe and her husband John BACKHOUSE had five sons (a sixth son born between 1826-1830 must have died before 1840) and four daughters by the time the 1840 census was taken. John and likely the two older sons, Josiah and John, were engaged in agriculture.

Originally I had dates of birth for most of the children of Phebe and John BACKHOUSE in my database. They fit well with the pre-1850 census listing. However, the 1850 census did not match. I have since removed all dates except one as they were unsourced.

In comparing of the ages of each child in the later census listings I found large discrepancies. Most of the children were aging faster than they should. Although the 1900 census with the month and year of birth cannot be considered reliable I have added these to my database for the children who were living in 1900. They were, however, not very helpful in the long run.

In the analysis for the 1840 census for this family group, the names in parenthesis are the original order I had from the dates of birth. The names in brackets are the order they were found on the 1850 census (seen below in the section for the 1850 census). The son John was born 14 September 1828 per his death record and gravemarker. This would make him 11-12 years old at the time of the 1840 census however the comparison with the 1850 shows he was only 9. Another discrepancy is the age range for Phebe. She was 37 at the time but in the 20 thru 29 range.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John BACKHOUSE

1840 U. S. Federal Census11
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 9, line 18
Name: John Backhouse
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (James) [William 0]
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Jonathan & William) [James 4 & Jonathan 6]
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 2 (Josiah & John) [John 9 & Josiah 11]
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (John) [John 39]
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Nancy & Hannah) [Nancy 2 & Hannah 3]
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Elizabeth) [Elizabeth 10]
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Polly) [Polly 13]
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Phebe) [Phebe 38]
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 20: 9
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 11
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 11

James JOHNSON and Mary Elizabeth MURPHY

James and his wife Mary were newlyweds without children in 1830. A decade later they had three sons and four daughters. One of the daughters under the age of 5 is unknown. James supported his family by farming.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James JOHNSON

1840 U.S. Federal Census12
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 146, line 1
Name: James Johnson
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (David, Henry)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Hiram)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Amy, unknown)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Mariah, Phebe)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 7
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 9
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 9

Amy JOHNSON and William KELLY

Amy and William’s family grew by only by two between 1831-1835. No children appear to have been born in the second half of the 1830s. William and their twin sons were engaged in farming.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James KELLY

1840 U.S. Federal Census13
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 145, line 30 (images 13&14 of 54)
Name: William Kelly
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 2 (Anderson and Jackson)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Mary Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1 (Amy)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 6
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6
Note: Enumerator must have marked the wrong column for the age of the wife in this household.

John JOHNSON Jr. and Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE

John and Mary Ann would have only daughters! During the 1830s five daughters were born at intervals of about two years. John supported his family by farming.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Jr.

1840 U.S. Federal Census14
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 146, line 14
Name: John Johnson Jr.
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 3 (Elizabeth, Malvine, Amanda)
Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 2 (Virginia & Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 30 thru 39: 1 (Mary Ann)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

William JOHNSON and Virginia SETTLE

William and Virginia were married in 1835 and the ages of the children born by the time the census was taken fit into the 1836-1840 time period. They had first a daughter and then two sons. William was farming at this time.

William was seen as a junior on the census as his uncle, my 4th great-grandfather William JOHNSON also lived in Fayette County.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – William JOHNSON Jr.

1840 U.S. Federal Census15
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 146, line 11
Name: William Johnson Jr.
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (James & Miles)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (William B.)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Octava)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Virginia)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Rachel JOHNSON and James SETTLE

Rachel and James had five sons during the 1830s. Rachel’s husband James was engaged in agriculture. One of the youngest males could be a son who died before 1850.

Another possibility would be that their son William whose age varies in each census (1850 age 8; 1860 age 20; 1880 age 39) may have been born in late 1840 or early 1841 and included in the count. Per Ancestry, “All questions asked were supposed to refer to that date (1st of June). The count was due within nine months, but the due date was extended by law to allow completion within eighteen months.”

1840 U.S. Federal Census – James SETTLE, seen here as SUTTLE

1840 U.S. Federal Census16
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 145, line 28
Name: James Suttle
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 3 (John, Alfred, William or unknown)
Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 2 (Henry, Abner)
Free White Persons – Males – 30 thru 39: 1 (James)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Rachel)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 5
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 7
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 7

Mary JOHNSON and John KINCAID

Mary and John likely married before 1835 and their first three children born between 1835-1840 are reflected in the census. John was a farmer.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – John KINCAID

1840 U.S. Federal Census17
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Page 146, line 7
Name: John Kincaid
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 1 (Mark)
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (John)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Catherine and Emeretta)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 (Mary)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Barbara JOHNSON and Jesse JARRETT

Barbara is the only child of Elizabeth SIMS and John JOHNSON to not live in close vicinity of her parents and siblings. Her older sister Phebe lived in Nicholas County but this was just a stone’s throw away from the rest of the JOHNSONs.

Barbara married Jesse JARRETT before 1835. They had a daughter and two sons by 1840. Both Barbara and Jesse could not read & write. (This column was blank for her siblings.) They were likely both working the farm they lived on as two persons were employed in agriculture.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Jesse JARRETT, seen here as JAROTT

1840 U.S. Federal Census18
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Page 16, line
Name: Jesse Jarott
Free White Persons – Males – Under 5: 2 (Harrison and Bentley)
Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Jesse)
Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 1 (Mary Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 20 thru 29: 1 Barbara
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 2
No. White Persons over 20 Who Cannot Read and Write: 2
Free White Persons – Under 20: 3
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
Total Free White Persons: 5
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 5

Susannah JOHNSON and Thomas CURRY

Susannah was the youngest child of Elizabeth and John. She married Thomas CURRY, a farmer, in 1839 at the age of 17. They did not yet have children.

