Submitted By: Jerry Johnston




The Johnston's were of pure Anglo-Saxon stock and immigrated to Ulster County, Ireland, from Scotland after Cromwell conquered Ireland. They were followers of John Knox and were known as Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.

This family is credited with being descendants of the Johnston's of Annandale, Scotland. Truth to this as the old farm in Monroe Co, what is now Loudon County, TN, on which Joseph Johnston is said to have have lived his last years and where his son, Ebenezer, lived was called "Annandale." Josiah Johnston, another son of Joseph Johnston, also named his estate in Bradley County, TN, "Annandale."

Josiah Johnston was born in Ireland, where his children are said to have been born. We don't know if he ever came to America, but his children all came and are listed in the book "Notable Southern Families" written in 1921 by Armstrong. These children came to Paxton, Lancaster County, PA, where Josiah's brothers were living.  Josiah Johnston became the father of eight children. One by his first wife, Jean Shaw, we believe, a son John. By his second wife, he had Francis, William, Margaret, Nancy Agnes, Jean, Jane and Joseph Johnston.

John Johnston and his brothers first settled in Pennsylvania, then John and Joseph went to Rockbridge Co., Virginia, where John married his first wife, Esther Hamilton. She was born and died in Virginia. Children of this marriage were Samuel, Margaret and John H. John remarried, to Jane Henderson, we believe, and had Jane, William, Nancy Agness and Ann. John and family moved to Washington Co, TN about 1788. John lived and owned land in Washington Co, Knox Co and Blount Co, TN. He died about 1806 probably in Knox Co, TN

Joseph Johnston went to South Carolina and married Margaret Graham. They had eleven children and in about 1792 moved to Blount Co, Tenn.

Samuel Johnston was born 9 August 1766 in Rockbridge Co, Virginia. He died 11 August 1846 in Monroe Co, TN. He is buried in Rockville Cemetery, Monroe Co, with his wife Nancy Shaw Johnston. Nancy Shaw Johnston was born while crossing the ocean, with her parents Samuel and Margaret Johnston Shaw. She was born in 1777 and died in Monroe Co, Tn. The Shaw family moved to Washington Co, TN in 1786, where Samuel died in 1794. Their children were Sarah, Samuel, Francis and Nancy.  Samuel and Nancy Johnston were married in 1790 in Washington Co, TN. Their children were; John Hamilton, Samuel McMillan, Esther Hamilton, Margaret, William E., Francis Hume, James Harvey, Josiah K, Hamilton and Anna.  Samuel Johnston's family moved first to Blount Co about 1800 and were members of Big Springs Church. They then moved to Monroe Co about 1823 and were members of Fork Creek Church. Samuel owned thousands of acres of land in Monroe Co., including Starr's Reservation. He built many of the old homes in this area for his children. Many are still standing. The Dougherty family live in an old house that is said to be the oldest Samuel Johnston home. The old Johnston farm, consisted of 584 acres, is located on the old Highway 68 between Sweetwater and Madisonville. The house faces south which faces the old road. The Johnston family sold the old farm at auction March 27, 1868 to Johnston W Howard. Samuel also donated two acres to the "Succeeder Church where the "Suceder" meeting house now stands. It is now called Glenrock or Rockville Church.  The Rockville Cemetery is located in what is now called the Fork Creek Community, NE of Sweetwater, TN, on the Sweetwater-Vonore Road. This cemetery was started by the Presbyterian Church, and is now maintained by the descendants of those interred there. This cemetery was formerly the churchyard of the Associate Presbyterian Church but the Cumberland Presbyterian Church is now near it.

William E Johnston, was born 2 January 1796 in Washington Co, TN and died 7 October 1839 in Monroe Co, TN. He is also buried in Rockville Cemetery, Monroe Co, TN. William E. married Nancy Findley in 1820, Blount Co. His children were; Samuel Hamilton, James H, Jr, Sarah A, Esther, Findley G, Louisa, Elizabeth and Lucinda.

