Witherspoon and related families



From: Cathy Sato

To: Don Kelly
Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2005 3:01 PM
Subject: Submission to Franklin Co., ARGenWeb-Whitson-Lasater Shooting Part 3 Ancestors and Descendants of John Witherspoon Whitson & siblings


Descendants of John Witherspoon Whitson

(Alias Dr. Talifero David Johnson)



John Witherspoon Whitson [1819-1875] married Sarah Jane Round(s) [c.1828-1908] about 1842. She was born in Indiana, according to census records. She was probably from the Round(s) family of Worcester Co., MD, some of whom migrated to Ripley Co. IN. The family perhaps lived in MO, then TX, then the San Jose, CA, area.


John Witherspoon Whitson (alias Johnson) and Sarah Jane Rounds had the following children:


1. Flora Minerva Johnson [Whitson] [c. 1843-bet. 1910-1920] m. 1) Armstead Locke Burnett [1839-1862](son of Peter Hardeman Burnett and his wife Harriet Walton Rogers) in 1860 in San Jose, CA. Peter Burnett was an Oregon Trail pioneer, a lawyer who defended Mormon leader Joseph Smith, the first American governor of California, and the author of a book about his passionate conversion to Catholicism. He is written up as a hero in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Flora’s marriage to Armstead Burnett ended in 1862 with the death of her husband and baby in an epidemic. During her marriage she converted to Catholicism and converted her entire family as well, including the family of her second husband. She married 2) William Findley Hester [1832-bet. 1910-1920], a wealthy farmer and landowner, in 1869, son of Judge Craven P. Hester [1796-1874] and Martha T. Leonard [1799-1877]. Judge Hester was also an Oregon-California Trail pioneer and his father was Rev. Matthias Hester, a Methodist circuit rider in Ohio. Flora’s family lived in San Jose, CA, and later in San Francisco and Oakland, CA.


Flora and William Hester had four daughters:


Perle [b. 1870] m. Edward Brady Harrington [1865->1930], a lawyer, and had one daughter, Clare Hester Harrington [1892-1972]. Clare was a vocalist and musician who wrote and copyrighted a popular song entitled “Pilar” in 1941. She married John W. Whitson, the son of her grandmother Flora’s brother, Dr. Robley Dunglison Johnson [Whitson]. Perle’s family lived in San Francisco and Oakland, CA. Clare and John lived in CA and later moved to the East Coast, where their two sons both became Catholic priests. One of those sons is still living and calls himself “the last of the Mohicans” as all the other relatives of his line that he knows of have passed on.

Effie [b. 1972] lived with her sister Perle and was a singing teacher.

Lou [b. 1974/5]

Flora [b. 1978]


2. Luella Johnson [Whitson] [1846-?] m. William L. Dickenson, an apothecary working for Dr. T.D. Johnson [John Witherspoon Whitson] and later a capitalist. In 1880 the entire family ( Sarah and 5 of her 6 children), except Flora, were living with him. The family lived in San Francisco. William was the son of Oregon-California Trail pioneer Gallant Duncan Dickenson, who settled in the San Jose area.


3. John W. Johnson [Whitson] [1850->1880] He is listed in the 1880 census living with the Dickensons in San Francisco. He was a house and sign painter at that time.


4. Lilla/Lillie Johnson [Whitson] [1852-?] In 1880 she is listed as living in San Francisco with the Dickenson family.


5. Dr. Robley Dunglison Johnson [Whitson] [1860-1897] m. Katharine Egan [1865-1945] in 1886. They lived in San Francisco, CA. Robley was also a physician and is found in the San Francisco directory in 1889-90.


Robley and Katharine Johnson [Whitson] had the following children:


Ruth M.[1890-1971] m. R. F. DeClarmont/Declairmont in 1916. They had one daughter, Naoma DeClarmont [1917-?]. In the 1920 census Ruth and Naoma are living in San Francisco with Ruth’s mother Katharine, and brother, John W. Ruth was a stenographer in a steel company. In 1930 she and Naoma are living with her mother, Katharine, in Oakland, CA.

John W. [1892-1977] was a mechanical engineer. He married his cousin Perle’s daughter, Clare Hester Harrington in about 1925. They had two sons who became Catholic priests, one of whom is still living.

Helen R. [1894- ?]


6. Naoma/Naomi Johnson [Whitson] [1866-?] m. John McDowell Whitson [1866-?],

her second cousin, in 1897 in Buncombe Co., NC. His father was George W. Whitson,

son of Joseph McDowell Whitson, William Whitson Jr.’s brother. Naomi and John had

at least one child:


John R. Whitson, b. 1899.