1840 U.S. Federal Census – Thomas CURRY

1840 U.S. Federal Census19
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Sheet 145, line 24
Name: Thomas Curry
Free White Persons – Males – 20 thru 29: 1 (Thomas)
Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Susannah)
Persons Employed in Agriculture: 1
Free White Persons – Under 20: 1
Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 1
Total Free White Persons: 2
Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 2

The 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth SIMS would not live to be enumerated in the 1850 census. She died in 1845.

Elizabeth’s widower, John married Mary “Polly” CHILDRESS, widow of Benjamin “Benijah” WINDSOR in 1846. John married his sister-in-law’s sister-in-law and his nephew’s mother-in-law. [Polly and Benijah were the parents of Elizabeth “Betsy” WINDSOR who married Jonathan SIMS (son of William SIMS and Elisabeth WINDSOR) in 1836. Elisabeth, the wife of William, was the sister of Benijah.] See: The Windsor Connection

As will be seen below, all of Elizabeth’s children were married by 1850. All grandchildren were single and living with their parents except for two. Three of her sons were living next door to their father as can be seen on this page of the census.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – in order of household: Harrison JOHNSON, William JOHNSON, John JOHNSON, and John JOHNSON Jr.

John JOHNSON, the Widower of Elizabeth SIMS

Elizabeth’s widower was still a farmer in 1850 and had real estate valued at $150. In his household were his second wife Mary and a young widow with a child who likely were connected to the head of household’s wife.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Sr.

1850 U.S. Federal Census20
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 28th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366A, lines 21-24, HH #470-470
John Johnson 72 M farmer $150
Mary Johnson 62 F Virginia married within the year
Catherine Farlin 30 F widow Virginia
Mary E. McFarlin 5 F Virginia
Note: An Ancestry user added an annotation that Farlin should be McFarlin

Phebe SIMS and John BACKHOUSE

In the 1850 census, we see all of the children of Phebe and John between the ages of 23 and 10 years. The ages below were used to calculate their ages in 1840 and in brackets above in the section on the 1840 census. All of Phebe and John’s children survived from 1840 to 1850. The head of household, John was a farmer as well as his sons Josiah, John, and Jonathan. John owned real estate valued at $300.

In 1870 the spelling of the surname BACKHOUSE would change for many to BACKUS.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John BACKHOUSE

1850 U.S. Federal Census21
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
The 43rd District
Enumerated on 26 August 1850 by D. Oliver Kelly Ass’t Marshal
Sheet 371A, Line 25-35, HH #406-406
John Backhouse 48 M W Farmer $300 Pennsylvania
Pheby Backhouse 47 F W Virginia
Polly Backhouse 23 F W Virginia
Josiah Backhouse 21 M W Farmer Virginia
Elizabeth Backhouse 20 F W Virginia
John Backhouse 19 M W Farmer Virginia
Johnathan Backhouse 16 M W Farmer Virginia
James Backhouse 14 M W Virginia
Hannah Backhouse 13 F W Virginia
Nancy Backhouse 12 F W Virginia
William Backhouse 10 M W Virginia

James JOHNSON and Mary Elizabeth MURPHY

James and Mary, if you only consider the ages of the children seen below, had three more children in the 1840s. A daughter Elizabeth and a set of twins, William and Jane. James was a farmer without any real estate. [Note for further research: Elizabeth, age 8 – is it possible she was a bit older and the daughter seen in 1840 in the under 5 age category? She has not been located in later census records.]

1850 U.S. Federal Census – James JOHNSON (with his sister Rachel next door)

1850 U.S. Federal Census22
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 26th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 365A, Lines 12-22, HH #449-449
James Johnson 45 M W Farmer Virginia
Mary Johnson 44 F W Virginia cannot read & write
Mariah Johnson 19 F W Virginia
Phobe Johnson 18 F W Virginia
Hiram Johnson 17 M W Virginia
David Johnson 16 M W Virginia
Henry Johnson 12 M W Virginia
Amy Johnson 10 F W Virginia
Elizabeth Johnson 8 F W Virginia
Wm Johnson 6 M W Virginia
Jane Johnson 6 M W Virginia
Note: A bracket between names and age indicate Wm and Jane were twins.

Amy JOHNSON and William KELLY

Amy, like her brother James above, had twins who were marked on the 1850 census. They were her firstborn. During the 1840s Amy and William had two more daughters. William was a farmer and owned land worth $650.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Wm KELLY

1850 U.S. Federal Census23
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 27th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 365B, Lines 13-21, HH #457-457
Wm Kelly 42 M farmer $650 Virginia
Amy Kelly 43 F Virginia cannot read & write
Jackson Kelly 21 M Laborer Virginia
Anderson Kelly 21 M Laborer Virginia
John Kelly 16 M Laborer Virginia
Mary E. Kelly 14 F Virginia
Manerva Kelly 11 F Virginia
Jamima Kelly 6 F Virginia
Alviry Jane Kelly 2 F Virginia
Note: A bracket between names and age indicate Jackson and Anderson were twins.

John Brown JOHNSON and Mary Ann Pennell SETTLE

John and Mary Ann had four more daughters during the 1840s. Two more daughters would be born in 1852 and 1853 bringing the total children, all daughters, to eleven. Nine would marry and have children. Their youngest would die at the age of nearly 2 years and 4 months. Their third daughter, Elizabeth never married and died at the age of 27.

