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Histories - Zopher Johns(t)on Sr. and Family

Written by Stevie Hughes, stevie1302@aol.com

THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR
by Stevie Hughes

Because Zopher Johnston Senior (c. 1760 – c. 1835), Revolutionary War Soldier, died intestate, there is no single, primary source document that names his children. His sons, however, can be identified by a number of written records, which, when evaluated collectively, indicate that Zopher Senior had three sons. If there were other sons they did not live to maturity.

The sons, John (c. 1788 VA -1855 TN) and Zopher Junior (1790 TN -1866 IL), are both documented as sons of Zopher Senior in the 1813 store ledger of merchant, Valentine Sevier. Both made purchases on the account of Zopher Senior, and in the case of John, he is specifically annotated as “Zopher’s son”. The third son, Joseph (c.1792 TN – 1872 TN), can be confirmed as a son of Zopher Senior because of Joseph’s later ownership of one-half of Zopher Senior’s 189 acre farm on Roaring Fork of Lick Creek. The son, John, owned the other half of the farm. This is clearly evidenced in the annual tax lists of District 12 where the farm was located.

The difficulty begins with differentiating among the “family groups” of each of the three sons, John, Zopher Junior and Joseph. Two events allow us to be able to accurately identify their sons: (1) John (1788-1855 TN) left a Will naming each of his seven sons; and, (2) Zopher Junior (1790-1866 IL) migrated with his family to Hamilton County, Illinois, in 1853. Therefore, knowing “who” belongs to John and “who” belongs to Zopher Junior, this allows us to identify Joseph’s (1792-1872 TN) sons.

The daughters of these three brothers, on the other hand, are not so easily identifiable. This is because the females are not shown in the tax rosters as are their brothers. The only documents available to identify the daughters are marriage records. Fortunately for us, there was only one Johnson/Johnston Family who lived in Civil District 12 until about 1836, and they are the Zopher Johns(t)on Family. Thus, any Johnson/Johnston female who married a District 12 man, has a virtual 100% probability of being a Zopher Senior descendant. What becomes uncertain, is which of Zopher Senior’s sons is their father.

The only method available of “matching” daughters to “fathers” is by an analysis of the father’s census households, then researching marriage dates and ultimately migration patterns.

By 1830, all three sons of Zopher Senior were married and in their separate households. All live in close proximity. The sons, John and Joseph, live on the 189-acre Roaring Fork farm of Zopher Senior. The son, Zopher Junior, lives on a 65-acre farm adjacent to his father-in-law, Christopher Cooper Senior. The marriage dates of the three sons of Zopher Senior become critical in establishing the age of the children, which determined when the daughters married:

John married Catherine “Caty” McKahen on 2-7-1809
Joseph married Elizabeth Coooper on 12-18-1816
Zopher Junior married Phebe Cooper on 1-18-1817

1830 CENSUS
(THE SURNAME IS “JOHNSTON”)

Census Page:

220 Zopher Junior’s Household: Males Females
(Married 1-18-1817)
2 age 0-4 2 age 0-4
1 age 5-9
1 age 30-40 Zopher Jr. 1 age 30-40 Phebe
(The ages shown in this census are wrong in some cases.)

This Family is identifiable because of the 1850 Census, and their subsequent migration to Illinois in 1853:

Sons: 1. Christopher Cooper, born c. 1822
2. John Henderson, born 11-30-1829
Daughters:
1. Jane, born 10-16-1817, who married
Hiram Gibbs Johnson on 9-7-1837
2. Hila, born 5-11-1827, who married
James H. Willis on 9-13-1847 and they lived
on her father’s farm in the 1850 Census.
3. Mary, born c. 1828, who is single and in
her father’s 1850 household

In 1853, both sons, and the daughter, Jane, went to Hamilton County, Illinois with the parents. The daughter, Hila, went to Grundy County, Missouri in 1852.

