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Thomas Johnson Jr
and Mary Polly Miller

Thomas Johnson Jr b about 1771 VA d 11 Aug 1866 Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; buried Jesse Johnson Cemetery, mouth of Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; s/o Thomas Johnson Sr and Sarah Greenfield. Thomas Johnson Jr m. 13 Feb 1817 to Mary Polly Miller b 1777 MD d 15 Sept 1853 Breathitt Co KY; buried Jessie Johnson Cemetery, Mouth of Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; Children of Thomas Johnson Jr and Mary Polly Miller;

1. George Johnson b 1792 m. 26 Aug 1813 Knox Co KY to Polly Waters

2. Jesse Johnson b Apr 1793 Sullivan Co TN d about 1880 Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; buried Old Jesse Johnson Cemetery, Rte 30, Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; m. Oct 1813 to Mary Polly Burns b 1795 Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY d Breathitt Co KY; buried Old Jesse Johnson Cemetery, Rte 30, Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; d/o Isaac Burns.

3. James Madison Johnson

4. Samuel Johnson

5. Mary Jane Johnson; m. 26 Oct 1819 to Joshua Mullins

6. Isaac Johnson

7. Thomas Johnson

8. Martha Patsy Johnson b about 1790; m. 31 Dec 1817 to Thomas Terry.

9. Elisha J "Red-Headed Lish" Johnson b 10 Dec 1802 Floyd Co KY d 12/19 Jan 1886 Breathitt Co KY; m. 7 Feb 1822 Floyd Co KY to Martha Patsy Tackett (aka Polley) b 12 Aug 1802 Knox Harlan Co KY d 26 Oct 1866 Breathitt Co KY; d/o William "Billy" Tackett Sr and Amy Anna Johnson.


Thomas Johnson Jr and
Philadelphia Delphia Carter

Thomas Johnson Jr b about 1771 d about 1866 Breathitt Co KY; buried Jesse Johnson Cemetery, mouth of Turkey Creek, Breathitt Co KY; s/o Thomas Johnson Sr and Sarah Greenfield. Thomas Johnson Jr m. Philadelphia Adelphia Carter. Children of Thomas Johnson Jr and Philadelphia Delphia Carter;

1. Fanny Johnson b 1807 Yadkin NC d 1881 Knott co KY; m. 5 Sept 1833 Perry Co KY to Humphrey Amburgey b 16 Feb 1800 Wilkes Co NC d 1848 Perry Co KY; s/o John Amburgey and Elizabeth Hammonds (aka Hammons).

2. Patsy Johnson m. 6 Feb 1817 Floyd Co KY to Thomas Terry

3. William Johnson b 1817 KY; m. 1848 to Nancy Ashley 1820 NC; d/o Jordan Ashley and Barbara Francis.

4. George Washington "Wash" Johnson b Jun 1818 VA d Knott Co Co KY; m. 23 Jul 1835 Perry Co KY to Sarah "Sally" Francis b 24 Nov 1815 VA d Knott Co KY; d/o Thomas Francis Jr and Jane Hammonds.

5. Artie Johnson b 1808 KY; m. 5 Aug 1830 Perry Co KY to Nicholas Smith b abt 1806; s/o Richard Smith and Aletia Combs.


Thomas Johnson Jr 1771

Source Thomas Johnson Jr b 1771 traveled with his father from N.C. to TN & VA where they had several residences. The Johnson clan finally made it into KY in 1808 where they are found on the Knox Co KY tax list. In 1816 the Johnsons made the move into the Long Fork area of Pike Co KY. Thomas Johnson Jr stayed there until his father's death in 1828 and then he moved to Missouri for a short time. He came back to KY in the early 1830s and settled in Breathitt Co KY where he spent his remaining years.


Five Old Persons Living
In a Memory Filled House
Uploaded September 22, 2012 by Craig Frazier
Letcher Co KY Genealogy on Facebook
Excerpt from Appalachian Heritage Magazine
About the Cabin and the Johnson Family

Five old persons were living in a house that is approximately two centuries old. They were living with the memories of their pioneer family that came over the mountains from the Yadkin River in North Carolina when Floyd County was a wilderness, full of game and savage Indians.