Their oldest daughter Virginia married in 1848 – the first grandchild of Elizabeth SIMS to marry. The second oldest daughter, Nancy Right, was missed in the enumeration and added as “Mary” between lines 26 and 27. John was a farmer and owned land worth $500.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John JOHNSON Jr.

1850 U.S. Federal Census24
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 28th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366B, Lines 25-33, HH #471-471
John Johnson 42 M W farmer $500 Virginia
Mary Johnson 41 F W Virginia
Mary (sic) Johnson 18 F W Virginia
Elizabeth Johnson 15 F W Virginia
Malvina Johnson 14 F W Virginia
Amanda Johnson 11 F W Virginia
Miram Johnson 7 F W Virginia
Lucinda Johnson 10 F W Virginia
Sarah A. Johnson 4 F W Virginia
Martha C. Johnson 11/12 F W Virginia

William JOHNSON and Virginia SETTLE

William and Virginia also had three more daughters during the 1840s. Two more sons would be born in 1852 and 1853 bringing the total children to eight. William owned land worth $500 and farmed.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Wm JOHNSON

1850 U.S. Federal Census25
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 28th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366B, Lines 13-20, HH #469-469
Wm. Johnson 39 M Farmer $500 Virginia
Virginia Johnson 31 M Virginia
Octava Johnson 13 F Virginia
James A. Johnson 11 M Virginia
Miles Johnson 10 M Virginia
Electean Johnson 8 F Virginia
Manerva Johnson 5 F Virginia
Sarah J. Johnson 2 F Virginia
Note: Electa’s name is hard to decipher on this census image and looks like Electean or Electeau.

Rachel JOHNSON and Enoch LIGHT

Rachel’s husband James SETTLE died before 1845. Rachel remarried about 1847. Her husband, Enoch LIGHT, a widower, came from Indiana about 1847. His deceased wife was Mary “Polly” KELLY, a sister of William KELLY who married Amy JOHNSON, Rachel’s sister. Enoch and his first wife had likely married in Kanawha County prior to the 1820 census. By 1830 they had moved to Indiana.

In 1850 Enoch and Rachel had two children of their own, a son and a daughter. Also in their household were Rachel’s five sons from her first marriage. A daughter and a son would be born after 1850. Their daughter Rhoda would die of inflammation of the bowels in 1855. Both Enoch and Rachel could not read and write. Enoch was a farmer and did not own land in 1850. According to L. Neil Darlington who wrote a booklet entitled, A Record of the Early Settlement of Lower Loup Creek (which was later published in the Fayette Tribune in 1933), Rachel and Enoch were living on the James Settle fork of Mulberry. They then lived in the present Summerlee region for a few years, coming back to Loup Creek where he bought land in 1858.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Enoch LIGHT, next door to his brother-in-law James JOHNSON

1850 U.S. Federal Census26
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District, Sheet No. 365A
Enumerated on the 26th day of August, 1850. T. B. Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 365A, Lines 23-31, HH #450-450
Enoch Light 50 M Farmer Virginia cannot read & write
Rachel Light 36 F Virginia cannot read & write
Henry Suttle 18 M Farmer Virginia
Abner Suttle 17 M Farmer Virginia
John J. Suttle 14 M Virginia
Alfred Suttle 10 M Virginia
Wm. A. Suttle 8 M Virginia
Morris H. Light 2 M Virginia
Rhoda Light 11/12 F Virginia

Mary JOHNSON and John KINCAID

During the 1840s Mary and John had five children. Three more would be born in the 1850s bringing the total number of children up to eleven. John was a farmer and owned land valued at $1000. He would later become a Methodist minister.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – John KINCAID

1850 U.S. Federal Census27
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated on the 27th day of August, 1850. H.B.- Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366A, Lines 30-39, HH #466-466
John Kincaid 39 M Farmer $1000 Virginia
Mary Kincaid 35 F Virginia cannot read & write
Catherine Kincaid 15 F Virginia
Emeretta Kincaid 13 F Virginia
Mark Kincaid 11 M Virginia
Jane Kincaid 9 F Virginia
Morris Kincaid 7 M Virginia
Susan Kincaid 5 F Virginia
Reed Kincaid 3 M Virginia
Jincy Kincaid 3/12 F Virginia

Barbara JOHNSON and Jesse JARRETT

Barbara and Jesse who were living in Kanawha County on land valued at $600 had three sons and a daughter during the 1840s. Their oldest daughter Mary Elizabeth married St. Clair ABBOTT in November 1849 at the age of 14, the second grandchild of Elizabeth SIMS to marry. The young couple was living with her parents. About 1851 Jesse and Barbara would name a son after their son-in-law. Three more sons would be born during the 1850s. The last two would be twins. They had a total of eleven children.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Jessee JARRETT

1850 U.S. Federal Census28
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
District No. 29
Enumerated on the 6th day of September 1850 by A.P. Fry, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 67A, Lines 27-36, HH #996-1000
Jessee Jarrett 45 M Farmer $600 Virginia cannot read & write
Barbara Jarrett 35 F Virginia cannot read & write
Harrison Jarrett 12 M Virginia
Bentley Jarrett 10 M Virginia
John Jarrett 7 M Virginia
Lewis Jarrett 6 M Virginia
Irvin Jarrett 5 M Virginia
Martha Jarrett 4 F Virginia
St. Clair Abbott 24 M Laborer Virginia cannot read & write
Mary Abbott 14 F Virginia