226 Listed in order of how they appear on the census page are:

John Kidwell, age 60-70 and his Family (Zopher Senior is believed buried in Kidwell Cemetery)

John’s Household: Males Females
(John married 2-7-1809)
2 age 0-4 1 age 0-4 1 age 5-9 1 age 5-9
1 age 10-14 1 age 10-14
1 age 15-19 1 age 15-19
1 age 40-50 (John) 1 age 30-40 (Caty)


THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR
1830 CENSUS
(Continued)

John’s sons are identified in his 1854 Will. The sons in the 1830 household
are:
(1) James, born 10-7-1812, who married Margaret Cox 4-1-1834. They
migratd to Missouri in 1859.
(2) Joseph A., born 7-30-1817, who married Nancy Mary Cradic on
5-23-1848. He inherited his Father’s 94-acre farm in 1855. In
1858, they migrated to Missouri.
(3) Landon Carter, born 8-21-1819, who married Catherine Maloney
on 2-9-1841. They stayed in Greene County, Tennessee.
(4) John Jackson, born 12-28-1821, who married Martha Pearlina
Foster on 9-24-1850. They migrated to Missouri in 1852.
(5) Samuel, born c. 1824, who married in Missouri about 1854.

John did not name his daughters in his Will, only referring to his “four daters”.
What becomes important is: (1) by 1840, three of John’s daughters had married
and (2) by 1854 when John wrote his Will, all four daughters were then living.

From the Greene County Marriages, we can identify the Johnson females
who married District 12 men between 1831 to 1839:

(1) Rebecca, who married John “Grimes” (Graham) on 4-20-1833. The 1850 census gives her YOB as 1803; however by 1855, she is in
Missouri. In the 1860 and 1870 census, Rebecca’s YOB is given as
1811. She is believed to be a daughter of John.
(2) Louisa, who married Robert Sample on 9-29-1836. Because all
four of John’s daughters are still alive in 1854, the date of John’s
Will, Louisa is probably the daughter of Joseph.
(3) Jane, who married John P. Kilday on 2-6-1838. In 1840, Jane resides
next door to John. The naming patterns of Jane’s sons are identical
to that of her brothers. Jane is a daughter of John.
(4) Mary, who married Robert Sample on 2-8-1839. Mary’s son is in
the 1850 household of John Johnston. Mary is a daughter of John.

The youngest daughter, Sally born about 1828, is known, because she is unmarried and in her father’s 1850 household.

The next household on page 226 is:
Robert Foster. Robert Foster married Mercy Johnston on 11-10-1802. Mercy
is the daughter of Zopher Johnston Senior.
Page 4

THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR
1830 CENSUS
(Continued)
The next household on page 226 is:
Zopher Senior household: Males Females
1 age 0-4 1 age 15-20
1 age 60-70 (Zopher Senior)
The young woman and child in his household remain “unidentified”.

The next listing on page 226 is:
226 Joseph’s Household:
(Joseph married 12-18-1816)
Males Females
1 age 0-4 1 age 0-4
2 age 5-9
1 age 10-14 1 age 10-14
1 age 20-30
1 age 30-40 (Joseph) 1 age 30-40 (Elizabeth)
(The ages in the Census are wrong in some cases.)
The female age 20-30 would not be a daughter, because of the 1816 marriage date.

Joseph’s sons can be identified from the Tax Lists and the Marriages:
(1) Joseph Addison, born 8-26-1817, who married Nancy Reynolds on 6-25-1841. They migrated to Missouri in 1858.
(2) Riley Macken born c. 1818, who married Lucinda Cox on 11-12-1840.
Riley’s year of birth is taken from the 1850 Census. We do not know
Riley’s exact year of birth. The annual Tax Lists are missing for most of the
1840’s; hence, we cannot establish the year Riley became a taxable poll
(i.e. upon attaining the age of 21). Riley appears in the 1850 Tax List.
Riley and his Family migrated to Missouri in 1856.

