This is a work in progress. Much of my direct line is documented, but some may not be. If there is a question, I usually include words like "seems likely" or "possibly" in hopes that it may help someone else or eventually get me closer to documentation. Also, I do make errors when transferring info to my files or to the site. If you find errors that you can correct, please e-mail me and I'll gladly make the changes or if you have more information on anyone mentioned here and can share it, I would be really appreciative.


Charles Randall Johnson
My 3rd Great-grandfather, 1802-1864

Charles Randall Johnson was born Nov. 27, 1802 in North Carolina and likely in Orange County. By the 1830 census, he had migrated to Haywood County, Tennessee (specifically in an area that would later become Crockett County) to become one of the county’s earliest settlers. He married a local widow, Margaret Louisa Wood (April 4, 1808-March 28, 1862). Louisa, a daughter of Frances M. Wood (1777 in North Carolina-April 27, 1843 in Haywood County) and Elizabeth Milburn (1780-unknown).

Frances M. Wood’s Bible

Photo: Otis Lundy

Frances M. Wood’s Bible, purchased at
Bennet Barrons Store for “10 Shillings.”

We know quite a bit about Wood from his Bible. Around 1824, Wood became one of the earliest settlers of Haywood County, Tennessee when he migrated from North Carolina to the area with his family and slaves. The area he settled, south of Bells, Tennessee and just over the current Haywood/Crockett line, became Alamo in Crockett County in 1872.

Possibly a son of Joseph (June 25, 1750-Sept. 12, 1852) and Phebee Clark (1750-1788), Frances was born in 1777 and married Elizabeth Milburn in 1806. She was previously married to William R. Wortham and had a son from that marriage.

In addition to Louisa, the children of Frances and Elizabeth Milburn Wood are thought to have been Elizabeth Ann, Nancy Arsena, Polly Horn and William M.

Frances died April, 27, 1843 in Haywood County at the age of 66.

You can read more about Wood and what we can learn about him from his Bible in this blog entry.

In 1830, the Haywood County household of Charles and Louisa Wood Johnson included:

  • One male 20 – 30 (himself)
  • One female 20 – 30 (his wife, Louisa)
  • One female under five (his oldest daughter, Ann Elizabeth)
  • One male slave 10 – 24
  • One female slave 10 – 24

In 1830, Charles was 28, Louisa was 22 and their youngest daughter, Anna Elizabeth had just been born.

Because extended families often lived on farms either connected or very close to each other, it’s interesting to note the other Johnsons living around Charles and Louisa in 1830. It’s possible any of these were relatives of Charles, however, I have been unable to connect them yet.

Johnson Neighbors in 1830

Stephen Johnson
One researcher believes Stephen and Charles were possibly brothers. Stephen was born about 1787 in North Carolina. In the 1830 census, Stephen Johnson was 30–40, his wife was 30–40, four males were 20 or younger, four females were 20 or younger and they had no slaves. They had a total of 10 in the household.

Ten years later, in the 1840 census, Stephen’s household consists of one male 15-20, one male, 20–25, one male, 50–60, one female 5–10, one female 15–20, one female 20–30, one female 40–50 and no slaves for a total of 7 in the household.

The last census in which he appears was in 1850 when he was 63 and he living alone with 20-year-old Martha who could possibly be his daughter. By then, he was farming land with a value of $1,000.

William Johnson
There was only one farm between Charles and William Johnson. In William’s household there were two males ages 20 to 30, one male 50–60, one female 15-20, one female 50–60 and no slaves for a total of five in the household. From other research, it can be determined that William was born in 1777 in England and by 1798 had migrated with his parents to Rutherford, Tennessee where he married Jeanett “Jenny” Miller.