Elizabeth JOHNSON and Michael MONTGOMERY

Elizabeth married Michael MONTGOMERY in 1841. He brought a son John into the marriage. During the 1840s, Elizabeth gave birth to three daughters. Her fourth daughter Willie Ellen born in 1855 would be listed as a male William E. on the 1860 census. By 1870 the error was fixed when she was enumerated as Willie E., a female.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – M. MONTGOMERY

1850 U.S. Federal Census29
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
The 14th District
Enumerated the 12th day of August by J.B. Hamilton
Sheet 353A, Lines 37-42, HH#306-306
M. Montgomery 36 M Farmer $50 Virginia
E. Montgomery 32 F Virginia
John Montgomery 13 M Virginia
E. Montgomery 8 F Virginia
Nancy Montgomery 4 F Virginia
Ann M. Montgomery 1 F Virginia
Note: John age 13 may be a child from a previous relationship as Michael and Elizabeth married in 1841.

Harrison JOHNSON and Adeline JARRETT

John and Elizabeth’s youngest son Harrison married Adeline JARRETT soon after the 1840 census. Adeline’s parentage is unknown to me. Was she related to Jesse JARRETT who married Harrison’s sister Barbara?

By 1850 they had five children, three daughters and two sons. Three more sons and two daughters would be born to them by July 1860. Harrison farmed but did not own property in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – Harrison JOHNSON

1850 U.S. Federal Census30
Fayette County (West) Virginia
Enumerated on the 27th day of August, 1850. H.B.- Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 366B, Lines 6-12, HH #468-468
Harrison Johnson 29 M Farmer Virginia cannot read & write
Adline Johnson 30 F Virginia cannot read & write
Mary Johnson 8 F Virginia
Clark Johnson 6 M Virginia
Jackson Johnson 5 M Virginia
Caroline Johnson 4 F Virginia
Amalethe Johnson 1 F Virginia

Susannah JOHNSON and Thomas CURRY

Susannah and Thomas both died in the typhoid epidemic in 1846.31 Their son William was raised by his paternal uncle William CURRY.

The uncle’s 1850 census listing includes two other CURRY children, Martha and Washington. Were they Uncle William’s children or could they have been siblings of young William? His parents had married in 1839 and the children would fit in the time frame.

The uncle William CURRY and married Margaret LIKENS on 28 November 1824 in Kanawha County. In 1840 they had a young male 10 thru 15 in the household. One person was counted as deaf and dumb. This would most likely be Margaret who was marked deaf and dumb in 1850.

1850 U.S. Federal Census – William CURRY

1850 U.S. Federal Census32
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Enumerated on the 15th day of August, 1850. H.B.- Hamilton, Ass’t Marshal.
Sheet 354A, Lines 29-34, HH #316-316
Wm Curry 48 Farmer $2000 Virginia
Margaret Curry 40 Virginia cannot read & write Deaf & Dumb
Martha Curry 10 Virginia
Washington Curry 7 Virginia
Wm Curry 3 Virginia
Margt. Lykins 8 F Virginia

After the 1850 U.S. Federal Census

Elizabeth SIMS died in 1845 however, as her widower was still living, I continued with the 1850 census for John JOHNSON and their children. The census listings of her children after 1850 will not be analyzed at this time.

During the April Term 1854 in Fayette County, Rev. John JOHNSON was released from the payment of taxes upon himself and one tithable.33 He was not found in the 1860 census.

His second wife, Mary CHILDRESS (widow of WINDSOR) was in Gallipolis, Gallia County, Ohio with her daughter from her first marriage, Emeretta BROWN née WINDSOR and her family. A comparison with the 1850 listing convinced me that this is the correct person. The young Mary E. McFARLIN seen with John JOHNSON and his wife Mary in 1850 is in the 1860 household. Was Mary JOHNSON only visiting with her daughter? Or was she widowed and moved to Ohio to live with her daughter?

1860 U.S. Federal Census – James BROWN household with Mary JOHNSON

1860 U.S. Federal Census34
Gallia County, Ohio
Gallipolis Township
Enumerated on the 25th day of July 1860. W. R. Morgan Ass’t Marshal.
Page No. 179, Lines 37-40, and Page No. 180, Lines 1-5
HH #1178-1151
James Brown 39 M W Blacksmith $2000 $200 Ohio
Emeretta Brown 31 F W Virginia
Alvin Brown 13 M W Virginia attended school within the year
Mary Brown 10 F W Ohio attended school within the year
William Brown 8 M W attended school within the year
James Brown 4 M W Ohio
Mary McFarland 16 F W Virginia
Mary Johnston 68 F W Virginia
Frank Chapder 17 M W Blacksmith Apprentice Ohio

In 1870 Mary JOHNSON was 82 years old and still with her daughter Emeretta’s family in Gallipolis Township. No death record was found for her in Gallia County. Further research showed Mary McFARLAND (also seen as McFARLIN) was Mary’s granddaughter. The widowed Catherine seen with her in 1850 was her daughter and mother of Mary. Catherine and Mary were also enumerated in the BROWN household in 1850. Catherine remarried late in 1850 and moved to Iowa.

John JOHNSON’s grave marker has his year of death as 1861. However, finding his second wife Mary living in Gallipolis in 1860 (unfortunately before marital status was included on the census) and his missing 1860 census listing makes me wonder if he may have died before the 1860 census.