Only the two youngest daughters can be positively identified. They are unmarried
and in their father’s 1850 household and are:
(1) Mary Jane, born c. 1825
(2) Hiley, born c. 1828
Neither daughter married in Greene County, and they likely accompanied their brothers in the migration to Missouri beginning in 1851.

The two older daughters are no longer in their parents’ 1840 household, having either married or died.
(3) Probably, Louisa Johnson who married Robert Sample on 9-29-1836, who was deceased by 1839.
(4) Daughter #4 is uncertain.
Page 5

THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR

The next comprehensive written record we have of Zopher Senior’s Family is the 1836 Civil Districts Listing. In 1836, Greene County was segmented for the first time into Civil Districts with defined geographic boundaries. Seventeen Civil Districts were formed. Our Johns(t)on Family and one other non-related man of this surname are in Civil District 12.

All men “of age” (21 or older) were included in the comprehensive
Civil Districts Listing. By omission, we know that Zopher Johns(t)on Senior, Revolutionary War Soldier, had died by this time. The Johns(t)ons found in Civil District 12 are:
John, Zopher and Joseph Johnston. Because Zopher is not listed as “Junior”, this
is another indication that the father, Zopher Senior, is deceased.

William P. Johnson. He is William Powell Johnson, and he is not part of the
Zopher Family. I believe him to be part of the affluent, Quaker Knob Johnson
Families. William Johnson married Martha Frances Farnsworth on 8-25-1836.
The Farnsworth Family was not a District 12 Family. Their son, Robert Powell
Johnson, married into the Hardin Family of District 12. Robert Powell Johnson
and his family are buried at Kidwell Cemetery. DNA by a descendant (Hubert)
of Robert Powell Johnson confirms there is no relationship to our Zopher
Johnston Family.

The 1836 Civil District 12 Listing is a comprehensive Surnames list of most of our intermarried families. The entire Roster of District #12 is included as a separate Exhibit in this book.


Between the years of 1830 and 1840, the older children of John, Zopher Junior, and Joseph, begin to marry. By 1840, these older children are no longer in their parents’ household:

1840 CENSUS
(THE SURNAME IS “JOHNSTON”)

Page
45 Zopher Junior’s Household: Males Females
(Married 1-18-1817) 1 age 5-9
1 age 10-14 1 age 10-14
1 age 15-20 1 age 15-20
1 age 40-50 Zopher Jr. 1 age 40-50 Phebe

Page 6
THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR
1840 CENSUS
(Continued)

Page 45 Zopher Junior’s household, continued:

The son born after the 1830 census is Ellsworth. He died before 1850.
One daughter is Hila Martha, born 5-11-1827, who married James H. Willis 9-13-1847.
One daughter is Mary, born c. 1828, who is in her parents’ 1850 household.
The two sons are Christopher Cooper, born c. 1822, who married Kathryn Kerbaugh on 12-31-1840; and John Henderson, born 11-30-1829, who is in his parents’ 1850 household, and married Sarah Graham on 10-30-1850. Both sons accompany their parents in the migration to Hamilton County, Illinois in 1853.

The next person listed on Census page 45 is Christopher Cooper (Junior), age 40-50.

Page:
47 Joseph’s Household:
(Joseph married 12-18-1816)
Males Females 1 age 0-4 1 age 10-14
1 age 15-19
1 age 20-29
1 age 40-50 (Joseph) 1 age 40-50 (Elizabeth)

The son born after 1830, is believed to be Elijah, although he is not in his parent’s 1850 household. On 7-17-1854, Elijah Johnson married Polly A. Hawkins, a District 12 Family. Elijah is never in a District 12 Tax List, which indicates he married before the age of 21, and left Greene County before attaining age 21.

The son, age 20-29, is Joseph Addison Johnson, born 8-26-1817. Joseph Addison married Nancy Reynolds on 6-25-1841. They migrated to Missouri in 1858.

Both daughters are in their Father’s 1850 household and are:
Mary Jane, born c. 1825; and Hiley, born c. 1828. Neither married in Greene County.