John and Naomi Whitson and their son John R. are found in the 1900 census in Asheville, Buncombe Co., NC, with Naomi’s mother, Sarah J. Whitson, age 72. She is listed as having borne 6 children, 5 of whom are still living.


Descendants of Martha Pettigrew Whitson


Martha Pettigrew Whitson [1828-1905] m. Thomas Carroll [1825-1897]. Martha was born near Nashville, TN, and died in Montgomery Co., MO. Thomas Carroll was from Hardin Co., TN, and moved to Ralls and later Audrain Co., MO.


They had eight children. William Samuel, always called Sam, married Volumnia Alford. Two daughters, Harriet Elizabeth and Mary Louise, died young. John Wesley, known as Wes, married Lillie Burke and died shortly thereafter. Susie married William Heckart. Jimmy died as an infant. Martha Bloomfield, known as Bloom, married James Oliver. My grandmother, Ella Jane Carroll, married a Swiss farmer from Ohio named Hiram Stalder. They migrated to Washington State where our family still owns the family farm north of Spokane, WA, that Hiram and Ella bought in 1901. The apple trees they planted still produce fruit for fresh squeezed apple cider. Hiram and Ella had eight children also, six girls and two boys. One of the daughters was named Martha Pettigrew Stalder, known to us as “Aunt Pet.“ The other daughters were Bert, Effie, Tina, and Zella. The two sons were Jacob Wesley and Fred Orin, neither of whom had children of their own. The family remains close down to third and soon fourth cousins. We continue to get together and keep in touch with each other. A middle daughter, Mae Stalder, was my grandmother. She was an independent young woman who climbed mountains, loved hiking, birding and bossing cows around. She was also a school teacher. She and her husband, Ed Dennis, an agricultural journalist with roots in New England, met in a mountaineering club and climbed most of the major peaks in the Pacific Northwest together. Their daughter, Lethene Dennis Parks, is my mother, a board member of the Oregon-California Trail Association and an officer in the Blair Society for Genealogical Research. She is a retired librarian. I am a retired teacher who spent 15 years abroad in my youth in Mexico, Australia, Ecuador and Japan, after spending summers in college working at Crater Lake and Mt. Rainier National Parks.



I have been in touch with a descendant of Dr. James Franklin Johnson, who is doing her own research to verify whether she believes that he was James F. Whitson. I believe that the documentation I have gathered, while circumstantial, is convincing. James Johnson b. 1837 is in the census with Dr. J.B. Johnson, one of the aliases of John Witherspoon Whitson. We know he was JWW because the names and birth dates of family members match and because his family reclaimed the Whitson name. The family lived in San Jose, near Gilroy. The death notice of Dr. T.D. Johnson (JWW), datelined Gilroy, CA, mentions that he is the brother of “Dr. Johnson, of this city.” In the book Ten Years in Paradise: Leaves from a society reporter's note-book by Mary Bowden Carroll, the wedding of Flora Johnson [Whitson] to Armstead Burnett is described, including the fact that one of the groomsmen was the uncle of the bride, James Johnson. James Johnson is found in the census in 1870 and 1880 with an age that would make his birth date 1840 vs. the birth date of James F. Whitson, b. 1837. However, such mistakes were common in the census. I doubt there was more than one Dr. Johnson of Gilroy born in Tennessee of the same or nearly same age. However, it is a rather startling thing to do to tell someone that the family name they have borne through five generations is not their real name and I could certainly have made an error.

                                                           Descendants of James F. (Whitson) Johnson


This family lived in Gilroy, Santa Clara Co., CA


1) James Franklin Whitson, alias Johnson [b. 1837 TN d. 1880-1900] m. Georgia Martin, [1847-1936] daughter of Julius Martin [1804-1891] & Elizabeth McPherson [1819-1900], Oregon Trail pioneers. James & Georgia married in 1869 and divorced around 1875. Nothing is known of James after the 1880 census when he was living in a boarding house in Lampoc, Santa Barbara Co., CA. He was a physician and druggist. His descendants continued in that business for the next two generations. There was a Dr. James F. Johnson who served in the Civil War for the Confederacy with the 14th Tennessee Infantry, who may be our Dr. James Johnson. It would not be unlikely since our James F. Whitson was born and raised in Tennessee and it was mentioned in Ten Years in Paradise: Leaves from a society reporter's note-book that the husband of Armstead Burnett’s sister, who married around the same time, went east and was killed in the Civil War, meaning that going east to the war was not unheard of.