Next up is Edward SIMS (1785-1852) who may or may not have been a son of James SIMS (1754-1845) and his wife Phebe.

© 2018, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

GENEALOGY: Census analysis for family group!!

  1. 1790 / 1800 Virginia Tax List Censuses (Binns Genealogy, original records from Library of Virgina, Richmond, Virginia or Family History Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City, Utah), Kanawha, 1802 Personal Tax List, page 12, line 18, John Johnson. (http://www.binnsgenealogy.com/VirginiaTaxListCensuses/Kanawha/1802Personal/12.jpg : accessed 23 April 2018). 
  2. 1810 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Third Census of the United States, 1810 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls, FHL 0181429, roll 69, image 405, Virginia, Kanawha, Kanawha, page 129, sheet 207A, line 21, John Johnston (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 6 February 2018). 
  3. 1820 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), Ancestry, citing Fourth Census of the United States, 1820 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M33, 142 rolls, NARA Roll M33_130, image 388, Virginia, Nicholas, page 204B, line 30, John Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 February 2018). 
  4. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 23, John Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  5. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029677, NARA Roll M19_198, Virginia, Nicholas, image 1+2 of 42, page 172A+B, line 18, John Backhouse. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  6. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 11, James Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  7. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 39+40 of 84, page 199A+B, line 10, William Kelly. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  8. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 37+38 of 84, page 198A+B, line 22, John Johnston. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  9. 1830 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Fifth Census of the United States, 1830 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C. NARA microfilm publication M19, 201 rolls, FHL Film 0029670, NARA Roll M19_191, Virginia, Kanawha, image 67+68 of 84, page 213A+B, line 24, James Setles. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 March 2018). 
  10. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, No township, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 13, John Johnson household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  11. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Nicholas, image 24&25 of 37, page 9, line 18, John Backhouse. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 March 2018). 
  12. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 11, James Johnson household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  13. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 30, William Kelly household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 January 2016). 
  14. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, No township, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 14, John Johnson Jr. household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  15. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 11, William Johnson Jr. household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  16. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 28, James Suttle household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 January 2016). 
  17. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029690, NARA Roll M704_, Virginia, Fayette, image 15&16 of 54, sheet 146, line 7, John Kincaid household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  18. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029689, NARA Roll M704_566, Virginia, Kanawha, image 36+37 of 129, sheet 16, line 5, Jesse Jarett household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  19. 1840 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Sixth Census of the United States, 1840 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M704, 580 rolls, FHL Film 0029685, NARA Roll M704_555, Virginia, Fayette, image 13&14 of 54, sheet 145, line 24, Thomas Curry household. ‎(http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 January 2016). 
  20. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 21-24, HH #470-470, John Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 April 2018). 
  21. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_963 image 303, Virginia, Nicholas County, Western District, image 62 of 93, sheet 370B, lines 25-35, HH#406-406 John Backhouse. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 April 2018). 
  22. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 335, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 71 of 91, sheet 365A, lines 12-22, HH #449-449, James Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  23. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 336, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 72 of 91, sheet 365B, lines 13-21, HH #457-457, Wm Kelly. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  24. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 25-33, HH #471-471 John Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  25. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 13-20, HH #469-469 Wm Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  26. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 335, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 71 of 91, sheet 365A, lines 23-31, HH #450-450 Enoch Light. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  27. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 337, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 73 of 91, sheet 366A, lines 30-39, HH #466-466 John Kincaid. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  28. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_954, image 137, Virginia, Kanawha County, District 29, image 111 of 271, sheet 67A, lines 27-36, HH #996-1000 Jesse Jarrett. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  29. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 311, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 47 of 91, sheet 353A, Sheet 353A, lines 37-42, HH #306-306 M. Montgomery. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  30. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 338, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 74 of 91, sheet 366B, lines 6-12, HH #468-468 Harrison Johnson. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  31. Hardesty, Henry H. Hardesty’s Historical and Geographical Encyclopedia. New York: H. H. Hardesty and Company, 1884. Rpt. in West Virginia Heritage encyclopedia. Ed. Jim Comstock. Richwood: Comstock. 1974; online http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/wv/wv-footsteps/1999/v99-15.txt%5D&#160;
  32. 1850 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Seventh Census of the United States, 1850 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration,Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M432, 1009 rolls, Roll M432_943 image 313, Virginia, Fayette County, District 14, image 49 of 91, sheet 354A, lines 29-34, HH #416-416 Wm Curry. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 April 2018). 
  33. J. T. Peters and H. B. Carden, History of Fayette County, West Virginia, published 1926, Jarrett Printing Co., Charleston, West Virginia, pg. 190. 
  34. 1860 U.S. Federal Census, (index and images), <i>Ancestry</i>, citing Eighth Census of the United States, 1860 population schedule, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington D.C., NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls, Roll: M653_966, page 485, Ohio, Gallia County, Gallipolis Township, page 179, lines 7-40 and page 180 lines 1-5, HH #1178-1151, James Brown. (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 April 2018). 

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

52ancestors“The challenge: have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

This is entry #36 in Amy Johnson Crow’s Challenge: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

I’m a bit behind on this week’s entry. Setting up my new laptop is taking me longer than I thought. And there are other things in my life that have priority – spending time with my husband and children, keeping myself healthy (310 kilometers/11+ hours on my bike since the 1st of the month), and creating memories.