The next listing on Census page 47:
Jane Brown Cooper (born 1768), age 70-80, is the widow of Christopher Cooper Senior. Jane is the mother of Joseph’s wife, Elizabeth Cooper Johnston. In 1840, Jane (Brown) Cooper resided with her daughter’s family. In Jane’s household is a 20-29 year old male. This young man is Joseph and Elizabeth’s son, Riley Macken Johnson, born c. 1818. Riley married Lucinda Cox on 11-12-1840. They migrated to Missouri in 1856.

Joseph Johnston’s wife, Elizabeth Cooper Johnston, died between 1841 and 1849.
Page 7
THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR
1840 CENSUS
(Continued)

Between the years 1851 to 1859, all of Joseph’s known children migrated to Northern Missouri. The Father, Joseph, also went to Missouri for a short time, appearing there in the 1860 Census. However, he returned to Greene County, Tennessee and appears annually in the Tax Lists until the year 1872, presumably the year Joseph died.

The next listing on Census page 47 is:
Page:
47 John’s Household: Males Females
(John married 2-7-1809)
2 age 5-9
1 age 10-14 1 age 10-14
2 age 15-19
1 age 20-30
1 age 50-60 (John) 1 age 40-50 (Caty)

John and Caty’s oldest son, James, born 10-7-1812, married Margaret Cox on 4-1-1834. In the 1840 Census, James and Margaret are on Census page 45, two households from James’ Uncle Zopher Johns(t)on Junior.

For the older sons, refer to the 1830 Census for names, DOB, and the years they marry.

The two sons born after 1830 are:
Wiley Alfred, born 8-14-1831, who went to Missouri in 1858 and married on 8-24-1862.
Elijah K., born 9-2-1833, married Martha Babb on 2-28-1855, then migrated to Missouri.

By 1840, three of John’s four daughters had married (or died) and left the household.
The youngest daughter, Sally, born c. 1828, is in her parents’ 1850 household. She does not marry in Greene County.

The next listing on Census page 47 is:
John Kilday and his wife, Jane Johnston, the daughter of John and Caty.

Six households away from John and Caty is Robert Sample Senior (age 60-70). His son, Robert Sample Junior, married Louisa Johnson in 1836 and Mary Johnson in 1839.
Louisa is believed to be the daughter of Joseph. Mary is believed to be the daughter of John. Mary and Robert Sample Junior appear in the 1840 Census on page 51, with one son, age 0-4 years. This son is Samuel P. Sample who is in the 1850 household of John and Caty Johnston. Samuel P. Sample later went to Missouri, serving in the Civil War.

Twelve households from John and Caty is Mercy Johnston Foster, John’s sister.
Page 8

THE SONS OF ZOPHER JOHNSTON SENIOR



John Johnson wrote his Will on 11-8-1854. The Will was probated on 2-5-1855.

Between the years of 1851 to 1858, John’s Widow, Caty, and six of their seven sons migrated to northern Missouri. Only their son, Landon Carter Johnson, born 8-21-1819, remained in Greene County, Tennessee.

By 1860, only two male descendants of Zopher Johns(t)on Senior lived in Greene County, Tennessee. One was Landon Carter Johnson (1819-1880), the son of John and Caty McKahen Johnson. The other was Cornelius Johnson (c. 1841 – 1863), the son of James Johnson (1812 TN – 1899 MO), and the grandson of John and Caty. Cornelius Johnson died during the Civil War.

By 1870, only one male descendant of Zopher Johns(t)on Senior, Revolutionary War Soldier, remained in Greene County, Tennessee. He was Landon Carter Johnson, who is buried at Cross Anchor Cemetery with his wife, Catherine Maloney Johnson.




Given the aforementioned limitations and resulting uncertainties of parentage, the Family Histories of our Johns(t)on Families are now undertaken. Perhaps new information will be subsequently found some day that will shed further light on the present ambiguities.


File name
File Size
ID1
Linked toFamily: Johnston/Harrison (F1228)

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