Father: William Johnson, Sr.
Mother: Ann Norman
Spouse: Sarah (Sallie) Courtney
d: 20/Mar/1829 - Culpeper Co., VA
m: 1790 - Culpeper Co., VA
3: Benjamin, Jr.
Benjamin Johnson, Sr., was probably born about 1772, almost certainly in Culpeper County, Virginia. Furthermore, it is reported that he was one member of a set of twins, the other being his brother, Joseph. They were sons of William and Ann Norman Johnson. Within this context, several researchers have suggested that Benjamin and Joseph were born as early as 1760; however, later census records do not support this presumption. In any case, it is probable that he spent his childhood and youth in the vicinity of Red Oak Mountain, which at present lies in southeastern Rappahannock County, Virginia, just north of the village of Woodville, but which in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, i.e., until Rappahannock County was organized in 1833, lay in central Culpeper County. Indeed, it appears that Benjamin's grandfather was among the earliest settlers of this locality. It has also been reported that Benjamin Johnson married Sarah (Sallie) Courtney about 1790 although no definite date is known and the marriage could have taken place a year or two later. In any case, Ben and Sallie apparently lived in this locality throughout their entire lifetimes. Accordingly, the population schedule of the 1810 US Census for Culpeper County, Virginia, included the household of Benjamin Johnson, which then consisted of an adult male between the ages of twenty-six and forty-five, an adult female of above forty-five years of age, two male children less than ten, three males between ten and sixteen years, and a female between sixteen and twenty-six. Of these individuals, the known sons of Benjamin Johnson probably correspond to four of the five younger males. Concomitantly, it is likely that the additional young male and female individuals were also children of Ben and Sallie Johnson, but that they did not survive to adulthood. Moreover, Culpeper County census records of 1820 reveal that the household of Benjamin Johnson again included eight individuals, i.e., an adult couple above forty-five years of age, three adolescent or young adult males between eighteen and twenty-six years, a young male between ten and sixteen, a female adolescent or young adult between the ages of sixteen and twenty-six, and a younger female between ten and sixteen. Within this context, there is strong evidence that Ben and Sallie's oldest son, James, had already married and, consequently, was listed separately in associated census records. Therefore, the three older males probably correspond to sons, Joseph, Benjamin, and Jesse, but the identity of the younger male remains uncertain. Likewise, the identities of the two younger females are also unknown, but it is plausible to suppose that they were relatives. As expected, the household of Benjamin Johnson appeared in the population schedule of the 1830 US Census for Culpeper County, Virginia, and once again included eight persons. However, beyond Benjamin himself, identification of the remaining individuals is problematic at best. Even so, it is evident that by 1830 Sallie Courtney Johnson had already died (as is confirmed by associated Bible records). Within this context, it is very likely that these individuals were close family members and were at that time living with Benjamin, who was a recent widower. Furthermore, with the exception of Ben's oldest son, James, who was living nearby with his own family, it seems probable that members of the household may have included one or more of the three younger sons; however, this is merely speculation and other alternatives are possible, even likely. Indeed, by 1840 it seems almost certain that Ben's younger sons had migrated westward (Joseph to Kentucky, Benjamin, Jr., to Ohio, and Jesse to Illinois according to an anonymous family history of the "Red Oak Johnson Family"). Accordingly, the population schedule of the 1840 US Census for Rappahannock County, Virginia, included the household of Benjamin Johnson, which consisted of a single older male, namely, Ben himself. Benjamin Johnson died intestate in Rappahannock County on May 23, 1843. Moreover, due to the absence of most of the heirs, his estate was settled though a Chancery Cause brought by his son, James Johnson, on October 9, 1843.Source Notes and Citations:
It has been reported that Benjamin Johnson and his younger brother, William, frequently bought and sold real estate in Culpeper (later Rappahannock) County.1 This is further supported by an original manuscript copy of three sequential promissory notes given presumably as terms of payment in one of these transactions.2 In passing, it is interesting to note that although Ben's son, James, owned slaves, Benjamin himself apparently did not. It is not known if this was a matter of principle or merely of economics; however, slavery was not a uniformly accepted institution in antebellum Virginia.
