VERSA LAVERT JOHNSON
Born March 15th 1878 and was the 2nd child of William Harrison Johnson and Nancy Wood
Versa Johnson married a Norwegian or Swede, Rongna, whose sister Necolena (same name as Thelma's and Harriet's "Cherokee" name) Rivers was reported to be the first woman osteopath in North Central Texas, according to Thelma. Thelma said the family called Rongna "the foreign woman," so there must have been some tensions there. Versa was reported to be living in Liberty, Texas, at the time of Claud's death in March of 1949. Versa and Rongna (this is spelled several ways--do not know which was correct) had Clinton, Vernon, Ruby, and Ruth Thelma. Clinton became a Customs Agent.
When Versa was fourteen and walking home from work one day, he saw a girl with her feet still kicking as she hanged from a tree. He was frightened and rushed the short distance home to get his father. When they returned, she had quit kicking. Thomas and Versa cut her down as quickly as they could, but she was dead. Versa worried afterward that if he had tried to get her down alone rather than seeking his father's help, he might have been able to save her life. To her dress was pinned a note on which she had written a poem which said she was hanging herself because the one she loved had left her for another. The poem became a folk song called "The Weeping Willow Tree," according to information in the possession of Jolene Doering, granddaughter of Venice Johnson Sanders.
The Weeping Willow Tree
My heart is broken. I'm in sorrow. Oh, bury me beneath the willow,
Weeping for the one I love. 'Neath the weeping willow tree,
I know I never more will meet him And there he'll weep for me
Til we meet in heaven above. Spread o'er my grave a snow white lily,
Tomorrow was our wedding day. So to prove my love was true
God only knows where he is. And tell him that I died to save him
He's gone away to love another For his love I could not win.
And leave me here to grieve.
He told me he did not love me
How could I believe it's true.
An angel whispered softly saying
He will prove untrue to you.