Photo: Margaret Nolen Nichol

T.G. Johnson and Bro’s Store

In 1823, William moved to Haywood County as one of the earliest settlers. One of his sons was Isaac Miller Johnson.William died in Haywood County in 1837. His son, Isaac M. Johnson, along with Lycurus Cage were founders of the town of Alamo (which was originally named Cageville after Lycurus) and together they established what would become T.G. Johnson and Brother’s Drug and Grocery Story in Alamo. Source

John Johnson
Five farms over was John Johnson. In his household lived one male 15–20, one male 50–60, two females 15–20, one female 24–30 and no slaves for a total of five.

William Johnson
Next door to John and six farms from Charles is another William Johnson. Charles named his first son William so that is an additional connection to this neighbor. Could this be his brother?

In William’s household there was one male 5–10, one male 30–40, one female 5–10, one female 10–15, one female 30–40, and no slaves for a total of five.

This article originally included in the Crockett Times on July 7, 1977 includes the name of those who wanted to “divide the district” in order to avoid having to cross a swamp to drill and practice military maneuvers, and a few of my ancestors from this line were included there.

Originally, Tennessee counties were divided according to military districts, with the captains of each militia functioning like a county magistrate. If you were a male resident from 16 to 45 you were required to cross the swamp and show up for the military drill:

“To the Honourable Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Tennessee Your petitioners humbly represent that they reside on the north side of the south fork of the Forked Deer River in Haywood Co., that the people on that side of the river have had a battalion ever since the organization of the County and they compose the second Battalion of the Eighty Sixth Regiment, that they have heretofore had to cross the swamp of the aforesaid river to attend all regimental musters, that the swamp is something like three miles wide and that it is often times wholly impassable. They therefore pray your honourable body to relieve them in the premises by dividing the regiment, giving to them a separate regiment on the north side of said river.”

Those with the last name of Johnson or Wood who signed the petition sometime between 1828 and 1834 included:

  • Charles R. Johnson (my third great grandfather)
  • William Johnson
  • William Johnson Jr.
  • Isaac M. Johnson
  • Jno. (John) A. Johnson
  • James Johnson
  • Stephen Johnson
  • Frances M. Wood (Father of Charles’ wife, Louisa)
  • William M. Wood

(Note of thanks to Sister Mary Francis Cates, who transcribed the article, and contributed it for use on the TNGenWeb Project website.)

Those who signed this petition were living in the portion of Haywood County that, in 1871, finally became Crockett County district numbers 5, 6, 8, 10 and 14.

Back in 1840, there were 14 people living in Charles Randell Johnson’s home. There were eight “white free persons” and six slaves.

In the 1850 census, the family was living in district 12 of Haywood County and were very prosperous, farming 1,500 acres.

Included in the household with 47-year-old Charles and his 42-year-old wife was: Ann (age 19), William R. (age 18), Richard (age 14), Margaret Wood (age 14) Sallie H. (age 12), Dicey (age 12), Charles Randall Jr. (age 10), Adeline (age 8), my second great grandmother, Nancy Miranda (age 6) and Zachariah F. (age 1).

10 years later, in the census of 1860, the oldest child at home was 21-year-old Sallie so Anna, William, Richard and Margaret had moved to farms of their own. Adeline, Nancy and Zach were all still living with their parents and the family had added another child, Louisa who was now nine.

Also living with the family was a 20-year-old “laborer” named Jason Purvis and William Newland who was a 25-year-old teacher from Pennsylvania.

Headstones of Charles Randell Johnson and Margaret Louisa Wood Johnson in the Castellaw Family Cemetery in the Johnson Grove area of Crockett County. You can read more about this cemetery in this blog entry from back in 2012.


Louisa died on March 28, 1862 at age 53 leaving Charles with several children still at home. She was buried in the Castellaw Cemetery in Crockett County, south of the Johnsons Grove area, on the west side of Castellaw Road.

Charles died on April 14, 1864 when he was just 61. This left his youngest two children, Zach and Louisa, as orphans. Charles’ son William became their legal guardian.

