Johnson Family

First Generation

Edward Johnson was probably born about 1638. His parents have been tentatively identified as Dr. Arthur Johnson of Aberdeen, Scotland, personal physician to King Charles II, and his second wife Barbara Gordon, but this has not been proved unequivocally. By 1677, Edward was in Blissland Parish, New Kent County VA, where he signed his name to a list of grievances presented to the King's Commissioners who had come to investigate the causes of the rebellion of that year. The date of his arrival in Virginia is uncertain, however. Births of four children are recorded in the new parish of St. Peter's, New Kent County, in the 1680s: Thomas, Elizabeth, Penelope, and Rachell. The mother of these children is named there only as Elizabeth, but there is some evidence that she was Elizabeth Walker, daughter of Alexander Walker of Aberdeen, who is known to have come to New Kent County. Two other children are listed in the St. Peter's parish book, Rebecka b. 1698 and Benjamin b. 1701. It is not clear whether these belong to Edward and Elizabeth, Edward and a second wife, or another Edward Johnson, perhaps an older son. Blissland Parish records before 1680 have been lost. Dr. Lorand Johnson adds to this list Anthony b. 1678, Arthur, Michael, and William b. 1703. The argument has also been made that Anthony and Arthur are in fact the same person, really Arthur, since the name for one comes from a birth record and the other from a marriage record. I have listed all these children and their likely spouses below.

Second Generation

Possible children of Edward Johnson and Elizabeth Walker

listed in St. Peter's parish records for Edward Johnson:

Thomas Johnson (1680-?)
Elizabeth Johnson (1682-?)
Penelope Johnson (1684-?) m. Christopher Clark (1681-1754)
Rachel Johnson (1686-?)
Rebecca Johnson (1698-?)
Benjamin Johnson (1701-?) m. Margery Massie

possible additional children:

Anthony Johnson (1678-?)
Arthur Johnson m. Margaret Phares
Michael Johnson m. Sarah ?
Sarah Johnson
William Johnson (1703-?) m. Ann Chew

Third Generation

Thomas, whose birth is recorded in 1680, was identified in Dr. Lorand Johnson's work as the Thomas Johnson who entered 182 acres of land on Stone Horse Creek at the corner of Christopher Clark in 1718 and who deeded 200 acres on Stone Horse Creek to his daughter Semiramis Johnson Paulett in 1734.

However, quite a few web sites make Semiramis the daughter of a different Thomas Johnson. For example, the Meriwether Society states that Thomas was born between 1690 and 1694 in "Chericoke", King William Co. VA, son of Richard Johnson b. 1627 and Susanna Duncombe, born 1664, and that he married Anne Meriwether about 1712. Semiramis is listed as their oldest child, born about 1712. Thomas is supposed to have died between 1734 and 1740 in Hanover Co. VA but to be buried at Chericoke.

Birth as late as 1694 crowds the likely dates a bit, but is possible, and since King William and Hanover counties are adjacent, there isn't necessarily a geographic problem here. My inclination is still to favor Thomas b. 1680 as father of Semiramis, but I would be grateful for documenation relevant to this question.

Fourth Generation

Semiramis Johnson had married Thomas Paulett of Hanover County VA by 1734, as indicated by the deed above. They are thought to be the parents of Ann Paulett, born probably about 1735, who married John Clark before 1771. Is this the same Thomas Paulett who married Elizabeth Christmas in Trinity Parish, Louisa County, in 1747? I suspect so, but would like proof. I should also note that the abstract of Thomas Paulett's 1771 will does not mention a daughter Ann Clark.


I am indebted for much of this material to Linda Starr, who leads a group of persons interested in Captain Christopher Clark and Penelope Johnson, and related families, and through her also to Doug Tucker, Suzanne Johnston, and others for additional information on the Johnson and Clark descendants.

Selected References Relating to The Ancestry of William and John Johnston, Colonial Friends (Quakers) of Virginia, by Lorand V. Johnson, M.D.

Bernard Schaaf, Biographical Sketches, Capt. Christopher Clark and Penelope Johnson Clark of Virginia, in Colonial Genealogist 11, 3-4 (1982) pp. 103-121

Chappelear, Nancy, and Hatch, Kate Binford, compilers, Abstracts of Louisa County, Virginia Will Books 1743-1801

Additional Resources

Colonial Virginia Connections, Linda Starr's site. LOTS of information on Clark, Johnson and associated families!

See especially the Johnson Reports page.

Colonial DNA Research Project, site by Harold Johnson, includes JOHNSON DNA project

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Elizabeth Harris,