“The Johnson family ties to Gilroy went back to 1843, when Ed Johnson's grandfather, Julius Martin, arrived at San Ysidro. Julius, a North Carolina native, had crossed the plains by covered wagon with his wife and three daughters, passing over the Platte River, through Fort Bridger, Wyoming, and on to Oregon. With a smaller party, the Martins headed to Sutter's Fort before making their way to Old Gilroy via Visalia, arriving in December of that year. Julius Martin was among the earliest of the non-Hispanic settlers to arrive in the area, after John Gilroy, Mathew Fellom and Thomas Doak. Georgia, the Martin’s fifth daughter, was born at San Ysidro on Sept. 27, 1847. She married 29-year-old Tennessee native Dr. James Franklin Johnson in Gilroy in 1869.

2) Edward Franklin Johnson [1870-1917] m. Elsie May Abeel Garrett [1874-1933], daughter of Alice Garrett.

“Pharmacist Edward Franklin Johnson, born in newly incorporated city of Gilroy in April, 1870, began operating the first Johnson's Drug Store in a wooden building at the site in 1896. Active in community affairs, Ed Johnson also served on the board of Dr. Jonas Clark's Gilroy Private Hospital as part of an association formed to oversee operations of the facility. He was married to Elsie Abeel Garrett of Gilroy on Feb. 20, 1898”

3a) Edward Martin Johnson, known as Martin [1901-1945] m. 1) Frances Cottle in 1925. “Frances died in 1963 in Carmel.“ They had a son, Warren Cottle Johnson, b. 1926, parents divorced in 1928 or 1929. 2) Amanda Wheelock in 1929. She died in the late 1980's in Watsonville, CA.


“E. Martin was a graduate of U.C. Berkeley school of Pharmacology and became a pharmacist after his father. Frances was a devout Catholic so did not remarry until the late 1940's after Edward had died. In May 1922, Martin assumed management of his late father's business. Early success enabled him to purchase two more pharmacies, adding a Johnson's Drug Store in Morgan Hill in 1923, and in 1927 a Johnson's Drug Store in Watsonville. In between purchasing the two branch stores, Martin had his father's two-story old wooden drug store torn down. In 1924 his new, single-story drug store, built by Palmer and Gurries, went up next door to the new medical office building of Drs. Heverland and Elmer Chesbro (7445 Monterey Street.)”


3b) Garrett Abeel Johnson [1903-1971] Took over the family drug store after his brother died. Killed in a car accident.

4a) Warren Cottle Johnson [b. 1926] “Warren Johnson had very little contact with his father.”


4 b & c) Amanda & E. Martin ,as he was known, had two children. One son and one daughter.


“Most of the Johnson side of the family is buried in Gilroy. There is a large family plot in the Odd Fellows cemetery.”



Descendants of Amanda Whitson [1820-1873] & Gen. Jesse Miller [1803->1880] m. 1836 in Whitsontown, Crawford Co, Arkansas



 Cyrus Miller  b: ABT 1848 in Tennessee

 Catherine Miller b: ABT 1851 in Franklin Co, Arkansas

 Elizabeth H. Miller  b: ABT 1857 in Franklin Co, Arkansas [I believe that this

is Harriet Miller, age 20, who married Jacob L. Pickel, age 26, in Franklin

Co., AR, in 1877. In the 1880 census Jacob L. and Elizabeth H. Pickel are

living in Maxey, Franklin Co., AR, with Jacob’s mother, brother, and sister.]

Jesse Miller Jr. b: 1860/1861 in Mulberry Township, Franklin Co, AR

m. Sallie J. Wilson, daughter of Judge John H. Wilson by his first wife,

Margaret Harris. Different biographies of Judge Wilson describe his second

wife as either “Mrs. Tosie Pickel” or “Lucy N.”, both described as the

daughter of Gen. Jesse Miller. Jesse Miller Jr. is found in the 1900 census as

a widower, living in Ft. Smith, Sebastian Co., AR, with his two daughters,

M.H.M. and E.H.M., and his father-in-law, John H. Wilson. At some point

Jesse Jr. is said to have lived in Oregon.

          Anna N. "Annie" Miller b: ABT 1863 in Franklin Co, Arkansas m. Charles A.

Wills, b. AL. They had the following children: Miller, Stewart, Esther,

Charles, John, & Annie.