The old house stands near the mouth of Breeding’s Creek in Knott County, and living there are three brothers and two sisters: Patrick, John D., Sidney, Elizabeth, and Allie Johnson. Four are married. Patrick, the eldest is 83. Around them are memories. Looking down upon them from decades long past are portraits of their forbearers, some dressed in the formal clothes of the time. Pictures of Simeon Johnson (scholar, teacher, and lawyer), Fielding and Sarah Dotson Johnson hung from the walls. Fielding, a lawyer and a land owner was the first county attorney of Knott County when it separated from Floyd County and organized in 1884.

They slept in corded four poster beds that Sarah Dotson Johnson, wife of Fielding, brought to the old house as a part of the personality from the mansion house of Wise, Virginia. She was a daughter of Jackie and Lucinda Matney Dotson of Wise. Jackie was the first sheriff of Wise and when he died Mrs. Johnson’s part of the mansion house’s furnishings were brought to her home on Breeding’s Creek.

One of the corded, hand-turned beds is called The Apple Bed, another The Acorn, because an apple is carved on the end of each post of one and an acorn is carved on the posts of the other. One is finished with varnish by some Virginia craftsman, the other is unfinished. On them are coverlets, made by hands long since dead. They show you, these old people, pitchers, lacquered in gold from the Virginia Matney family, and table wear from the mansion house, which was actually the Dotson Hotel, one of the famous hostelries of southwest Virginia. There is the wedding plate, a large platter from which each Johnson bride and groom ate his or her dinner. When President Francis Hutchins of Berea College came a few years ago to see the antiques he went away and returned with an artist who sketched them. The old people prepared a giant turkey, and served him on the wedding plate.

Patrick Johnson stirs his fire in the ancient fireplace. You are sitting where elders prominent in early eastern Kentucky history sat, for the old house was a famous stopping place on the road from Whitesburg to McPherson (now Hindman), Prestonsburg, and Kentucky River towns. Circuit riding judges, lawyers, and court attachés of mountain circuit stayed there. Revolutionary War veterans stopped here as they pushed through the mountains in search of land. When Reverend Simeon Justice, a Revolutionary army drummer married Adelphia Carter Johnson, widow of Thomas, he lived here for a while and with ministers like William Salisbury and Electious Thompson, of early Floyd County, planned the founding of churches of their faith.

The exact date when the Johnsons came to eastern Kentucky is not known, but we know from historical records that Thomas Johnson, his wife Adelphia Carter Johnson, and his brothers Patrick and William Johnson immigrated from the Yadkin River by way of the Pound Gap sometime in the first decade of 1800. Patrick, one of the brothers, took up 50 acres of land on January 20th, 1806 on the Rockhouse fork. He was married on June 13th, 1813, to Anna Martin (born 1794), the daughter of William and Susannah Tudor Martin, who immigrated to right Beaver Creek between the years 1806-08. William Martin himself came directly from Virginia but may have had his origins in North Carolina where it is possible he knew the Johnsons on the Yadkin. Patrick and Anna settled on the Isaac fork of Beaver Creek.

Thomas and Adelphia Carter Johnson built the old house on the mouth of Breeding’s Creek, a tributary of Carr Fork of the Kentucky River, sometime in the early first decade of the 19th century. Originally, it was built on a high place near the side of a hill, but a “steep gut”, as oldsters called a steep hollow, was at the rear and it must have been sudden freshets that caused them to move it a hundred yards nearer the creek side. It was in Floyd County when it was built and moved. Later, by a successive creation of new counties, it has stood in three more: Perry, Letcher, and Knott.

Sons and daughters of Thomas and Adelphia were: George Washington, Artie, and Fanny. It was not a large family by pioneer standards, but with the many duties of a pioneer mother, added to that of a teacher, for Adelphia was the only woman of education in a wide section; life must have been indeed a busy one. She acted as scribe for the settlers, and as her family was closely associated with the founders of the Baptist faith in the mountains, she wrote church letters and correspondence.

Neighbors were far apart in this section of early Floyd County (now Knott). On Carr Fork lived the Francis family, Thomas Francis, of French origin, and his wife, Jane Hammonds Francis, Daughter of Thomas of Carr Fork. James Richie, an immigrant from England, in 1768 returned to Virginia, leaving his son Crockett Richie and his wife Susan Grigsby Richie. There, too was the family of John and Nancy Combs. We do not know the names of any of Adelphia Johnson’s pupils, but we may surmise, without fear of contradiction, that they were Richie’s, Francis’, and Combs’.