Findley G Johnston was born in 1834 in Monroe Co. and died in 1877 in Rushville Co, Illinois. His wife was Catherine Yates Johnston, born about 1838 in N.C. and died in Rushville Co, Illinois, also. They were married in 1851 in Monroe Co, TN and left right away with her parents John and Elizabeth Guy Yates to Rushville Co, Illinois. While in the service of his country, he was in Co G, 149th Illinois Infantry. While stationed in Dalton, Georgia, in 1866, he requested a leave of absence of six days to visit his friends at Sweetwater TN. The leave of absence was granted.

The life of these early Scotch-Irish settlers in remote Tennessee revolved tightly around the church. It provided spiritual leadership, a point of social activity and it governed the moral life of the community. Our people living in Blount, Monroe and McMinn counties belonged to the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. This group, also referred to as "Seceders," was strict, allowing no musical instruments in the church. Only the human voice was heard, singing the Psalms, on the Sabbath Day not even a piano in a home was heard. Unnecessary work, using musical in instruments, travel by wagon or horseback (except to and from services) on Sunday, was strictly prohibited.

Jerry L. Johnston

Swanton, OH

Will Book B Monroe Co, Tenn #34

Josiah K Johnston, exec 13 August 1861. To wife Clarissa, to children, older children; Billie Prator Sneed to be considered as one heir to be governed by charges against his father and 

taken out of his part of the estate; great part of worth came by wife.

County Court Monroe Co, Tenn #447

Clarissa Johnston-will of Josiah K Johnston (widow Clarissa) copy of will dated 13 August 1861; E C, C J, and Esther S Johnston, minor children of Josiah. Widow contests the will. 

County Court Monroe Co, Tenn #44

Application for dower by Elizabeth Johnston, widow of James Harvey Johnston, who died 10 Dec 1864.

County Court Monroe Co, Tenn #286, 315,459 pg 141

Dec, 1867 John H Johnston et al vs. Elizabeth C Russell et al; division and sale of lands of James H Johnston, dec'd, into three farms, including the dower of the widow, now the wife of Ephiaim Sawtell, Gdn ad litem(?) appointed for Sarah M and Columbus M Johnston.

Hiwassee District Entries of Monroe Co, Tenn #437

9 January 1829 Hu Smith assigns entry in Monroe Co to Josiah Johnston, Exec. of Francis Johnston, dec'd; 21 April 1838, Josiah Johnston assigns to Joseph and George Johnston, heirs of Francis Johnston, dec'd.

20 Sept 1847 #406 Chancery Court Record Monroe Co, Tenn

Ex Parte. Petition of Heirs of Sam'l Johnson to sell lands. Filed Sept 20, 1847

To the Honorable Thomas L Williams Chancellor sitting in the Eastern Division of Tennessee.

Humbly complaining your Orators and Oratrixes John H Johnston who is a citizen of  

the county of Polk and State of Tennessee, Samuel Johnston and Josiah Rowan & his wife Esther formerly Esther Johnston of the county of McMinn & state aforesaid, Samuel Johnston & Margaret his wife Francis H Johnston, Josiah R Johnston, James H Johnston & Hamilton Johnston & Samuel H Johnston, citizens of Monroe County, & James H Johnston, jr, Sarah A, Esther, Findly S, & Eliza J Johnston, Minors, who sue and appear by their guardain Hamilton Johnston, and are citizens of said county, and all the heirs and representatives of Samuel Johnston, deceased, and Nancy Johnston widow and relict of the said Samuel Johnston, deceased, who departed this life the Eleventh day of August, 1846. Represent unto your Honor that the said Samuel Johnston, deceased, in his life time and at the time of his death was seized and possessed of a certain tract or parcel of land lying in the said county of Monroe & state aforesaid, & known & described as follows, to wit, one tract lying in Bradly County, in the Ocoee District situated in the second range west of the basis line, first fractional township, north, thirty sixth section, containing 160 acres. Also forty acres adjuent(?) to the same lying in the South East corner of the South West Quarter of said section. One other, in Monroe county tract known as Starr's Reservation, excepting out of the same a part of said Reservation conveyed to Jos Walker, another part conveyed to F H Johnston, another part to James H Johnston,and a part conveyed to H Johnston, leaving three hundred acres more or less. One other tract of fifty acres more or less bounded by the lands of Joseph Hunt & Hamilton Johnston & Joseph Walker adjoining the last mentioned tract part bought of Robt Ferguson & part entered by said Sam'l Johnston dec'd.

