Sunday, September 28, 2014

Richardson Johnson 1820-1885 #52Ancestors #35

Richardson "Dick" Johnson is what I consider to be one of the most interesting ancestors on my husband's side of the family. He was born about 1820 in Alabama or Georgia. He had three wives and at least 14 children. Descendants of this family would be prime candidates for DNA testing!

He first appears in the 1840 census in Conecuh County, Alabama. This would have been with his first wife, Effa or Effie:

Series: M704 Roll: 2 Page: 276
Richardson Johnston
Under 5 0
5-10 0
10-15 0
15-20 0
20-30 1 (Richardson)
Under 5 1 (Agey)
20-30 1 (Effa)
 No slaves
Occupation agriculture

Richardson is not found in the Alabama 1850 census, but Effa and his children are still in Conecuh County:

Effie Johnson F 33 Georgia
Agey Johnson F 12 Alabama
Olley Johnson F 8 Alabama
Christopher Johnson M 10 Alabama
Richardson Johnson M 1 Alabama*
*Hard to determine. This is either a child named Richardson that died young, or Abram. If I'd have been Effa, I would have changed his name too.

So where is Richardson? It turns out he has disappeared with soon to be wife number two, who apparently he has been having an affair with for the last few years per the ages of their children on later censuses. He is not found in the 1855 Census either, but there is a possibility:

1855 Baldwin County, Alabama State Census:
Richardson, John 1 male over 21, 2 males less than 21, 1 female over 21, 1 female less than 21, total 5
 Effa is found with her children in the Mobile, Alabama 1855 State Census.
1855 Mobile County, Alabama State Census:
Johnston, Effa
2 males less than 21,
1 female over 21,
1 female less than 21,
Total 4, 3 children 8-16, 2 males 5-18, 1 female 5-18. Agey has either married or died.

Effa is not found again in the census. It is presumed that she died before 1860.
Richardson in the meantime married the "other woman", Mrs. Malinday Sorrels, on March 17, 1853 in Baldwin County, Alabama.
Note the Mrs. before Malinday

The note written on the side for those of you who dislike standing on their heads

In the 1860 census, Richardson is found in the Baldwin County Census with both Effa and Malinday's children:
1860 Baldwin County, Alabama Federal Census Stockton PO:
Johnson, Richardson – 36, male, GA, Occupation Overseer, Can't Read and write
Johnson, M. J. – 31, female AL, Can't Read and write
Johnson, Christopher – 16, male AL
Johnson, Olive – 14, female AL
Johnson, Mary – 13, female AL
Johnson, Abbe* – 11, female AL
Johnson, James – 10, male MS
Johnson, Monroe – 9, male AR
Johnson, Thomas – 5, male AL
Johnson, Catherine – 3, female AL
Johnson, Anette – 2, female AL
*Abe, Abram actually a male

As you can see from the birthplaces of the children, Richardson and Malinday had traveled at least as far west as Arkansas. Oral family history says that Richardson was wanted in Orange, Texas for cattle rustling before he came back to Alabama. Malinday appears to have died shortly after the 1860 census.

Once again relying on family stories, while Richardson was married to Malinday, a "wild Indian girl" came riding up on horseback to Blakeley. This is not exactly out of the realm of possibility, as the area nearby contained (and still does) many Creek Indian families. The Poarch Creek Tribe is nearby. The Indian girl's name was Mary Ann LaBonte. Richardson and Malinday took her in and finished raising her as their own child, but when Malinday died, Richardson married Mary Ann.

On April 5, 1863 Richardson married Mary Ann LaBonte at his home by C. W. Wilkins, Judge of Probate. Mary is the "wild Indian girl" of family legend. She was either the daughter or wife of Augustus Labonte of Canada. She is found in his household in the 1850 census:
1850 Baldwin County Alabama Census, Division 2, 91B, Household 174
Lebonte, Augustus 38 M Carpenter 200 England (1860 and 1870 have Canada)
Lebonte, Mary A 17 F Ala
Interesting (to me at least) is a marriage for "Augustus La Bontee" and Miss Mary Ann Toler dated December 25, 1847 in Baldwin County. If this is the same Mary Ann, she would have only been 15.

Richardson fought for the Confederacy in the Rives' Supporting Force, 9th Congressional District, Alabama. 

Richardson is found in the 1866 Alabama State Census with Mary Ann:
1866 Baldwin County, AL State Census:
Johnson, Richardson – 54, male
Johnson, Mary Ann – 36, female
Johnson, Christopher – 21, male
Johnson, Abraham – 18, male
Johnson, Monroe – 16, male
Johnson, Thomas – 14, male
Johnson, Catherine – 12, female
Johnson, Joel – 4, male

1870 Baldwin County, AL Federal Census:
Johnson, Richard – 52, male AL, Occupation Wood Chopper
Johnson, Maryan – 35, female AL
Johnson, Thomas – 15, male AL
Johnson, Catharine – 13, female AL
Johnson, Joel – 6, male AL
Johnson, Willis – 2, male AL
Johnson, Christopher – 27, male AL
Johnson, Hannah – 18, male AL
Johnson, Monroe – 20, male AL