Lucy N. Miller ???? b: 1840/1861 m. Judge John H. Wilson?????




Ancestors of John Witherspoon Whitson, Amanda Whitson Miller, Martha Pettigrew Whitson Carroll & James F. Whitson/Johnson


The parents of John Witherspoon Whitson and his siblings were William Whitson Jr. [1792-1836] from Buncombe Co., NC and Williamson Co., TN to Crawford Co., AR, and Harriet Witherspoon [1799-1851], of Williamson and Wayne Co., TN, probably died in Hardin Co., TN.


Harriet’s father was John Witherspoon [1763-1839] born in Chambersburg, Franklin Co., PA, served during the Revolutionary War as a scout for the Patriot army in Wilkes Co., NC and fought in the Battles of Cowpens, Hawfields, Hart’s Mill near Hillsborough, wounded by the sword of a British dragoon at Whitsit's Mill on Reedy Fork fighting against Lord Cornwallis' army, Camden, and Eutaw Springs. Rose from private to sergeant, amended his pension application to state that he served with James K. Polk and Andrew Jackson (future presidents of the U.S.), "who are all well acquainted with me." 1833 memo from James Polk attests to truth of declaration of John Witherspoon and character of William Barnett, county clerk, who gave an affidavit supporting John Witherspoon’s Revolutionary War pension application. After the war John and his brother David raised fine horses. Later he moved to Williamson, Davidson and Wayne Co., TN. He married Elizabeth Shute [1776-1831], the daughter of Asa Shute, a pioneer land locator. That Shute was here [ Hickman Co., TN ] as early as 1811 is evidenced by the fact that a beech tree on the creek was marked: "Asa Shute, 1811.”


John Witherspoon’s parents were John Witherspoon [1726-1778], who came from Glasgow, Scotland to Philadelphia to Chambersburg, PA, to Wilkes Co., NC. He was a landowner and served as a magistrate, taking the Oaths of Allegiance to the Patriot cause. He was said to have been killed by Tories. His wife was Martha Pettigrew [1734-1810] who was recognized for her service to the Revolution for giving up her kettles and pots to be melted down for ammunition. Tories came to her house and shot her cows and cut open and scattered her feather beds. On a later occasion, when her sons David and John came home to check on her and their sisters, Tories surrounded the house and captured the boys. The were sentenced to be shot but were let go with the promise that they would return with a fast mare they owned and join the Tories. Instead the went home, got the mare, and David rode 60 miles to get help from Patriot forces, who returned with him and captured the Tories, a number of whom were hung. After the war John and David tangled with their former militia commander over accusations that his family members had stolen some of their horses. One incident involved David shooting the horse thief, who survived. Thereafter bad blood existed between the two families and eventually John Witherspoon and his former militia commander, Benjamin Cleveland, arranged to fight a duel, but were stopped by their friends.


There have been persistent claims that our John Witherspoon was related to the John Witherspoon who signed the Declaration of Independence. I can find no evidence that this is so, though the families could have been related back in Scotland. The actress Reese Witherspoon is said to be a direct descendant of the signer John Witherpsoon. Her brother’s name is also John Witherspoon.


Martha Pettigrew’s father was James Pettigrew III [1713-1784]. He came from County Tyrone, Ireland, to Philadelphia, where he is said to have been a friend of Benjamin Franklin., who advised him to undertake medical training, which he did not do. He moved to Chambersburg, PA, and later to Abbeville Courthouse, SC. He farmed and raised stock. As a young man in Ireland he was wild and daring and eloped with a local beauty named Mary Ann Cochran [1713-1786], daughter of George Cochran[1680-1775] and Rachel Higginbotham [born about 1680]. Later he became such a strict Presbyterian that he would not allow a fire to be built for cooking on the Sabbath. This saved the family from an Indian attack one Sunday as the Indians passed by the Pettigrew home as, seeing no smoke, they assumed no one was home. "Pettigrew was a strong Whig and he and several of his sons, grandsons, and sons-in-law served with the Colonial troops in the Revolutionary War. He was somewhat skilled in medicine, and as practitioners were scarce, he was often called on to give medical aid, which he did impartially to Whig and Tory alike, and for this reason, in the turbulent days that followed the fall of Charleston, when the life of no man was safe in the country, which was infested with bushwhackers of both parties, Pettigrew's family was little disturbed."


