William Johnston, who lived from 1648 to 1719, of Isle of Wight County, Virginia, is the ancestor of the Johnstons and their decendants who are the subject-matter of this study. His ancestry has not been established as yet, but it has always been claimed by his descendants that he was of the ancient Annandale stock of Dumfriesshire, Scotland. Surviving records of Virginia in the crucial area for this period are limited; it is not unti 1665 that William Johnston, as the ancestor of the Johnstons who follow can be established with reasonable certitude despite intriguing earlier appearances of the name.
William Johnson appears in the records as the father of an illegitimate child, named Jane, by Philarete Woodward, daughter of Colonel Thomas Woodward (1604-1677), first Surveyor-General of the Carolina Colony.
William Johnston married Sarah Griffeth, daughter of Owen Griffeth.
William (W) Johnson made his will in Isle of Wight County April 10, 1719. It was probated September 28, of the same year. He named his son, John Johnson, to be his executor, and also gave him a reversional interest in his home plantation. Other devises and bequeaths were: a life estate in the home plantation of 150 acres to his widow, Sarah Johnson; a plantation of 150 acres to his son, William, on which he lived; 128 acres tohis son, Thomas Johnson; his blacksmith tools (and apparently a tract of 150 acres of land) to his son, Benjamin Johnson, and ten shillings, sterling money to Hardy Council, a friend.
Children of William and Sarah Griffeth Johnston:
I.JOHN JOHNTON: He lived in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, most of his life, but died in 1753 in Northampton County, North Carolina. He married Mary --, who was still living in 1755.
II. WILLIAM JOHNSTON: Jr.: Son of William Johnston Sr. and Sarah Griffeth, lived in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, before moving to Bertie County, North Carolina, and later to Edgecombe County. William died after August of 1747, and before February 22, 1748. He did leave a will of record, and the Edgecombe County Book of Inventories, Accounts, Sales, and Divisions of Estates, 1732-53, does not contain the pages for the period between August Court, 1747, and May Court, 1748. The Christian name of his wife does not appear of record. However, the family can be largely reconstructed by a study of their land transactions in Edgecombe (now Halifax) County.
Sons of William Johnston Jr. and Sarah:
a.William, III: He lived near the boundary between Halifax (then Edgecombe) and Northampton Counties, North Carolina, and died in Northampton County in the latter part of August, 1777. In his will was named his wife, Sarah. Sons, John, James, and Isham. Daughter, Ann Clark. Grandson, William Johnson.
b.Joseph Johnston: He lived in Edgecombe County (now Halifax) County, North Carolina, before moving to Duplin County, He married Susannah--, who survived him. In his will he names his sons, William, Robert, James. Daughter Jane, Sarah, and Isabel.
c. Benjamin Johnston: He was born in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and died in Edgecombe (now Halifax) County, North Carolina, unexpectedly and intestate in 1742, leaving a widow Elizabeth-- and some nine Children. This apparently was the only Johnston family resident in Halifax County in the years immediately prior to the Revolution, of which only Abraham Johnson's branch has been identified as living there at the turn of the century.
Elizabeth Johnson, wife of Benjamin Johnston mentions in her will daughters,Elizabeth Taylor, Hannah Rawlings, and Elizabeth Doe. Also mentioned were sons:
Richard Johnston, d. Before 1774
Sterling Johnston, d. 1774,
Robert Johnston, married Tabith Harrington
Rejoice Johnston, probably married a Taylor
Abraham Johnston: d. 1791, married Susannah--, sons: John, Abraham Jr. b. abt. 1757, William b. abt. 1761,(from earlier marriage.)
III. THOMAS JOHNSTON, SR.: Thomas Johnston, Sr., son of William Johnston and wife Sarah Griffeth, lived in Isle of Wight County, Virginia. He married Mary--.
Thomas (J) Johnson, SR. made his will in Isle of Wight County on April 25, 1744; it was probated May 8, 1746. He gave his son Joseph Johnson, 200 acres from the tract where he lived; his son Moses Johnson, a reversional interest in the home plantation, and his wife, Mary, use of the home plantation.
Children of Thomas Johnston Sr., and Mary:
a.Thomas Johnston, Jr., married Elizabeth--. He was living as late as 1774. In Elizabeths will these children were mentioned: Moses, Elizabeth, Starling, Polly, Sarah, Rebeckah, Henry, and Amos.
b.Amos Johnston, Sr.: married Mary--, died abt. 1797. In his will children mentioned: James, Mary, Amos, Allen, Willie, Lucy Stevenson, Phebe Matthews.
b. John Johnston: married (1)Ann, (2)Eliza (3)Mourning Revill (4) Mrs. Ann Atkins. He died in the latter part of 1794. John made his will in St. Luke Parish of Southampton County January 30, 1779, and probated on December 11, 1794. Children mentioned: John, son of Ann, is the only one readible.
c. Barnaby Johnston: He lived in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, before moving to Edgecombe County, North Carolina. He married Patience --.
d. Joseph Johnston: He resided in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, before settling in Northampton County, North Carolina, where he died eary in 1789. Joseph made his will in Northampton County October 27, 1788; it was probated in March Court, 1789. He gave his son Joseph half of the personal estate; Other children mentioned: Unity Robinson, John, and Silas.
e. Moses Johnston: He lived in Southampton County, Virginia and later in Northampton and Wayne Counties, North Caroliina. He married Rachel --. Moses made his will in Wayne County August 26, 1788; it was probated in October Court, 1788. Children mentioned: James, William, Moses, Robert, Aaron, Amos, Rebecca Faulk, Alse, Sarah Edith, and Rachel.
IV. BENJAMIN JOHNSTON,Sr., son of William Johnston Sr.and Sarah Griffeth, was born circa 1693 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia, and died in 1767, in Southampton County. He married Mary --. The estate of the late Benjamin Johnson was inventoried March 4, 1767. Children mentioned: Stephen, Lucy, and Henry. Other children were Joseph, Jacob, Mary, John, William, Anne, Lydia, Benjamin, and Henry.
This is a very small sample of the information that is contained in this book.I could not post the entire forty pages.It is my hope that everything here is correct.
Of Isle of Wight County, Virginia
And His Descendants
A Genealogical Study of One Branch
Of the Family in the South
By Coy K. Johnston and Hugh B. Johnston
Published by Coy K. Johnston,
West Hartfore, Connectiicut, 1965