200. James JOHNSON was born in 1740 in , , Virginia. He died in 1839 in , Harrison, Ohio. Pennsylvania Ranger in the Revolutionary War and lived to be 107 years old. Several stories of the frontier life of this family are available. Resident of West Virginia during Revolutionary War. May have been born 1732. In his religious affiliations James Johnson was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and several of his sons were ministers.
James Johnson lived in Ohio from 1785 to 1839. First Virginia and then the United States tried to prevent adventurous whites from settling across the Ohio river on Indian lands. In 1779, it was reported that settlers were moving across the river contrary to law, and hence Virginia declared that no such settler had "any right of preemption" there and that the Governor should remove them under penalty of forfeiting such right altogether. That same year Capt. Clark was sent with 60 men to drive trespassers out of the forbidden territory. On June 15, 1785, Congress issued a proclamation against "unwarrantable intrusions" until the lands could be surveyed and opened for sale.
Among the "intruders" driven out by the troops of Colonel Harmar at Fort McIntosh was Thomas Johnson, a brother of James Johnson. Not many of the settlers left, and if they did they soon returned with others. If James Johnson's family was not one of those expelled in the spring of 1785, they arrived in the summer or fall of that year. He sold his farm in Westmoreland County, Pa., "with the expectation of acquiring larger possessions farther west" to provide for his "large family". Crossing the Ohio river he "bought some improvements on what was called Beach Bottom Flats, two and a half miles from the river" about three or four miles up Short Creek. He expected to hold the land "by improvement-right under the Virginia claim".
All his life James Johnson had been a frontiersman - first in Virginia, then in Maryland and later in Pennsylvania. His life had been full of stirring events and hardships. He had served in two wars, the French and Indian War and the War of Independence. He had undergone all the tests of skill and endurance of a Ranger on the frontier and had been in many an encounter with dusky foes. Strong, fearless and ambitious for his family, he was lured westward where land was cheap and fertile. The "improvements" which he bought probably meant a small log cabin with a few acres of cleared land. To take his family thru the wilderness from Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, to Jefferson County, Ohio, was no easy task. The youngest of his large family was a daughter of five and the eldest a son of perhaps twenty-three. With two horses, a cow, and such farm implements and household articles as they could carry, they made their way to the banks of the Ohio, and then crossed it to their new home on Short Creek.
Carpenter's Fort had been built on Short Creek to protect the few families in the neighborhood from the troublesome Indians. Life was crude, simple and difficult. Additional fields had to be cleared, fenced and planted before crops could be grown to carry them thru the coming winter. The log cabin had to be enlarged and log barns built for the live stock. Food and clothing had to be secured for the large family. There was plenty of hard work for James and his grown children. The Indians stole their horses and cattle, and killed a number of persons. It was quite as important to know how to use a rifle as to swing an ax. Within a few years with the help of the grown sons, productive fields were teeming with crops of corn, beans and buckwheat; a garden was providing vegetables; the buildings were made comfortable, and the spinning wheel and loom were humming.
In all of the histories of Jefferson and Harrison Counties, James Johnson is named among the early settlers. Hunter in his "Pathfinders of Jefferson County" gives his name among the early settlers of Steubenville town and township. Another place he says "Among the early settlers were : John Tilton, Joseph Tilton, James Johnson (father of the heroic Johnson boys)", etc. He and his sons took their rifles to join with their neighbors in resisting many an attack by the Indians. Only three years after their arrival occurred the familiar adventure of two of his younger sons with the red chief and his companion. Extended hunting trips were taken into the interior of the country for game and pelts. James Johnson was well known as an Indian scout and guide.
In 1793, when he was passed sixty years of age, James Johnson was sent out from Fort Henry block house at Wheeling, Virginia, with Capt. William Boggs, Robert Maxwell, Joseph Daniels and a ___ Miller to explore the headwaters of Stillwater Creek, now in Harrison County. At night they were surprised by the Indians. Capt. Boggs was scalped after being shot. His companions fled, Johnson and two others succeeding in reaching the block house.
