With Allied Families Included


Edited by Carolyn Johnson Smith


Note:  This began as an attempt to record the oral history of Pearson/Pierson Madison Johnson as told to his children.  As it expanded through research, correspondence with family members, and correspondence with other genealogists of this and allied families, it has grown to include many branches of this family.  Where material supplied by other people is used, an attempt has been made to give each person credit for his or her contribution.


William Harrison & Nancy Wood Johnson.jpg

William Harrison Johnson, was born in Georgia on January 18, 1818, and his wife Nancy was born in South Carolina in 1822, according to the 1850 and 1860 census records.  On the death certificate of Thomas Vestal Johnson, his mother's maiden name is given as Wood.  According to Cliff Hill, Nancy Wood and William H. Johnson were married in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on 15 January 1839. 



The Wood Family


 Henry Wood, Jr., was the son of Rev. Henry Wood, Sr. and Susan Mayfield Wood and was born 19 July 1786 in Warren County, North Carolina.  Henry, Jr., moved to Georgia where he married Nancy Ford.  He died 15 August 1873 in Cherokee County, Georgia.


Henry Wood, Sr., was the son of Penuel (Pennell/ Pennuwell) and Constance "Conney" Wood and was born 16 December 1756 in Granville, Bute County (which later became part of Warren County), North Carolina.   Penuel Wood was born circa 1733 to William and Mary Wood of Virginia, and the family moved from Lunenburg County, Virginia, between the time he was listed as a deed witness on 16 January 1752 and on 8 October 1754 he was listed on the muster roll of a militia regiment in Granville

County, North Carolina.  Sometime between 15 October 1770 when Penuel sold his 100 acres of land for 30 pounds to his brother Bennett, and 15 July 1774 when Penuel purchased land on Broad River including an island, Penuel moved from North Carolina to South Carolina.  In 1800, he was conveyed 1300 acres of land by governor John Drayton of South Carolina.  Penuel's will is recorded in Spartanburg County, dated 3 June 1809, and it is believed he died around 1810.


            J. Glenn Wood and Robert D. Wood in Our Time In History: This Wood Family, state that it is believed that Henry and his family lived with his parents until about 1800.  Henry first married Susan Elizabeth Mayfield in 1777 and they had eleven children:  Ann, John, Elizabeth, Mary, Henry Jr., Daniel, Charity, James, Lotty, Mahalah, and Isham.  After the death of his first wife in 1800, Henry later married Nancy Burns/Burnes about 1818 and they had three children:  James D., Nancy, and Lucinda.  Henry Wood, Sr., applied for pension under Act of 7 June 1832, pension application R-11, 785:45590-160-55, on 19 March  1833 when he was a resident of Spartanburg District.  In that application he stated that he enlisted in the 3rd North Carolina Militia and served in the Revolutionary War a greater part of his tour, then substituted Richard Thomas of Wake County to take his place.  For this, he gave Mr. Thomas a valuable mare and cash, according to the agreement, the value of 1200 pounds of tobacco.  Henry Wood served another tour, but became ill and furnished a Mr. James to take his place for two horses valued at $27.10 and four yards of homespun  cloth.  Henry was at  the Battle of Bunker Hill and was at the surrender of Cornwallis.


            When he was about thirty (circa 1786), Henry Wood moved to Georgia until after 1810, when he returned to South Carolina.  The church begun by Rev. Wood is now Woods Chapel Methodist Church at Greer, Spartanburg County, South Carolina.   Many descendants of the Wood family are still members of the congregation.  According to information from Bill Glenn, both Henry and Nancy Wood are buried at Woods Chapel.  Bill Glenn, who lives at Taylors, South Carolina, is a descendant of Rev. Henry Wood.  As demographics shifted due to the industrialization of the area, the membership has dropped.  The church is still in good repair and has a memorial dedicated to Rev. Wood.  The original chapel has been replaced by a modern red brick structure which is within site of a large Mercedes Benz plant.


            Henry Wood, Jr., married Nancy Ford and they moved to Georgia.  This couple is thought to be the parents of Nancy Wood.  Nothing is known yet of the parents of Nancy Ford.


            The 1850 Georgia census shows William and Nancy Johnson in DeKalb County for a time.  Later, but before the birth of James in 1855, Nancy and William Johnson moved to Rome, Georgia, (Floyd County).  According to the NORTHWEST GEORGIA HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Page 18, Vol. 25, No. 4, William died on 9 March 1899, and is buried in the Oakland Cemetery at Kingston Avenue and Church Street in Rome, Georgia.  Several other family members are also buried in this cemetery, including Nancy Johnson who died 2 Jan 1912 in Rome, Georgia, according to Cliff Hill. 

According to records located by Donald Johnson, the parents of William H. Johnson were William Bailey and Leatha C. Hardeman Johnston.


            According to census records and records supplied by Cliff Hill and taken from an old family Bible in the possession of W. H. "Bill" Johnson of Cartersville, Georgia, the children of Nancy and William Harrison Johnson, all born in Georgia, were: 


o   William Riley, born 11 July 1842 who married Julia V. Waters on 13 Sept 1868 and who died 3 Dec 1893;

o   Robert J., born 30 Jun 1843;

o   Thomas Vestal, born 31 July 1844(45) whose life events are covered below;

o   Parmelia C. Wood, born 15 Oct 1847 and died 3 Sept 1859; Sallie, born 1848(?) and died 17 June 1870;

o   Martha Anjeline, born 10 Sept 1849 who married Guice Winfield on 22 Oct 1874 and died 14 Dec 1925;

o   Frances Gertrude, born 14 Aug 1852 and married John Arrenton May on 26 Nov 1871 and died 27 May 1936;

o   James Healy, born 19 Sept 1855 who married Ophelia Nailor on 13 Nov 1879(81) and died 2 May 1942;

o   John Wesley, born 18 June 1857 who married Mattie K. Matthews on 9 Nov 1879 and died 15 Oct 1923; and

o   George Hillyer, born 5 Apr 1859 who married Ardecie Louisa   May on 26 Nov 1884 and died 17 Aug 1935. 


Those children born before 1855 were born in Dekalb County, Georgia.  James Healy Johnson and the children following him were born in Chattooga County, Georgia before it was divided and the part in which they lived became Floyd County.  Some researchers believe this is in error and that Sallie was Parmelia’s nickname.


            When the Civil War began, William and his sons Riley and Thomas joined the Sardis Volunteers of Company G of the 6th Cavalry of the Confederacy.  William, a Private, was wounded and was in a prisoner of war camp and hospital.  Thomas was so young that he was a bugle and water boy, and was captured and paroled. He was wounded in the thigh and in the arm, and lost a finger.  Robert J. Johnson served in the 22nd Georgia Cavalry.  According to Luda Johnson in a letter to Jolene Doering,  the Johnsons owned a big plantation with a lot of slaves before the war.  When Thomas came home from the war, they had lost everything except one mule and a seventeen-year-old former slave.  The former slave killed the mule rather than let his former owner have the animal.  Thomas Vestal Johnson did not say what happened to the former slave, only that he would never kill another mule.  Luda says, "so we can just guess what happened to him."


Some researchers believe that William Harrison Johnson’s cousins, who were the line related to Lyndon B. Johnson, coerced William into enlisting in the Confederacy with the threat that if he did not, his home and crops would be burned and family killed.  No one knows, but William did not serve long before he walked away from a Union prison hospital and went home. Yet in a photo taken in his later years, William appears to be wearing his Confederate uniform. The photo was taken at the home of William and Nancy’s youngest son, George Hillyer, who lived in Rome, Georgia, at the corner of Broad and Peachtree Streets.



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