52 Ancestors: #36 William JOHNSON Jr. 1793-1845

William JOHNSON Sr. (1755-1805) and Amy NELSON (1757-1837) married about 1774. Most family trees have their place of marriage as Bath County in Virginia but I cannot agree with this.

As is the case with all research in old Virginia, the county formations need to be considered. Bath County was created in 1790 from parts of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier counties. Greenbrier was formed in 1778 from Botetourt and Montgomery counties. Botetourt County was established in 1770 from Augusta County. The marriage of William and Amy most likely took place in the area of Botetourt County that later went to Greenbrier or in Augusta County where the Johnston families lived. As this is a portrait of William JOHNSON Jr., I will go into the Johnston connection in Augusta County in a later post.

William and Amy were the parents of at least 8 known children, one of them being my fourth great-grandfather William JOHNSON (1793-1845) born about 1793 on Lick Run, Greenbrier County in old Virginia, now West Virginia.

William’s oldest brother Rev. John Brown JOHNSON was born in 1777 in Botetourt or Augusta County. Their father may have been away from home for long periods of time due to his military service during the Revolutionary War (1775-1784). In any case, the next child Nelson JOHNSON was born about 1782. In Laidley’s 1911 History1 Nelson is named as one of the four sons of William JOHNSON Sr. Other sources2 have him listed as the son of Benjamin JOHNSON.

In a biography of Julian M. Johnson, grandson of William Jr., William Sr. moved to what is now Monroe County, West Virginia, after the end of the Revolutionary War and lived there a number of years.

New records brought to light by Wayne L. Johnson, a direct descendant of William Jr., may prove that William Sr. was actually in the area when Greenbrier County was formed in 1778.3 This would mean that John B. and Nelson were born “in the Sinks” as the JOHNSONs were there in 1784:4

“Among the people who were living in the Sinks at the close of the Revolution were several Methodist families. Among these were the Blantons, the Christys, the Johnsons, and the Warrens. They held religious meetings at their homes, and as their membership was growing, they organized a regular society late in the summer of 1784. This date, it will be observed, is also that of the independence of the Methodist Church.”

James M. (1783-1834), Susannah* (1784-1840), Mary “Polly” (1790-1850), my 4th great-grandfather William (1793-1845), and Nancy (1794-1825) were born on Lick Run then part of Greenbrier County.

Between 1795 and 1798 the JOHNSON family moved to Peters Creek, at the time in Kanawha County, where William Sr. patented 500 acres. He settled and remained there for the rest of his life. Amy (1795-1859) may have been the first child to be born on Peters Creek which would become part of Nicholas County when the county was formed in 1818.5

“The murder of one individual or a dozen families did not deter the sturdy pioneer from his onward march in the conquest of the wilderness, and accordingly, before a year has passed after the destruction of Kelly’s settlement, we find Leonard and William Morris both residing almost in sight of the fatal spot. Their settlement is elsewhere noticed [pg. 58, Kelly was killed in early 1773]. Among those who here found homes and become actual settlers in the next few years were John Hansford, Sr., Thomas Foster, Ransom Gatewood, Robert Perry, John Jarrett, John D. Massey, Gallatin G. Hansford, William Johnson, John Wheeler, Shadrach Childers, Peter Likens, Spencer Hill, William Pryor, Barney Green, Thomas Trigg and Shadrach Hariman.”

Two land records extracted from the deed books of Greenbrier County many years ago by David Fridley (who did not note the book or page on these). They would indicate that William and Amy left for Kanawha around 1798 selling a total of 238 acres:

  • 25 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy deeded out 150 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston
  • 26 June 1798. William Johnson and Amy sold 88 acres Lick Run. Witn: John Johnston, et al.

This matches a statement in the biography of Julian M. Johnson by Laidley:6

“Then he and his sons, William, John, Nelson and James, moved to Gauley River in what is now Nicholas County, WV, near and below the mouth of Little Elk about 1798.”

William’s youngest sister Elizabeth (1799-1840) was born the year after the family moved to Kanawha County.

*At the turn of the century William’s sister Susannah JOHNSON was the first to marry. She married Martin SIMS (1783-1853) on 28 March 18007 in Greenbrier County. The permission slip for Susannah’s marriage was signed by her father William JOHNSON. I don’t have a copy of this document however Tim Spradling has put it on his list for his trip to the courthouse this fall. A comparison of the signature on the permission slip with other signatures found for William Sr. will help to determine if this young lady was the daughter of our William JOHNSON Sr. or the William JOHNSTON who died and left a will in 1803 in Greenbrier County. The will mentions his four oldest children James, Polly, Samuel and Sally, and his younger sons William, George, John, and Andrew. There is no mention of a daughter Susannah.

Photo courtesy of Carl L. Johnson.

William’s brother John Brown JOHNSON married Elizabeth SIMS (1782-1845), sister of the above mentioned Martin SIMS, on 2 June 18028 in Kanawha County.

These would be the only two marriages of his children that William JOHNSON Sr. would live to see. William died 22 December 1805 and was buried near Swiss in present-day Nicholas County, West Virginia.

Following their father’s death, the children lived with their mother Amy until one by one they married and started their own families. Mary “Polly” married Benjamin DARLINGTON (1775-1853) on 23 April 1810 in Kanawha County and was with her new husband when the 1810 census was enumerated. Amy was with her single children and close to son John and daughter Susannah who had married SIMS siblings.