Charles likely died unexpectedly as he died without leaving a will. This resulted in his significant estate having to be settled by the Haywood County Court. You can read about the settlement here. The case that included the division of slaves was settled on Nov. 7, 1864. The Civil War was raging all around them as they divided their father’s slaves. The next day, incumbent President Abraham Lincoln of the National Union Party defeated the Democratic nominee, former General George B. McClellan. Just weeks later, The Battle of Franklin was fought 150 miles east in Franklin, Tennessee. It was one of the deadliest battles of the war for the Confederate Army. 

Listed in the settlement were nine heirs:

  • Charles R. Johnson Jr.
  • Nancy Johnson (husband Tom Castellaw, my second great-granparents)
  • Sarah “Sally” Sanders
  • Louisa Johnson
  • Zach. T. Johnson
  • Milton B. Midyett (wife Adeline Johnson)
  • John E. Castellaw
  • L. D. Whitaker (husband David)
  • William. R. Johnson – became the guardian of Lousia Johnson but J. F. Wortham became the temporary guardian for the legal stuff around the court case.

The settlement also included which of his slaves went to which of his children and their “value.” Note that $700 in the year 1864 is roughly equivalent in purchasing power to $10,500 today. Of course, the concept of slavery and putting a financial value on the ownership of a person is incomprehensible to us today. The slaves each family member received was referred to as a “lot.”

  • Lot #1–C. R. Johnson, Jr. received negro woman Martha and boy Jerry valued at $925.00
  • Lot #2–Nancy Johnson received negro woman Manda & Cherry valued at $675.00
  • Lot #3–Sarah Sanders received negro woman Margaret and child Georgianna valued at $75.00
  • Lot #4–Louisa Johnson received negro woman Mary and her child Willie, also a boy John valued at $975.00
  • Lot #5–Z. T. Johnson received negro woman Priscilla & boy Silvester valued at $950.00
  • Lot #6–W. R. Johnson received negro man Nelson valued at $700.00
  • Lot #7–M. B. Midyett received negro man Peter valued at $700.00
  • Lot #8–John E. Castellaw received negro girl Amanda & negro man Matthew valued at $807.00
  • Lot #9–L. D. Whitaker received negro girl _______ and boy Joe valued at $825.00

Five months later, on April 9, 1865, the Civil War ended in Appomattox, Virginia and all the slaves mentioned in the settlement were freed. 

Deed to Land for Johnson’s Grove Church

From a deed written by Charles Johnson, we know that he donated the land for the Johnson Grove Church near Alamo in Crockett County, TN.

Interestingly, although Charles Johnson was clearly a slave owner, he shows up nearly 20 years after his death in a book from the 47th Congress of 1882 in which he was included in an act that provided his estate with payment of $250.

Charles was one of the “the several persons in this act named” who were being paid “under the provisions of the act of July fourth, eighteen hundred and sixty-four.” This referred to the Southern Claims Commission.

The purpose of the SCC was to allow Union sympathizers who had lived in the Southern states during the Civil War to apply for reimbursements for property losses due to U.S. Army confiscations during the war. Following the closing of the offices of the SCC, several claims were still pending or had not yet been submitted. To clear up these loose ends, a bill was introduced to make the necessary payments and settle any remaining claims.

Was it possible Charles Johnson was a slave owner who was loyal to the Union army during the Civil War?

Those who applied for funds from the Southern Claims Commission had to prove they were loyal to the “United States” during the Civil War and had supplies officially taken by or furnished to the U.S. Army in the war. The burden of proof on the applicants was quite stringent and, of the 22,298 claims, only 32% were approved for any compensation.

The payment to Charles’ heirs was made when the Southern Claims Commission offices were closing and all final cases were being settled.