The sons and daughters of Thomas and Adelphia began to marry off. George Washington married Sarah Francis, daughter of Thomas of Carr Fork. Artie married Nicholas Smith, son of Richard, of Ary. Information as to whom William and Fanny married is unavailable. Thomas Johnson, builder of the old house, died in 1828 and is buried on the farm nearby.

Adelphia lived a widow some time, but was remarried to Rev. Simeon Justice October 1st, 1834. She had known him for years, he had officiated as minister at Johnson marriages, and stayed at the old house when he and other ministers were “riding the circuit” and organizing churches. It was he who with elder William Salsbury, of Floyd County, and Electious Thompson, organized the first Baptist churches in the section. There is evidence that the three formally organized one in Perry in 1809. In 1810 some 20 families with these three assembled at the home of Isaac Whitaker on the Kentucky River and organized the Indian Bottom Church. They set up another church organization August 13th, 1815, at the home of Stephen Caudill, near the mouth of Sandlick.

Rev. Simeon Justice was a drummer boy in the Revolutionary army, but it would have been incongruous to have such a statement in 1834 when he and Adelphia Johnson mounted horses for the trip to Hazard to get married. He weighed 400 pounds. Corroboration of his size exists in a great chair he had made for himself and in which two persons could sit with ease. The chair, now in the possession of Jethro Amburgey, of Hindman, was used by his descendants as a “courting chair”.

Simeon and Adelphia lived together for 12 years, but whether they lived in the old house on Breeding’s Creek a considerable length of time cannot be said. He owned land in the present Floyd County and it can be assumed that they moved to the Big Sandy River. As evidence that he lived on the Big Sandy, is that of Alexander Lackey of Prestonsburg who swore, to assist Simeon to procure a pension, that he had lived as a neighbor to him for nine or ten years.

Simeon grew old, began to lose his eyesight and but for the pension he had received, would have died in reduced circumstances. His old pension papers give us a resume of his Revolutionary service. He was born in Pittsburgh County Virginia, June 4th, 1765. The family moved to Rutherford County, North Carolina, but soon drifted farther south to Ninety-Six in South Carolina. His mother died there. Simeon was 12 years of age, Simeon, his brother John and his father John enlisted at Fort Rutledge in 1777. His brother John, who may have been slightly older, was appointed fifer and Simeon drummer of the company. Captain Benjamin Tutt gave the three a small amount of bounty money. He served most of his three year enlistment at Fort Rutledge but in February, 1780, was sent to Augusta Georgia. In May he was back at Fort Rutledge. His term of enlistment ended in June of that year but, times were very squally and it was thought imprudent to discharge the men at the fort. Squally they were indeed, for Fort Rutledge was captured by the British and Simeon was made a prisoner. He was paroled in July, 1780.

After his discharge he lived in South Carolina until 1795 when he moved to Tennessee and lived there four years. After that he moved to Buncombe County, North Carolina. In 1807, after eight years residence in North Carolina, he moved to the” Big Sandy River, Kentucky, where he has resided ever since.” This statement was made in 1832, two years before he married the widow Adelphia.

Although Adelphia Johnson was 47 years old and Simeon Justice was 69 at the time of their marriage, they attended church at the far-flung church outposts in the mountains; mostly at those he helped organize. Her son George Washington and Sarah Francis Johnson were living in the old house on Breeding’s Creek. As they traveled over the trails from Big Sandy to tributaries of the Kentucky River it may be assumed without much breach of historical accuracy that these two stayed nights at the old house with her son George.

Rev. Simeon Justice died January 16th, 1846, and his wife went to live with the sons and daughters. In 1853 she appeared in a Letcher County court, for the old house she and Thomas had built in Floyd County, had shifted successively to Perry, then Letcher by creation of new counties. In this Letcher County court appearance before Judge Green Adams she asked for a pension by reason of being the widow of a Revolutionary War soldier. She was inscribed upon the pension roll to begin February 3rd, 1853. On October 20th, 1855, she was a resident of Perry County for she appeared before a Justice of the Peace in order to receive bounty land. At this time she was 68 years of age. She died and was buried on Irishman Creek.