1. "In 1802 John McCoull sold his 103 acres to Samuel Butts, another resident of Culpeper County. Butts owned and paid taxes on this tract until 1815, but sometime during this span of thirteen years he decided to resettle in Kentucky.9 He was living there when he conveyed his Culpeper County property to Benjamin and William Johnson, members of a family that owned and frequently traded moderate-sized tracts of land in the southeastern part of Culpeper (sic) County.10 The Johnsons added this 103 acres to contiguous tracts, all 'located on the east side of Bessie Ball Mountain' to create a farm of 330 acres.11 In 1818 they sold 200 acres of it to George L. Carder, whose relatives in Culpeper County already were numerous.12"
"9 Deed of John McCoull to Samuel Butts, 18 January 1802, Culpeper County Deed Book W, pp. 354-355. Several years before Butts sold the land, the county tax assessor began listing him as 'of Kentucky.' Culpeper County Land Tax Records, 1802-1815.
10 Deed of Samuel Butts to Benjamin and William Johnson, 10 May 1815, Culpeper County Deed Book GG, pp. 267-269. The Johnsons figure prominently among the those who were buying land in Culpeper County during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Culpeper County Index to Grantees, 1749-1974.
11 Culpeper County Land Tax Records for 1816, 1817, and 1818.
12 Deed of Benjamin and William Johnson to George L. Carder, 10 July 1818, Culpeper County Deed Book KK, pp. 61-62. The 1830 census lists nine households headed by Carders or Corders in Culpeper County. Fifth Census , Culpeper County, Virginia, v. 9, ff. 96, 104, 107, 117, 123, and 149."
It should be noted that Bessie Ball Mountain lies just to the southeast of Red Oak Mountain and both lie in the southeastern part of Rappahannock County, Virginia, as it presently exists. The account implies a location in southeastern Culpeper County, but before the formation of Rappahannock County, these places would have been centrally located in Culpeper County. Therefore, the geographical description is anachronistic and inaccurate. (DHR File # 078-5078, George L. Carder House or Boxwood Hill, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, 2801 Kensington Ave., Richmond, VA 23221.)
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2. The Rappahannock County Historical Society in Washington, Virginia, has an original copy of three promissory notes copied to a single sheet and apparently associated with the transaction between Samuel Butts (or Butt) and Benjamin and William Johnson mentioned above (text in parenthesis lost from document):
($67.37 We bind ourselves and our heirs) to pay to Saml Butt sixty seven dollars thirty seven cents with interest thereon from the 9th day of May 1815 till paid. Witness our hands and seals this 15th day of May 1815 /s/Benjamin Johnson (seal) /s/William Johnson (seal) Teste J W Evens
$328 We bind ourselves and our heirs to pay to Saml Butt three hundred twenty eight dollars with interest thereon from the 29th day of October 1813 till paid. Witness our hands and seals this 15th day of May 1815 /s/Benjamin Johnson (seal) /s/William Johnson (seal) Teste J W Evens
$328 We bind ourselves and our heirs to pay to Saml Butt three hundred twenty eight dollars with interest thereon from the 29th day of October 1814 till paid. Witness our hands and seals this 15th day of May 1815 /s/Benjamin Johnson (seal) /s/William Johnson (seal) Teste J W Evens
It is clear that these notes provide terms of payment for a parcel of real estate apparently conveyed from Samuel Butts to Benjamin and William Johnson in May of 1815. Evidently, payment was made in three installments beginning in October of 1813 for a total of $723.37, although there may have been some initial down payment not covered by the notes. It is likely that this copy were made as part of the final conveyance in 1815. Indeed, the signatures of Benjamin and William Johnson were lined out probably implying that all required payments had been made. (research notes taken during visit to the Rappahannock County Historical Society, Washington, VA, April 9, 2008, unpublished.)
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3. 1810 US Census Population Schedule for Culpeper County, Virginia, National Archives, Washington DC: pg. 48, (microfilm: roll M252_68; img. 192).
4. 1820 US Census Population Schedule for Culpeper County, Virginia, National Archives, Washington DC: pg. 81, (microfilm: roll M33_133; img. 99).
5. 1830 US Census Population Schedule for Culpeper County, Virginia, National Archives, Washington DC: pg. 117, (microfilm: roll M19_197; imgs. 235-6).
6. 1840 US Census Population Schedule for Rappahannock County, Virginia, National Archives, Washington DC: pg. 25, (microfilm roll M704_575; imgs. 50-1).
7. Anonymous, A History of the "Red Oak" Johnson Family, privately published. (Not currently in print - facsimiles available at the Rappahannock County Historical Society, Washington, VA)
8. James Johnson Bible Record, Acc. No. 43075, Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA. (Bible printed in 1828, Source: Elizabeth O. Scott, Woodville, VA)
9. Chancery Records, Rappahannock Co., Washington, VA, Case #88, (Library of Virginia, Richmond, VA, (microfilm: roll - Chancery Records #42; img. 557)).
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