Thomas Johnson was living in Surry County, present day Stokes County, NC as early as 1774 and was appointed to serve as a member of Surry County Committee of Safety. Thomas gave his birth date as 1764 but no proof has been provided for the location of his birth. It is believed that he was born in Virginia and moved to North Carolina with his family as a small child. According to the Colonial Records of North Carolina, Thomas enlisted in 1779 and was discharged in December of 1779 serving 9 months of service during the Revolutionary War. I was able to locate him listed in the 10th Regiment of Quins Company. More information on the 10th Regiment.
Land Grants for Thomas Johnson are listed as follows:#562 was entered September 25, 1785 for 50 acres in Buck Island which is present day Hanging Rock area of Stokes County, NC. #569 entered September of 1787, an additional 50 acres in Buck Island. The third grant #764 contained a tract of land consisting of 100 acres lying on the banks of Buck Island Creek entered November 29, 1800. Thomas married Frances(Fanny) Boatright who lived near present day Mountain View, Stokes County. Thomas raised his family of 14 children as listed below.
William(3/1/1794-2/27/1883) married Temperance Kiser and is buried in Stokes County, NC
Thomas Jr.(1797-1864) married Elizabeth(1820-1842) served in Co. K, 148 Indiana Infantry during the Civil War
Catherine(Caty) married Larkin Hall. Traveled back to NC to visit her brother, William
Edmund(1814-1877) married Isabel(1814-?)
Pendleton(1815-1873) married Eliza(1824-?) Traveled back to NC in 1839 to visit his brother, William
Sara married George Brockus
Patsy married Byrum Harroll
Frank married Tempy Hall
Nancy married Joel Harroll
Francis living in Wabash County, Indiana in 1861
Poley married Curtis Hall
Washington married Fanny
The picture above portrays Buck Island Creek along the falls now located in Hanging Rock Park near present day Danbury, Stokes County. The nearest community settlement during the time the Johnson family lived in the area would have been Germanton, founded in 1790. Located 13 miles south of Danbury, this would have been the center of trade and obtaining goods to sustain the family through the seasons. Germanton is the oldest settlement in the area. Veterans of the Revolutionary War were offered incentives to settle in the area and Thomas Johnson was one among many who chose to do so.
Picture of Courthouse located in Germanton, NC circa 1898
Thomas made the decision to move his family to Indiana circa 1820 and I found him in Henry County after purchasing 80 acres in 1824. Many NC settlers moved to Indiana during this period for several reasons, mainly for the vast amount of land available for much lower prices. William, son of Thomas, did not travel with the family and it is recorded that William climbed a tree in order to watch his family leave as long as possible. Thomas lived in Henry County, Indiana until his death in 1846. He is buried in Dunreith Cemetery beside his wife, Frances.
During his lifetime, Thomas Johnson portrays to all of us his patriotism, principles, devotion to family and adventurous personality. The trip to Indiana during the 1820’s would have been a long and weary trip for the family. Endurance was proven as the family settled in Henry County and contributed to the community. I should note here, Thomas Johnson’s will was affirmed in open court on August 11, 1846 by Samuel Hoover, Clerk. Reuben Morris and Joseph Cox were listed as witnesses. Thomas mentioned all of his children and even mentioned his son-in-law. James Rose was to receive 1 dollar from Thomas’ estate and nothing more. No additional explanation for the inheritance of James Rose but I’m sure the reasons were very well known to the family at the time.
Below is a copy of a letter written by Pendleton Johnson and Thomas Johnson Jr. addressed to William Johnson in Stokes County, NC. It is dated June 18th, 1839.
Times is tolerable good at this time in our country. Corn is worth 37 1/2 cents per bushel, wheat is worth 75 cents per bushel, oats is worth 31 1/2 cents per bushel. Other articles about the same in propotion. We also inform you that it is uncommon healthy here at this time. We here of no one that is sick at all in the hole settlement. We have had a very fine spring and summer so far except for one nite we had a very hard frost that killed our frute.
A huge amount of these letters can be located at the Henry County Historical Society. Stay tuned for a more detailed description on William Johnson, son of Thomas, in the upcoming months.