The children of Charles Randell and Margaret Louisa Wood Johnson were:

Johnson Anna Elizabeth 1830 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) 1883
Age: 53
Crockett Co., Johnsons Grove Community
Buried: Castellaw Family Cemetery
Leonidas David Whitaker
b. 1827
d. 1889
Age: 62
Buried: Castellaw Cemetery
The children of David and Anna Johnson Whitaker were Mary Louis, William, Charles R. Sarah C. Columbus Sidney, and Leona Adaline.

David Whitaker was the administrator of the will of Charles Randall Johnson.

Johnson William R. 10 Dec 1834 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) 23 June 1887
Age: 52
Crockett Co., Johnsons Grove Community Mariah J.
b. 1831
d. 22 Apr 1919
Although it appears they did not have children of their own, after William’s father died, they became the legal guardians of Williams’ youngest siblings, Zach and Louisa.

Headstones of William and Mariah Johnson, sitting alone, VERY close to the road in the Johnson Grove area of Crockett County.

Johnson Margaret Wood 1 Feb 1836 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) 18 April 1870
Age: 34
Crockett Co., Johnsons Grove Community John Edward Castellaw
b. 1 Mar 1833
m. 1854
d.16 Nov 1896
Age: 60
Buried: Castellaw Family Cemetery
Margaret’s husband John Edward Castellaw was one of the sons of my third great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson “T. J.” Castellaw Sr., and his first wife, Mary Elisa.

They were among the original settlers of Haywood County who came from Bertie County, North Carolina. After his first wife died, T. J. married Mary Cole. Their first son together was my second great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. People called him “Tom.” Therefore, John Edward and Tom were half brothers.

Margaret Johnson married John Edward Castellaw in 1854 when she was 18.

Before she died April 18, 1879 at age 34, she had four children: Mary L., William R., Dicy A. and Joseph Dawson. In addition to Margaret, three of their four children died around the same time.

Widower John, who was 37, then married 19-year-old Mattie Coleman and together, they had four children: James Ebenezer, John Edward, Benjamin Wesley and Margaret. Mattie died June 12, 1886 at age 35.

On Oct. 25, 1888 55-year-old John married 44-year-old Nancy Mariana Johnson, (my second great grandmother) the widow of his half brother Tom Castellaw and the sister of his first wife, Margaret Woods Johnson.

John Edward Castellaw died Nov. 16, 1896 in Haywood County and is buried in the Castellaw Family Cemetery in Crockett County.

Headstones of Benjamin Wesley Castellaw, John Edward Castellaw, Mary Castellaw, Margaret Johnson Castellaw and John Edward Castellaw in the Castellaw Cemetery in Crockett County.

Johnson Dicey 1838 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.)
Johnson Sallie H. 1838 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) John B. Sanders
m. 15 Nov 1862
Johnson Charles Randall Jr. 1840 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) Ida Elizabeth McCalpin
m. 25 Dec 1895
Johnson Adaline 1843 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) Milton B. Midyett
The children of Milton B. and Adaline Johnson Midyett were Zachariah M., Erasmus A., and John E.
Johnson Nancy Miranda 20 July 1844 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.) 8 Jan 1921
Age: 76
Haywood Co., TN
Buried: Castellaw Family Cemetery on Poplar Corner Rd.
Thomas Castellaw
b. 1 Jun 1841
m. 16 Aug 1865
d. 4 Mar 1879
Age: 37
Buried: Castellaw Family Cemetery on Poplar Corner Rd.
John Edward Castellaw
b. 1 Mar 1833
m. 25 Oct 1888
d. 16 Nov 1896
Johnson Zachariah T. 1842 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.)
Johnson Louisa 1851 Haywood County, TN (in an area later changed to Crockett Co.)

Nancy Mariana/Miranda Johnson
My 2nd Great-grandmother, 1844-1921

Likely Tom and Nancy M. Johnson Castellaw

Nancy Miranda Johnson was born 20 Jul 1844 in Haywood County, Tennessee in an area that would later become Crockett County.

She grew up on the farm of her parents, Charles Randall and Louisa Wood Johnson.

