"Our Loose Ends" Genealogy Column
by Lynna Kay Shuffield
Houston, Texas

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Printed in the Taylor Daily Press - 17 Feb 2000

"Query about Robertson Co., TX Murder Mystery"

On Tuesday, Sept. 9, 1873, James Jefferson Claud Johnson and Benjamin Franklin Johnson were murdered while standing on the front porch of their home in Robertson Co., TX. The men had just sat down to dinner with their families when some men on horseback (more commonly known as "Night Riders") road-up and called out to the house. When the brothers stepped out on the porch, they were shot and killed. James and Ben were buried in a double grave in Robertson Co., TX. The grave has been lost.

James and Ben were living between Hearne and Calvert, Roberson Co., TX while working on building a railroad.

James and Benjamin were the sons of William Johnson who was born about 1800 in Georgia and died on Apr. 23, 1860 at Lynchburg, Harris Co., TX. William's burial place is unknown, however, it is believed it was on his plantation located at the mouth of the San Jacinto River. It is thought that Nancy was William's second wife and they married after 1841, probably in Georgia. Nancy (unknown maiden name) was born about 1807 in Georgia and died Nov. 17, 1869 in Savannah, Chatham Co., GA. She is buried in the Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah, Chatham Co., GA. William's first wife and the mother of the two brothers is unknown.

James was born about 1837 in Georgia. On June 7, 1860 he married Elizabeth Ann Clark at Lynchburg, Harris Co., TX. Elizabeth was born on May 23, 1843 in Shelby Co., KY and was the daughter of John A. Clark and Julianna H./Julia Ann H. Whitledge Clark. James was a member of Capt. Crossons Co. F., Hardimans Regiment, Texas Cavalry, Confederate States Army and received a medical discharge in 1863. According to Elizabeth Johnson's Application of Indigent Widow of a Confederate Soldier dated Aug. 14, 1899, James "was wounded in 1863 after which he was never able for duty."

James and Elizabeth were the parents of: James Jefferson Johnson (1861-1933), Benjamin Franklin Johnson (1864-1929), Julia Nancy Johnson Aden (1866-1940), Herschell Vespasian Johnson (1866-1899), William Johnson (1872-d/unknown), and Henrietta Susan Johnson Knight (1874-1899).

Benjamin was born about 1839 in Georgia. He first married Fannie Darby on March 6, 1860 in Polk Co., TX and they were divorced by 1865. On May 17, 1865, he married Harriett Susan Clark at Polk Co., TX. Elizabeth was born Sept. 2, 1845 at Frankford, KY and was the sister of Elizabeth Ann Clark Johnson. Benjamin served in the Confederate States Army and his wife applied for a Confederate Widows Pension but it was denied because she had remarried J. S. Willis on April 6, 1876 in San Jacinto Co., TX.

Ben and Harriett were the parents of: Maude Laurena Johnson Dunn (b/d unknown), Betty Gruted Johnson Young (1869-d/unknown), Benjamin Franklin Johnson, Jr., (b/d unknown), and Thomas Addison Johnson (1874-1961).

Betty Knight Shuffield (James' great-granddaughter) is looking for information to help solve this murder mystery, including the names of the men who participated in the raid, any newspaper stories, investigation reports, old diaries which refer to the raid, and the double grave of the brothers. You can contact her at: 7317 Roswell, Houston, TX 77022, e-mail: gene@argohouston.com or telephone: 713/692-4148.

Book Review

Branches and Twigs: Descendants and Ancestry of the Adams, Clark, Cowart, Dickerson, Earp, Glasco, Havard, Renigard and Strickland Families by Inez Strickland Palmer of 333 Water St., Apt B-4, Kerrville, TX 78028. paperback, 1998, 8x11, 220 pages, full-name index.

This well written account of these families is organized into standard genealogical format and includes extensive copies of documentation. This self-published book is a clear, direct and highly readable history of the Adams, Clark, Cowart, Dickerson, Earp, Glasco, Havard, Renigard and Strickland Families. Mrs. Palmer tells the history of her ancestors who were unable to write their own stories.

Texas Tombstone Project

The purpose of the Texas Tombstone Project is to organize volunteers to create a database of transcribe tombstone inscriptions. You can visit the site which is organized by county at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~cemetery/Texas/ and Gloria B. Mayfield hosts the project and you can reach her at e-mail: LadyTexian@tcainternet.com.

In this column, I will be glad to highlight and review any family history, genealogy, county history, or similar book, free of charge, if you donate a copy of the book or item. After it has been highlighted and reviewed, on a space available basis, it will be donated to the genealogy section of a library. You will receive an acknowledgment of the donation from the library. Mail item or book to me at the below address.

Lynna Kay Shuffield has written several books related to Texas genealogy and military history. She has spoken before numerous genealogy and veterans groups. Also, is a County Coordinator for the Texas GenWeb Project. Regretfully, she cannot help with individual genealogical research. Please visit the website for this column at: http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Academy/2670/ COLUMN-001.htm or if you have any questions, comments, suggestions for column topics, genealogy or historical society announcements, please contact her at: P. O. Box 16604, Houston, Texas 77222-6604 or e-mail: lksfriday@sbcglobal.net

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This webpage was last created on 12 Feb 2000 and was last revised on __________ 2000

Copyright 1999, 2000 Lynna Kay Shuffield - All rights reserved.
P. O. Box 16604
Houston, Texas 77222-6604