The same year while in camp on McIntire Creek with ___ McIntire and John Layport, two neighbors, the Indians attacked them. James Johnson was captured after a hard struggle but his two companions were killed. He was taken to Sandusky and cruelly punished by the savages. Forced to run the gauntlet, he barely escaped with his life. Finally it was decided to burn him at the stake. After the fagots had been lighted and the red men were dancing about him torturing him, a heavy rainstorm put out the fire. This was taken as a sign of disfavor on the part of the Great Spirit and he was given his freedom as a favored prisoner. He lived two years with the Indians on the lookout continually for a good opportunity to escape. Not until the defeat of the Indians by General Wayne at Fallen Timbers in 1795 was he released in accordance with the terms of the treaty which followed. On one occasion British traders sought to obtain his liberty but without avail. When he finally returned home he was so emaciated, hairy and tattered that his own wife and children did not recognize him. James never tired of telling his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren about his experience with the Wyandotte Indians. In the family annals it vied in interest with the Johnson lads, and as time passed accumulated many embellishments to the original tale.
After 1795, James Johnson settled down as a contented farmer. From Wells township on Short Creek in Jefferson County, he changed his residence several times to improve his economic condition and at last located in Washington township, Harrison County, where he lived until his death in 1839. Like most men of that day he bought and sold land.
He was married to Cathrine DEMOS in 1765.
201. Cathrine DEMOS died BET 1815/1816 in , , Ohio. Letter to Mrs. Jerry Ball, Ewing, Missouri, from James H. Gritton, 2555 Wedgewood Rd. Apt #1, Des Moines IA 50317 of April 27, 1977
i. Jacob JOHNSON was born in 1767.
ii. Rachel JOHNSON was born in 1769.
iii. Deborah Jane JOHNSON was born in 1771.
iv. James JOHNSON Jr was born in 1773 in , Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. Local preacher in various churches. In 1822 he was licensed by the United Brethern Church to perform marriages. This license was filed in 1822 among the marriage records of Stark County which gave him permission to officiate there. Then on November 27, 1848, as a licensed minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Richland County, a permit was recorded on March 10, 1849, to officiate in Ashland County. He visited his brother Disberry in Crawford County on several occasions and is remembered by the older members of the Johnsons as a sprightly and very attractive man. Where he died has not been discovered, and not much is known about the last years of his life.
v. John JOHNSON was born in 1775 in , Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. Moved as a lad to Ohio with parents. It was he who with his brother Henry had the adventure with the two Indians when he was thirteen years old. C W Butterfield, a contemporary, stated that he frequently met him at the mill before the incident, and knew him in later life as a man who had little initiative. Lived on Short Creek in 1807, and later moved to Monroe County, Ohio, where he died. Apparently he was present at the sale of his father's effects in 1839. He applied to the Federal Government for a pension on the grounds that he was old, poor, and had killed the Indians, but it was not granted. It is very likely that he was the John Johnson who in 1810 patented land in Jefferson County.
vi. William JOHNSON was born on 26 May 1776 in , , Pennsylvania. He died in 1855. He was buried in Wheeling twp, Belmont, Ohio. Crabapple Presbyterian Cemetary, with wife and four children. For some reason did not remove to Ohio until 1804, when he located on short Creek near his parents. In 1812 "William the son of James" deposited a certificate for land at Steubenville, Ohio. In 1816 he bought and sold land. In 1823 William Johnson Sr of Short Creek township sold a farm to James Johnson; and in 1824 James Johnson and Mary sold him 60 acres in Harrison County.
vii. Henry JOHNSON was born on 4 Feb 1777 in , Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. He died about 1852 in Antioch, , Ohio. He was buried in Woodsfield, , Ohio. Went with his parents to Ohio when only 8 years old. It is from his pen that we have a first hand account of the Indian episode. He married first Martha (“Patsy”) Russell (d. November 18, 1852) and then Margaret Fulkerson who survived him. He had one daughter, Margaret, but little is known about her. He was a Methodist preacher and in 1802 organized the first Methodist Church in Harrison County. Later, after serving in the War of 1812, he removed to Monroe County and was the first mayor of Woodsfield. In 1818 he with others received from Henry Linn a piece of land for the erection of a church. He was interested in frontier history and kept a "Sketch Book" of early happenings. He was in touch with historians like Henry Howe and Lyman C. Draper, and several of his letters have survived him.
100 viii. Griffin JOHNSON