1810censusjohnson
1810 U.S. Federal Census > Virginia > Kanawha > Kanawha > image 4 of 16 [ancestry.com]
1810 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Kanawha
Johnston, Anne (sic, Amy; listed just above her son John)
Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 2 (James & Alexander)
Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 15: 1 (William)
Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 1 (Nelson)
Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 15: 1 (Elizabeth)
Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 2 (Amy & Nancy)
Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1 (Amy)
Number of Household Members Under 16: 4
Number of Household Members Over 25: 1
Number of Household Members: 8

During the time our nation was at war (War of 1812), William and his two unmarried brothers married.

    • James M. JOHNSON married Elizabeth MILLER ( -1823) on 29 April 1813 in Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
    • Nelson JOHNSON married Nancy MURPHY in 1813 in Kanawha County
    • William JOHNSON married Nancy Ann SIMS on 15 October 1814 in Kanawha County.

Soon after William married my 4th great-grandmother Nancy Ann SIMS, sister of Martin and Elizabeth SIMS mentioned earlier, their first child Nelson JOHNSON (1815-1855) was born about 1815 in Kanawha County. In all records found for Nelson, I have only seen “Nelson” as his first name. Denise Jackson of “Our Family Heritage” is a great-great-granddaughter of this son. Family lore is that his full name was Joseph Nelson JOHNSON and his grandson Joseph Nelson “JN” JOHNSON was named after him. On 9 May 2014 she wrote “It is only word of mouth about JN’s grandfather being Joseph Nelson Johnson and he (JN) being named for him” in response to my email to her about the full name. Before replying she checked with two of her cousins, sons of her father’s sister, and her two brothers as she said, “I wanted to check with all of them to make sure I had heard (and remembered) correctly.” They confirmed that she was right about the family lore.

William JOHNSON Jr. and his family originally lived at the mouth of Laurel Creek, a tributary of the Gauley River which empties about one mile above Swiss. In 1810 the JOHNSON and SIMS families were neighbors and it is known that James SIMS, father of Nancy Ann SIMS, made his home at Swiss. William’s son John Brown JOHNSON was born at the mouth of Rich Creek on Gauley in 1823 per the 1911 biography of his son Julian M. JOHNSON. This would have been in the area of Swiss. Later, most likely after 1823, the JOHNSON family moved to a place on Loop Creek (Loup Creek) in the area of what is known as Robson in present-day Fayette County, West Virginia.

“Loop Creek flows for its entire length in western Fayette County. It rises in the city of Oak Hill and flows initially west-northwestward through the unincorporated communities of Lick Fork, Wriston, Ingram Branch, and Hamilton; then northward through the unincorporated communities of Kincaid, Page, North Page, and Robson, to Deep Water, where it flows into the Kanawha River.” [Source: Wikipedia]

Before William and Nancy’s next child was born two of his sisters married brothers in Kanawha County: Nancy JOHNSON married Peyton FOSTER (1793- ) on 11 January 1815 and Amy JOHNSON married Turley FOSTER (1794-1859) on 16 November / 18 November 1816.

And William’s family continued to grow with the birth of my third great-grandmother Huldah JOHNSON (1817-1880) about 1817 and Alexander JOHNSON (1819-1887) on 10 June 1819.

The 1820 and 1830 census were enumerated in alphabetical order rather than in order of household visitation. This makes it less useful for locating the actual place that the family lived.

The family was in Nicholas County in 1820 and then next seen in Kanawha County in the 1830 census which supports the theory that their move to Loop Creek was in the 1820s, most likely between 1824-1830. Robson is 10 miles south of present-day Gauley Bridge. Fayette County was created on 28 February 1831 from parts of Greenbrier, Kanawha, Nicholas, and Logan counties. From then on William’s children were born on Loop Creek in Fayette County where they were seen in the 1840 census.

1820censusjohnson
1820 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Nicholas [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18200130unit#page/n388/mode/1up : accessed 10 May 2014]
1820 U.S. Federal Census
Nicholas County, (West) Virginia
Page No: 204B
Enumerated by: Hedgman Triplett on the 26th day of December 1820
William Johnson
2 males under 10 yo (Nelson and Alexander)
2 males 10 & under 16 yo (not sons of Wm and Nancy who were married only 6 yrs)
1 male 16 & under 26 yo (William)
1 female under 10 yo (Huldah)
1 female 16 & under 26 yo (Nancy Ann b. bet. 1794-1804)
1 person engaged in agriculture
7 persons in household

Following the enumeration of the 1820 census, William’s fourth child Mary JOHNSON (1820-1898) was born on 20 August 1820.

William’s sister Elizabeth JOHNSON married Presley FOSTER (1798-1873), a brother of Turley and Peyton FOSTER, on 12 March 1822 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia, and his brother James M. JOHNSON, recently widowed, married(2) Sarah LEGG (1795- ) on 6 March 1823 in Nicholas County, (West) Virginia.

Shortly before Christmas in 1823 another son, John Brown JOHNSON (1823-1902), was born on 23 December 1823. The family was very fond of this name!

The first of William’s siblings, Nancy (Johnson) FOSTER died before 6 September 1825 leaving only one known child, a son she named Johnson FOSTER.

Nancy gave William three more children before the 1830 census: Amy JOHNSON (1825-1904) on 4 November 1825, Lewis JOHNSON (1828-1845) on 6 March 1828, and Elizabeth JOHNSON (1829-1833) about 1829.

