William Johnson Family

William M. Johnson

Bettie and Bill Johnson with grandchildren Wes
Moore, Vesta Squyres, and Lizzie Moore

William M. (Bill) Johnson (1835-????) was born in Georgia. a son of Benjamin F. and Miraby Johnson. The Johnsons moved to Simpson Co., Mississippi after 1850. Bill Johnson served in the Civil War and was wounded at the Second Battle of Manassas (Bull Run).

Bill had a violent temper, and after the War he killed a man who had attacked and nearly killed his father. He was forced to flee to Florida, leaving a wife and several children in Mississippi. In Florida he married Bettie Johnson, apparently without benefit of a divorce from his first wife. By 1875 things had cooled off enough in Mississippi that the Johnsons moved to Clarke Co., Mississippi, where the apparently became acquainted with the McCalls .

The Johnsons followed other Clarke County families to Angelina County. It is not clear whether they moved directly to Burke since at various times they lived in Nacogdoches Co,., Johnson Co., near Alvarado, and DeSoto Parish Louisiana. However, by 1900 they were living at Burke and remained there the rest of their lives. Both Bill and Bettie are buried at Ryan Chapel Cemetery.

Bill and Bettie had the following children:

Emma Lucinda Johnson

Emma Johnson (1875-1961) was born in Clarke County, Mississippi. She moved with her parents to Texas about 1880, and in the early 1890s she lived with them at Alvarado in Johnson County. It was at Alvarado that she met Charlie Baker, or perhaps Brown. It is unclear whether they were married or just engaged to be married when Bill Johnson decided to move to Louisiana and insisted that Emma moved with the family. According to Tellie Arrington Rush, Charlie visited Emma a Burke when she was married to Mr. Arrington and asked for return of his rings. Emma kept a photo of Charlie in her sewing box for the remainder of her life. Clearly he was the lost love of her life.

Emma next married Arthur Arrington. After Arthur's death in 1916 Emma married Hiram Sanford. After his death she married a Daniel, but that marriage ended in divorce. She lived the rest of her life with son Frank and was known as Emma Sanford. It is said that she traveled and "stayed with" women when they had their babies, leading to the assumption that she was a midwife.

Franklin John Johnson

Frank Johnson (1893-1964) was born at Marthasville, DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. He moved to Burke and grew up there spending much of his youth with his grandparents, Bill and Bettie Johnson. Frank married Florence Ophelia Largent, daughter of Mack Largent, and they lived near Burke most of their lives. They had the following children:


  1. 1860 Census, Simpson Co., Mississippi, Fourth Beat, Page 21, Dwelling 137 (Benjamin Johnson)
  2. 1900 Census, Angelina Co., Texas, Precinct 4, Dwelling 81 (William Johnson)