Your Orators & Oratrixes would further represent that the said Sam'l Johnston did not make any disposition of his property by will & that they are trustees & distributees, being his children & entitled to equal shares in his estate, excepting Samuel H Johnston & the said minors, to wit James H Johnston, Sarah A Johnston, Esther Johnston, Findley S Johnston & Eliza J Johnston who are the grandchildren of the said Sam'l Johnston and children of William E Johnston whose share in said estate they represent.

Your Orators & Oratrixes further represent that the said lands owing to the great number of heirs concerned in interest cannot be divided between them to advantage or with fairness, that the water Etc upon the same cannot be given equally to all and some parts of the land would be nearly valueless by itself. They therefore pray that the dower of the widow in the premises be first laid off & assigned to her in the said lands by commissioners duly appointed for that purpose. And that then the interests of the said heirs be sold under an order of his honorable court for the benefit of your Orator & Oratrixes as well the part of which they will have possession as of the remainder in them of the part assigned for dower, They further pray that the Guardian or some other person in interest be permitted to sell the same to save difficulty & expense.

They further pray that the same be sold upon the terms following, that is to say upon the payment of one third of the purchase money in hand. One third in one year from sale & one third in two years.And that said sale be made as soon after the assignment of dower as the  same can be properly advertized. And such other & further relief in the premises as the case may require.

Heiskell Sol.

Other Court cases and articles:

Roane Co. Tn Chancery March 7, 1830
RoaneCo. Tn Chancery April 2, 1830
Roane Co. Tn Chancery April 19, 1830
Roane Co. Tn Chancery April 9, 1830
Johnston Family reunion in 1930
"Old Scrapbook" on Johnston home

Related Families

County Court Monroe Co, Tenn #126

Jan 1866 Petition of Samuel Henderson and F M Johnston to have will of Joseph Henderson transferred to Circuit Court; Samuel Henderson is brother and F M Johnson is nephew to said Joseph, who died without issue and whose mother and father are dec'd; Court rules that  will, be transferred.

Circuit Court Monroe Co, Tenn #576

John H Johnston vs Samuel Henderson and F M Johnston; a paper purporting to be the last will of Joseph Henderson, dec'd, sent by County Court for reprobate upon an issue of devisarit vel non; the portion willed to Esther Johnson to be divided equally between her daughters, Margaret Ann and Scynthia Johnson; signed 19 August 1865; the defendants, Samuel Henderson and F M Johnson, Two of the heirs of said Joseph Henderson, say writing is not last will; Jury finds for defendants.

Circuit Court Monroe Co, Tenn #430

May, 1850 Joseph Walker, Adm. of Polly Walker, dec'd, David P Walker, John A Rowan and wife Mary, James H Johnston and wife Nancy, Jehu Cunningham and wife Sarah, heirs of Polly Walker, petition to sell slaves.

8 Jan 1856 Deed Monroe Co, Tenn #250

Elizabeth L McElrath and husband to J H Gaut; Elizabeth's 1/7 undivided part of Gideon Morgan Reservation at mouth of Citico Creek in Monroe Co, and also 1/2 undivided land in  McMinn Co, at mouth of Eastanallee Creek known as Walker's Mill Reservation, which was given to John Walker Sr., by the U.S. by treaty with Cherokee Indians and the same land upon which Margaret and John Effort now lives.

August, 1843 Deed Monroe Co, Tenn

James K, Andrew J, George B, Archibald and Sarah A Duncan to Hamilton Johnston; Obligation Bond; have sold interest of William A Duncan, a minor, in land of his father, Samuel Duncan.  



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