1830censusjohnson
1830 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Kanawha [https://archive.org/stream/populationsc18300191unit#page/n397/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1830 U.S. Federal Census
Kanawha County, (West) Virginia
Johnston, William
2 males under 5 yo (Lewis b. 1828, John Brown b. 1823)
1 male 5 & under 10 yo (Alexander b. 1819)
1 male 10 & under 15 yo (Nelson b. ca. 1815)
1 male 30 & under 40 yo (William Jr. b. 1793)
1 female under 5 yo (Amy b. 1825)
1 female 5 & under 10 yo (Mary b. 1820)
1 female 10 & under 15 yo (Huldah b. ca. 1818)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann Sims Johnson b. bet. 1791-1800)
1 female 70 & under 80 yo (Amy Nelson Johnson b. 1757)
7 free white persons under 20
2 free white person 20 thru 9
10 total free white persons
10 total – all persons

In William’s household, we see an older woman in his household. This must be his mother as family tradition is that she lived among her children until her death.

William’s family was not yet complete: William Hunter JOHNSON (1832-1899) was born 27 July 1832, Nancy JOHNSON (1835-1915) was born in August 1835. Sadly, young Elizabeth, about 4 years old, died about 1833 of the flux.

A year later William’s brother James M. JOHNSON died in 1834 on Loop Creek, Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s oldest child Nelson JOHNSON married Elizabeth HUGHES (1817-1900) on 14 September 1837 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

Sadly there would be another death in the family during the 1830s. William’s elderly mother Amy NELSON died on 23 December 1837 in Robson, Fayette County, (West) Virginia, and was buried in Nichols Cemetery on Loop Creek also seen as Nichols Hollow Cemetery, Robson. From the writings of Laura Blake, a local historian:

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

“Amie Nelson Johnson lived among her children after coming to Loup Creek but her last days were at the home of her son William, whose home was near that of Mutt Ellis. This was very close to the cemetery known then as the Kelly grave yard but now called the Nuchils cemetery. This is a beautiful location for a cemetery. In a row in this cemetery is the grave of William and Nancy Simms Johnson, two children, and the mother Amie Nelson Johnson. William and Nancy died around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. Afterwards, most of his family went to Kanawha County to an area called the Grape Vine, near Charleston.”

Unfortunately, Laura Blake did not get all the fact correct in the above statement. William’s wife Nancy SIMS did not die around 1845 during a typhoid fever epidemic. She was seen living with her son William Hunter JOHNSON in Kanawha County in 1860.

After his mother’s death, William’s wife Nancy gave him his last child Morris Houston JOHNSON (1839-1845) on 21 January 1839 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s daughter Mary JOHNSON married David Alexander MILLER (1820-1871) on 13 December 18399 in Fayette County, (West) Virginia.

William’s sisters Elizabeth FOSTER and Susannah SIMS died before the 1840 census.

1840censusjohnson
1840 U.S. Federal Census > VA > Fayette > page 145 [https://archive.org/stream/populationsch1840555unit#page/n298/mode/1up : accessed 11 May 2014]
1840 U.S. Federal Census
Fayette County, (West) Virginia
Johnson, William Sr. (page 145)
2 males under 5 yo (William Hunter and Morris Houston)
1 male 5  & under 10 yo (Lewis)
1 male 15 & under 20 yo (John Brown)
1 male 20 & under 30 yo (Alexander)
1 male 40 & under 50 yo (William)
1 female under 5 yo (Nancy)
1 female 15 & under 20 yo (Amy)
1 female 20 & under 30 yo (Huldah)
1 female 30 & under 40 yo (Nancy Ann; should be listed as 40 & under 50 yo)
10 persons in household
2 persons engaged in agriculture

William and Nancy’s oldest daughter Huldah JOHNSON married Robert INGRAM (1819-1902) about 1841 in Fayette County (West) Virginia.

Courtesy of Gary Johnston (Facebook message dated 1 May 2013)

In 1845 during an epidemic of typhoid fever, three members of the family died.

William’s sons died within three weeks of each other: Morris Houston JOHNSON died 11 August 1845 and Lewis JOHNSON died 31 August 1845.

William JOHNSON followed his sons on 18 December 1845. They are all buried in the Nichols Cemetery in Fayette County.

© 2014, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.


  1. Laidley, William Sydney, History of Charleston and Kanawha County, West Virginia and Representative Citizens, Richmond Arnold Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1911; pg. 979 (https://archive.org/stream/historyofcharles00laid#page/n5/mode/2up : accessed September 2014). 
  2. Christine Beckelheimer, submitter; “Benjamin Johnson”; The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, page 32. 
  3. Wayne L. Johnson and Carl L. Johnson; These Lost Children of the Marquis of Annandale, Johnstone-Johnston-Johnson, Notes & Compilations in three volumes, Vol. II First Americans, Charleston, West Virginia. A copy of this draft (a work in progress) received in the mail on 16 July 2014 from Wayne via Tim Spradling. 
  4. Oren F. Morton, The History of Monroe County, West Virginia, published by McClure Company, Inc., Staunton, Va. 1916; online https://archive.org/stream/historyofmonroec00mort#page/n5/mode/2up 
  5. Laidley’s History; pg. 235 
  6. Laidley’s History; pg. 979 
  7. Larry Heffner, email dated 10 August 2004 in reply to my request for information on marriage papers of Martin Sims and Susanna Johnson in the archives of the Greenbrier Historical Society. 
  8. The History of Fayette County West Virginia 1993; sponsored and published by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce. 
  9. Sissonville A Time to Remember, The Sissonville Historical Awareness Committee, pg. 108; online http://www.rootsweb.com/~wvkanawh/Sissonville/index.html