George Washington and Sarah Francis Johnson, who lived in the old house near the mouth of Breeding’s Creek, had eight sons and daughters: Fielding, called Babe, George, Leslie, Simeon, Sarah, Susan Thomas, and Adelphia, named for her grandmother, married Washington Combs.

The old house had now become a stopping place for persons traveling on the road to Whitesburg, McPherson (Hindman), Prestonsburg, or Hazard. In the years after Knott County was formed it became, with the Pud Breeding or Spencer Combs home, the favorite stopping place for traveling court attaches, especially between Whitesburg and Hindman. Patrick Johnson informs us that when he was a child he heard his father call to many a traveler: “Light and stay”. Or “Light and tell us the news”.

Fieldon Johnson began the study of law and taught school awhile. His practice was chiefly in the Whitesburg court until Knott County was formed, but some of his practice extended to Wise, Virginia. It was at Wise he met his wife, Sarah Dotson, daughter of the Wise sheriff.

Discussion of a new county to be composed of parts of Floyd, Perry, and Breathitt arose, centering chiefly in Whitesburg where Tom Fitzpatrick, a prominent lawyer lived. Fitzpatrick was present at Frankfort when the legislature authorized the new county. Sarcastically, a Louisville newspaper, remarked that Fitzpatrick stood, during legislative deliberations on the subject, looking over the shoulder of Robert Bates, the member from Letcher. In all the discussion leading up to the act creating the new county of Knott, Fielding Johnson was a strong advocate of it.

Few people lived in McPherson at this time. There was F.P. “Chick” Allen, storekeeper, and nearby lived Lewis Hays. The town that was to become Hindman boasted log houses and wagon roads that led out to Prestonsburg from which mule freighters hauled goods to Whitesburg by way of Carr Fork and near the home of George Washington and Fieldon Johnson, the road to Hazard, and a fourth leading towards Jackson. The fork of Troublesome, though, was soon to have its day in the sun.

When Fieldon Johnson rode into the newly created town of Hindman, Monday, July 7th, 1884, the commissioners to set up the new county, farmers from a wide area, and lawyers from other towns were present. Mountain whiskey flowed freely and imbibers partook in the manner in which it was given. Soon, the celebrants were drunk, dancing and shooting off their firearms. Personal affronts had to be settled by fisticuffs and the noise and hilarity increased until the commissioners moved to the home of Lewis Hayes to complete their work.

At the Hayes home argument waxed long and difficult. Bolling Hall from Beaver was designated as a committee of one to lay off Knott into magisterial districts. He refused to serve because he was being deprived of his office of assessor in Floyd. Finally, though, all the wrangling was over and Knott County was duly organized.

The Louisville Commercial July, 1885 states: “The close of the festivities at what became the town of Hindman was a fitting climax. The local Magistrate lay on his back in the sand, in the bottom of a dry creek, and was singing with all his might until he became too drowsy longer to make exertion. Many others lay on the grass.”

Fieldon Johnson became the first county attorney of Knott County and Lewis Hayes the first clerk. Fieldon continued to live on Breeding’s Creek while serving and when his father dies in 1904 he formally occupied the old house built by his grandfather, Thomas. It was chiefly Sarah Dotson Johnson who preserved for the present generation the many antiques of the old home. After Fieldon’s death she lived with memories of her people, of the Dotson’s and the Matney’s, and last but not least, of her husband’s people. One son, Simeon, married Sarah Francis and they are the parents of Willard “Sprout” Johnson, Who was at one time a member of the Carr Creek Indians and later was the coach for the basketball team.

Defeated Creek, a four mile long valley, enters Carr Fork almost exactly opposite the mouth of Breeding’s Creek. It received its name, Patrick Johnson tells us, back in pioneer days. There was an encampment of whites on Troublesome Creek and “Old Man Carr”, the only name by which the legend recalls him, and another man strayed on a hunting trip, to the valley and set up a crude shelter. In the night Indians attacked the camp and Old Man Carr and his companion, accompanied by their dogs, fled across the ice of the creek. A dog tripped Carr and he fell. Indians were upon him and he was scalped. The other man escaped. Thus the name of the little valley.

It is but a legend, containing perhaps some truth, but a story symbolic of the collective memories of the Johnson family and repeated by five old persons in an old house. Those memories encompass a century and a half. They live with these memories and to them they are priceless.


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