Family Stories

William Moore Johnson – War of 1812 Veteran, Montgomery County Citizen

Moore Johnson, born May 4, 1795, died March 21, 1884. Machpelah Cemetery, Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky.

Moore Johnson lies buried in Machpelah Cemetery in Mount Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky.  William Moore Johnson was born May 4, 1795, in North Carolina.  I have nothing about his parents.  He was a young man when he enlisted as a teamster with the Kentucky Volunteers, Captain Higgins, during the War of 1812.  A teamster drove horses and ox drawn wagons and sleds, delivering guns, ammunition, food and other essential supplies.  In the census records Moore Johnson is listed as a tailor.  It would be interesting to know how he came to this occupation. 

Moore Johnson first married Margaret Ringo November 15, 1821.  The couple had two sons – Richard Mentor, 1823-1862, and Joseph, June 15, 1825 – February 1, 1912.  Margaret died three months after giving birth to Joseph. 

Within a year Moore married Eliza Marshall – September 28, 1826.  In the 1850 census of Montgomery County, the couple are both 55 years of age.  Moore is a tailor.  Children living with them are Eliza Jane, 21; Mary, 19; Marcus, 17, a clerk; and Walter S., 13.  Lemon T. Marshall, 27, also lives with the family.  Perhaps a nephew of Eliza?

Son Marcus Johnson died October 1, 1854, at the age of 22, of flux – this information is from the Montgomery death records for 1854.  He is buried in Machpelah Cemetery in Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County.  I did not photograph his gravestone, but a search on Find A Grave shows that there is another person listed on the same stone, but it is difficult to read the name.  This young man, died July 16, 1851, three months before Marcus, at the age of 34.  Could they have been good friends who were buried together after such early deaths?  

In 1860 Moore and Eliza are listed as 60 years of age.  Son Walter, 24, is the only child listed living with his parents.  There is a Millie Johnson, 20, living in the household.  She is probably a relative.

Son Walter S. Johnson died April 4, 1868, at the age of 31.  Eliza Marshall Johnson followed her son to the grave in eight months, dying December 17, 1868, at the age of 73 years.  Both are buried in Machpelah Cemetery, but I do not have a photos.  Her gravestone lists her as the wife of Moore Johnson.

In the 1870 census for Montgomery County, Moore Johnson is listed as 69 (incorrect), living in the household of G. F. Mooney, a tailor.  Moore is also listed as a tailor.  He must have been very good, with agile fingers, to continue sewing until 75 (his correct age).  Since the head of household gave information about the people living in the house to the census taker, it is not surprising he didn’t know the exact age of Moore.

In 1880 Moore is listed as living with his daughter Mary C. and son-in-law J. C. Wells.  At age 85 he is listed as a ‘retired tailor’. 

The gravestone for Moore Johnson is a bit unusual, first in the fact that it is not beside the grave of wife Eliza.  (First wife Margaret Ringo Johnson is buried in Ringo Cemetery in Montgomery County.).  As you can see from the photograph there are two columns – leaving room for two people on each side of the stone.  One side lists his daughter, Eliza J. Johnson, who died two months before her father.  She is listed as the wife of A J. Wyatt.  But as you notice, her husband is not buried beside her.  Four years after her death he married Mary Shrewsbury and is buried with her.  And the other side lists Moore Johnson.  I suppose since it had been sixteen years since his wife had passed away, perhaps there was no grave site near where she was buried. 

Eliza J., wife of A. J. Wyatt, born June 20, 1828, died January 28, 1884.

If you remember, earlier in the week I posted an article about the War of 1812 veterans from the area that were celebrated for their courage and bravery during that war – 71 years after the war.  Moore Johnson was one of the few still living at that time.

The Courier Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, March 22, 1884

Death of Mr. Moore Johnson

Mt. Sterling, Ky., March 21 – At a few minutes past 10 o’clock this morning, at his residence in Mt. Sterling, Moore Johnson, one of our oldest and most respected citizens, quietly and peacefully passed away.

‘Uncle Moore,’ as he was familiarly known, will be sorrowfully missed by the host of friends and relatives to whom in life he had so greatly endeared himself.  Deceased was born in North Carolina in 1795, and while very young moved to Kentucky, from which state at an early age he enlisted in the War of 1812, where he served faithfully and well.  Active and vigorous until a few weeks ago, when he was seized by a spell of fever, he gave promise of many years of remaining usefulness.  He leaves two sons and a daughter (all married), who are among our most substantial and wealthy citizens.

The last living member of the family, son Joseph Johnson, passed away February 1, 1912, at the age of 87 years.

The Lexington Herald, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Monday, February 5, 1912

Mt. Sterling

Mt. Sterling, Ky., Feb 4. – Mr. Joseph Johnson, aged 87 years, who died last Thursday night, was buried in Machpelah Cemetery Saturday morning.  Mr. Johnson was one of the oldest and best-known farmers of the county.  He was a man of the highest type of citizenship and his death is a distinct loss to the community.

Mr. Johnson’s wife died some time since, but he is survived by ten children, J. Gano Johnson, Dr. J. Keller Johnson, J. Wells Johnson, Mrs. Claude Holly, Mrs. James Gay, Mrs. Dunlap Gay, Mrs. Lucien Greene, Miss Fannie Johnson, of this county, and Mrs. Maggie Kemper, of Bourbon County, and Mrs. Lide Herriett, of Oklahoma.

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