Surname Saturday: Johnson

Johnson genealogyThis week’s Surname Saturday focuses on my Johnson family line, which begins with my great-grandmother, Rachel Louisa.

Rachel Louisa Johnson was born August 9, 1892 in Fannin County, Georgia.  She married Newton Coleman Ward in Fannin County on June 27, 1909.  Rachel and Newt lived in Fannin County until 1939, when they moved to Murray County, Georgia.  At various times in her life, Rachel was a farmer’s wife, a midwife, a pencil packer, and a quilter.  She and Newt had eight children.  She died February 16, 1980 in Chatsworth, Georgia and is buried at the Stock Hill/Johnson Cemetery in Fannin County.

Rachel’s father was Reuben Phillip Johnson.  He was born September 3, 1853, probably in the North Georgia mountains.  He lived in Gilmer County, Georgia in 1860 and 1870.  He married Martha Garrett about 1877.  Reuben and Martha lived in Fannin County for the remainder of Reuben’s life.  They lived on a farm and had eight children.  Reuben died April 15, 1911 in Blue Ridge, Georgia and is buried at the Stock Hill/Johnson Cemetery.

Reuben was the fourth son of Amos Johnson and Elizabeth Ann Jones.  Amos was born about 1826, possibly in Forsyth County, Georgia.  Amos and Betty lived in Union County, Georgia in 1850 and Gilmer County in 1860.  His death date is uncertain.  There is a marker with Amos and Betty’s name on it at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery in Gilmer County, but the death date for Amos says 1858, and he was clearly alive in 1860, since he appears on the census.

I have names for two more generations of Johnsons, but I consider them speculative at this time.

Johnson Surname Fun Facts

Johnson is the second most common surname in the United States, which makes researching this line challenging.  In 2000, there were 19 million Johnsons in the U.S.  In 1920, there were 292,000 Johnson families in the U.S.; 4% lived in Georgia.  The 1880 census enumerated 383,000 Johnson families, with 5% of them living in Georgia.  In 1840, Georgia claimed 4% of the 14,536 Johnson families enumerated.

More about the Johnson Family

Research To-Dos

  • Look for marriage record for Reuben and Martha.
  • Research land records for Reuben in Fannin County.
  • Research probate records for Reuben in Fannin County.
  • Check Georgia marriage records for Amos and Betty.
  • Look for Civil War records for Amos.

If you have any additional information (or corrections) on this Johnson line, comments are most appreciated!

This post is part of an ongoing series focusing on specific surnames. To see all posts in the series, click here.

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