Harrison Trotter SS AplicationI have mentioned my 2nd Great Grandmother, Josephine Johnson Trotter a few times as Harrison’s mother or Sam Trotter’s first wife but she, like her husband, is a bit of a mystery to me. My first knowledge of her was from family gatherings and reunions. The Trotters gather as the descendants of Sam and Josie Trotter but until I tracked down my grandfather’s Social Security application from 1942 when he named his parents I hadn’t seen her maiden name. I have since been able to track down a transcription of her and my 2nd Great Grandfather’s wedding license in Ashley County, Arkansas records from December of 1880. My one additional find has been a transcript of her testimony at the Coroner’s inquisition at the death of Joe Lawson in 1883. She, like her husband, just seems to have fallen through the cracks. I’m hoping that there is more out there on both of them—though I’m resigned to the fact that I’m probably going to need to head to Arkansas and find it.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Roseanne Lee Trotter JohnsonSaturday, March 1st, will mark the 102 anniversary of the birth of my Great Aunt Roseanna Lee Trotter Johnson. She was born in 1912 in Bradley County, Arkansas and married Leroy Johnson in 1932. This photo was one shared with my father prior to a recent Trotter family reunion.

Happy hunting,

Jess

P.S. Sharp-eyed Bradley County researchers, check out the picture in the upper left-hand corner. I swear I’ve seen that posted somewhere. It’s not something I’ve found in my collection.

The Johnson’s—I never thought I’d make so much progress but time, careful research, and connecting with fellow researchers and distant cousins have given me great insights into  this family of English immigrants.

Richard & Sarah Johnson

Richard Johnson is my 4th Great Grandfather. He was born 1 September in 1805 in Horsey, Norfolk, England, the son of Richard and Elizabeth (Richmond) Johnson, and baptized in 8 September. He married my 4th Great Grandmother Sarah Suffling (or Surfling) on 23 August 1827 in Lessingham, Norfolk. They had the first of four children in May of 1830—my 3rd Great Grandfather William Suffling Johnson. Then followed Matthew Suffling in 1833, Mary Elizabeth in 1836, and John Suffling in 1838.

At the time of the 1841 Census the couple was settled in Horsey Next the Sea (northwest of Yarmouth) where Richard was listed as a labourer. At the time of William White’s Hstory, Gazetteer, and Directory of Norfolk in 1845 Richard was listed as a local fish dealer. By 1848 William and Matthew had booked passage to the United States. And in 1851 the remaining Johnsons were one of several families in Johnson’s Corner, Horsey, Norfolk. There Richard was listed as a fisherman and his nephew, Richard, and his family were enumerated in the household.

The family left England in late 1851 and by the time of the 1855 New York State Census they had settled into farming in Carlton, Orleans County, New York where Robert and Sarah lived out the reminder of their lives. That year William and Matthew moved to Michigan, William settling first in Solon, Kent County and Matthew moving to Barry County. John followed them later settling in Barry County near Matthew. Mary married Robert Woolsten and remained near her parents in Orleans County, New York. Richard died 24 Jan 1874 and was laid to rest in Otter Creek Cemetery, Gaines Twp, New York.

Much of this information was found with the aid of my distant cousins Dawn and Marcia—one a descendant of Richard’s son Matthew and the other from his daughter Mary Elizabeth.

Happy hunting!

Jess

As I’ve mentioned in passing before, Levi Hampton is not (to my knowledge) a direct line ancestor but he has been at the center of my research on the Trotter and Johnson families.

Levi Hampton was born into slavery around 1835 in Alabama according to most Census records. His direct descendants pass down a story that he was used as a “Stud” by slave owners and possibly belonged to a plantation owner named Graham but I haven’t been able to verify that. By the time of the 1870 Census he was married to a woman named Sally and had 5 children in their household: Homer, Edward, John, Willie, and Lottie. According to the paperwork associated with his Homestead Application he settles a plot of land in or around January of 1873 and formally applied for the land in September 1884 under the Homestead Act of 1862.

Sally died sometime between the birth of daughter Anna (born in 1876 according to the 1880 Census) and his second marriage to the woman I believe to be my 2nd Great Aunt (and sister to Josephine), Jane Johnson, on 05 Nov 1877. The 1880 Census also enumerated a widowed daughter Mary Hampton. But my guess is that she is actually a daughter-in-law by way of Levi’s son Homer.

Levi Hampton PatentIn September of 1890 Levi testified in the process to prove his claim to the Palestine homestead and the land patent was signed in July of 1891. His testimony also stated that he regularly voted, and a 1905 Poll Tax list for Palestine Township show him as paid in full and qualified to vote.

I have been unable to find Levi’s family in the 1900 and 1920 Census, but the 1910 Census, shows a daughter probably with Jane, Lou Hampton, as well as his nephew (and my Great Grandfather) Harrison Trotter.

I also have a transcription of Levi’s will written in 1916 which names five living children: Ed, John, Willie, Lottie Sims and Orrie Nelson (I’m pretty sure this is Annie Hampton who married John Nelson). He also willed to Harrison Trotter “the small old field southwest of my house on the west 80 acres”—the site of the Trotter Homestead I featured last post.

I know there’s more to know about the Hampton/Johnson/Trotter ties but for now I feel I’ve hit a brick wall—at least until I can get out on the road and locate more Arkansas records.

Happy hunting!

Jess

Happy Birthday! B93 Birthday Bash… a long time ago!

Johnson FamilyHappy hunting,

Jess

Johnson Christmas 1979The annual meeting of Grandma Ethel’s family empire was this weekend reminded me of this Christmas memory.

My Grandpa loved Christmas! This is him, William Eugene “Gene” Johnson, myself and the back of my brother’s head. This is from the Christmas of 1979, the year before he died.

I hope you’ve had a fabulous holiday season!

Happy hunting,

Jess

Grandpa Harold Bailey, 1982

Just a quick remembrance…

Grandpa Bailey (my Step Great-Grandfather, Harold Bailey) would have turned 107 this week.

The photo is from my father’s collection taken at one of the Bailey/Johnson Christmas gatherings—probably in 1982.

Happy Hunting!

Jess

Post Deer Hunt

I am a total city kid and hunting is a foreign concept to me, but we’ve definitely had (and have) hunters in the family. So in a slight nod to deer season—but more because of the looks on the kids’ faces—here’s a home from deer camp style picture. I believe this shot includes my 1st cousins once removed (of the Johnson and Bailey persuasions)—Brinda, Tom, Robin and… Craig? Please feel free to correct me, but age-wise that makes the most sense. It was taken at my Great Uncle’s home in Rockford in the 1960s and the photo came from the collection of my grandmother.

Happy hunting,

Jess

A housekeeping note: I don’t manage to get in a post for everyone’s birthday and not everyone wants me too. But I do try… life just happens to interfere… often. That said… 

Johnson BrothersOne of these two is celebrating a birthday this month. This is not a good picture, but it makes me laugh—Grandpa in his sombrero on the phone and Uncle paying no attention. This was taken at Uncle’s house—decades before my Gran redecorated it—in Rockford, Michigan.

Happy hunting,

Jess

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My parents are celebrating their 38th wedding anniversary this month! Happy Anniversary! And totally unlike the modern spectacle marriages (so many couples have) they invited four people to their wedding. My grandparents.

These shots were taken afterwards at my parents East Lansing apartment.

Happy hunting,

Jess

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