1880 Baldwin County, AL Federal Census, Sibleys Mill, Baldwin County:
Johnson, Richardson – 60, male AL, GA, NC
Johnson, Marion – 46, female, wife, AL, AL, AL
Johnson, Joel – 16, male, son, AL, AL, AL
Johnson, Willis – 12, male, son, AL, AL, AL
Johnson, Richardson Jr. – 8, male, son, AL, AL, AL
Johnson, Mary E. – 4, female, daughter, AL, AL, AL

This is from a taped conversation in 1984 by Candy Rider Johnson:
"I have a faint remembrance of that old man. I don't ever remember talking to him because I was always scared of him. He was blind and wore dark glasses and a big old black hat and used a walking stick. Walter's people lived at the Mixon place, up above the [Johnson] cemetery where the Murphy's live now. We use to come to visit Mama's family in Bromley and I would get Papa to stop there on the way to get some water from the bored well that belonged to Walter's family. I would pretend that I wanted water. They had crepe myrtle trees there that were in bloom and I was always crazy about flowers. I would want a bouquet of those flowers and Walter's mama [Mary Jane Curry Johnson] would always tell one of the boys to go up a tree and get me some flowers, and they would. I can remember him [Walter's grandpa] sitting on that porch. He was a big old man, not fat, but strong. He was blind and some say he dressed like an Indian.
I think he had about three wives. He married an Indian girl. They said she was wild and he caught her. That was Walter's grandmother...They said he hid buttermilk in a jug and drank it like water and he hung it up in a tree where the Johnson Cemetery is. You know he owned all that land, from that creek down there nearly back to Bay Minette. That's how all them Johnson's got their tracts of land, it was left to them by him...They said he went meet the boat down here for a bale of flour and they made a mistake and gave him sugar instead. He put it over his shoulders and walked back to Whitehouse. When he got home he discovered it was sugar, not flour, so he put it back over his shoulders and took it all the way back to the boat. They say he was a mighty man and strong."
This artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain.

In the same conversation, her husband Ralph Johnson says, "I can't remember if Papa [John Richardson Johnson] told me this or not, but somebody told me that Grandpa Dick Johnson was a cow rustler over about Orange, Texas. The law got after him and he had to run so he came down here to Old Blakeley. I went to see Howard Henderson and he said he had heard that also."

As well as I and other Johnson researchers can determine, these are Richardson's children by his three wives:

By Effa – born about 1817 GA; died 1855-1860 probably Mobile, AL:

1. Agey – born about 1838 AL; died unknown
2. Christopher – born June 17, 1841 Gravella, Conecuh County, AL; died April 27, 1919 Bromley, Baldwin County, AL; married Hannah D Miller
3. Olive – born about 1845 AL; died 1880-1900 probably Baldwin County, AL; married John Andrew Price
4. Abram "Abe"/Richardson– born about 1849 AL; died Dec. 26, 1881 Sibley’s Mill, Baldwin County, AL; married Alice Hardee. (Abe could possibly be the son of Maliday)

By Mandilou/Mandilen/Malinday White Sorrels – born about 1829 AL; died 1860-1863 probably Baldwin County, AL:

1. Mary Frances – born June 6, 1847 AL; died January 2, 1914 Rawls Springs, Forrest County, MS; married Isaac Newton Purvis. (It is also possible Mary Francis was the daughter of Malinday's husband Sorrels)
2. James – born about 1850 MS; died 1860-1866 probably Baldwin County, AL
3. William Monroe "Roe" – born about 1851 Arkansas; died February 24, 1908 White House Fork, Baldwin County, AL; married Tempy Johnson
4. Thomas Edward "Eddie"– born September 1855 AL ; died November 5, 1942 Bay Minette, Baldwin County, AL; married Emmaline Wright and Lillie Weaver
5. Mary Catherine – born May 9, 1857 Baldwin County, AL ; died March 3, 1924 Bromley, Baldwin County, AL; married Thomas Archie Quinley
6. Anette – born 1858 AL ; died 1860-1866 probably Baldwin County, AL

By Mary Ann Labonte – born about 1833 AL; died before 1900 probably Baldwin County, AL:

1. Joel M. "Piggy"– born August 10, 1864 Baldwin County, AL; died March 6, 1924 Bay Minette, Baldwin County, AL; married Sarah Annis Allen and Isabel "Belle" Douglas
2. Willis Norman "Buddy"– born July 17, 1868 Baldwin County, AL ; died October 12, 1926 Gulfport, Harrison County, MS; married Anna Braxton
3. John Richardson "Pid" – born May 10, 1872 Baldwin County, AL ; died April 7, 1953 Crossroads, Baldwin County, AL; married Mary Jane Curry
4. Mary Aline "Lena" – born August 16, 1875 Baldwin County, AL; died December 21, 1942 Rabun, Baldwin County, AL; married Andrew Wiley Wilson**my husband's great grandmother**

Death certificates of the children were not a lot of help sorting these out. There were a lot of "don't know" entries for parents. Two of them give interesting clues though.
Mary Frances – parents given as Richard Johnson & Mandilou White (the missing maiden name for Malinday)
Willis – parents given as Richard Johnson & Mary Ann Tolle (Toler was the maiden name of the Mary Ann that married Augustus LaBonte)

Richardson is responsible for a large part of the Johnson population of Baldwin County, Alabama. He is buried in the Johnson Cemetery, White House Fork, Baldwin County, Alabama.