Their household included a large number of siblings and many slaves.

At the age of 16, the 1860 US Census shows that she was living with her family which included two older sisters: Adaline who was 17 and Sallie who was 21 and their two youngest siblings Zach who was 11 and Louisa who was 9. Living on the farm next door was Nancy’s brother William R. Johnson and his wife Mariah and just a few farms over was another brother John, his wife Martha and their four children.

Nancy’s mother died March 28, 1862 when Nancy was just 18.

Nancy’s father died on April 14, 1864, when she was 20.

Tom and Nancy M. Johnson Castellaw

At the age of 21, Nancy married Tom Castellaw who was part of a Civil War regiment that surrendered and received parole in May 1865. He made it back to Haywood County by August 16, 1865 when he married Nancy.

He farmed in the areas of the Holly Grove and Johnson County communities and he and Nancy had nine children. One died at birth, two died as infants but the others lived into adulthood. Tom died on March 5, 1879 at the age of 37.

According to the book “Nicolas Cobb Descendants,” on April, 12, 1879, Nancy Castellaw and her minor children were assigned a year’s support from the effects of T.J. Castellaw. Lura Cobb is quoted in the book as remembering Nancy Castellaw had “two of them Castellaw men.”

Marriage records show J. E. Castellaw, (Tom’s half brother John Edward) and Nancy married in 1888 when she was 44 and he was 55.

John Edward’s first wife Margaret A. Wood Johnson died in 1870 along with three of their four children: Mary L. (1856-1870), William R. (1859-1970), and Dicy A. (1862-1870).

Their son, Joseph Dawson “Joe” Castellaw remained in Crockett County until his death in Oct. 2, 1943.

After Margaret’s death, John Edward married Mattie A. E. Coleman who died in 1886.

John Castellaw died in 1896.

In the early 1880s, Nancy donated one acre of land at the corner of Poplar Corner Rd. and Dr. Hess Rd. to be used for the first school in The Holly Grove community. Her daughter, Jennie, was the school’s first teacher.

In the census of 1900, Nancy was a 55 year-old widow living with her daughter, Nora Hilman, who had been married for three years. Also in the home was Mattie Mitchel who is a 50 year-old single female from Mississippi who worked for the family. Nancy could read and write and owned her home without a mortgage.

Nancy lived next door to her son Jack F. and his wife Ida and two of their children: a son, Be M who is three and Ida P. who is one.

Robert Edward “Bob” Castellaw and sons Isaac, Daniel and Robert Jefferson around 1899.


Next door to Jack is another of Nancy’s son’s, Bob and his wife Zula (my great grandparents) along with their children: Isaac who was four, Daniel who was one and their 4-month-old daughter, Zera. Both Jack and Bob Castellaw farmed and both rented their homes, likely from Nancy.

Castellaw Family Cemetery

The Castellaw Family Cemetery on Poplar Corner Road in Haywood County includes the headstone of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw Jr. and Nancy M. Johnson Castellaw. Additional family members known to be buried there include children who died at birth or as infants: Charles Randell (named after his grandfather), Dora (twin of Nora), Marianna Pink, Pinky Zera, Sylvia and an unnamed infant who was the twin of Nancy and Thomas’ son, Issac. According to a WPA cemetery survey taken April 20, 1939, the cemetery was established by the Castellaw family about 1860 and as of 1939 it was thought to include 25-50 graves on a quarter acre.

Thankfully, a fence was erected by Dr. Mark Castellaw to protect the very small part of the cemetery that remains.

Nancy died on January 8, 1921 and was buried next to Tom in a small family cemetery that is off Poplar Corner Road.

For more about the Castellaw Williams, visit the Castellaw page of my website. You can find out more about each of my specific family lines at or read more blogs posts about the history of West Tennessee on my blog page.

Do you have more facts, information or photos you would like shared or see errors here? Please let me know by posting below or sending me a message on Facebook.

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