The father of James III, James Pettigrew II [1660-1750], had emigrated to Ireland from Scotland. James II fought with the army of William of Orange as an officer in its successful Battle of the Boyne against King James II in 1690, which resulted in the subjugation of Ireland. James II was rewarded for his military service with a grant of 300 acres of land near the town of Aughnacloy in Tyrone County. The father of James II, James Petigru I [b. 1630], was a French Huguenot who left France for Scotland during the reign of Louis XIV because of religious persecution. His surname at that time was "Petigru." James II changed the name to Pettigrew so as to mask the French origin of the name due to the enmity felt by the English toward the French. James II built the family home, Crilly House, on the tract granted him in Tyrone County. James III was born in that house which was built by his father on the "Blackwater."


William Whitson Jr.’s parents were William Whitson Sr. [1762-1806] and Ann McDowell [1758-1829]. They came from NC and moved to TN. William and Ann lived in Maury Co., TN. Ann’s parents were John “Hunting” McDowell [1717-1799] and Annie Edmundson [b. abt. 1717] of Virginia. John McDowell came from Scotland. "He is first known in this country in Frederick Co., Virginia in 1745. He left there in 1749 and moved to Anson Co., North Carolina, and settled on the Broad River in what is now Cherokee County, South Carolina. After the death of his father he moved to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina near his widowed mother. In 1765 he moved to Burke County, North Carolina." He was one of the pioneers of western North Carolina.


William Whitson Sr.’s father was Capt. Thomas Whitson [1734-1808]. Captain Thomas Whitson was born in Stafford County, VA. He left Shenandoah County, VA and moved to Rowan County, NC some time prior to the Revolution. His land lay on the Catawba River where he operated a ferry. He was commissioned a Captain in the Revolution but towards the close of the war switched sides and fought with the British. He came to Tennessee some time after 1790 and took up land on the north bank of Little Doe. Other researchers dispute that Thomas Whitson changed sides. Rather, his son Benjamin fought with the Tories, was captured and sentenced to be hanged. He was saved from hanging by the orders of Gen. Charles McDowell. Gen. McDowell was brought to trial in 1782, in part, charged with protection for Benjamin Whitson.



Thomas Whitson’s father was another William Whitson [1706-1783]. William Whitson came to Washington County, Tennessee, from the Shenandoah Valley after 1775, settling on land which became Carter County. His land lay on the Catbird Branch of Sinking Creek off the Watauga River. This is the second move for William and wife Margaret Whitson. They had both been born in the tidewater area of Virginia--Stafford County--and moved to the Shenandoah Valley shortly after 1750, settling on land in the Powell Fort Area. They endured the years of constant Indian attacks during the French and Indian War. William Whitson was in the militia in Frederick County, VA. In his father, William Whitson's will, probated in Stafford County, VA in 1739, William Whitson (II) was described as a planter. And so he seemed to remain always in search of more and better land. William died in 1783, with his youngest surviving son, Jesse, inheriting a bulk of the estate because he had taken care of his father during his declining health. William was the fourth generation Whitson in America.


The Whitson line continues back with William Whitson [1676-1738] and Lydia, to Joseph Whitson and Mary Fletcher, who came from England to Stafford Co., VA.


The original immigrant ancestor of this line was another Joseph Whitson [1615-1696].


http://homepages.rootsweb.com/~whitson/ (Robbie Long Burnett):


Joseph Whitson, Immigrant

Joseph Whitson was born about 1615 in the Bristol, England area. Joseph is first seen in any known documents as a passenger on the Primrose in July of 1635.


It is a well-documented practice of the British, as well as other Europeans, to give the family wealth to the oldest son. The rest of the family would either work in the family business or try to find their own way in world. However, the opening of the Americas allowed children such as Joseph to find a new avenue to make a living. With this in mind, it is believed that Joseph was a younger son to a father who was likely in the shipping business and had some wealth. Joseph never turns up as a `sponsored' immigrant to a large land owner, but is seen as being associated with the merchants of Bristol. Documents dated back to the 1660's in Isle of Wight County, Virginia show Joseph as affiliated with Bristol merchants.


It is believed that Joseph moved to Lower Norfolk County, Virginia in 1679 when he bought land there from Jacob Smith.


In 1684, Joseph bought the plantation of William Odion. Signing the document of sale were sons Samuel Whitson, Joseph Whitson, and daughter-in-law Mary [Fletcher] Whitson. On the basis of this document, it is believed that the oldest son Thomas had died by this time.


At a sheriff sale in 1694, Joseph purchased 300 acres of land in Stafford County, Virginia on the Rooses bank of the Aquia River. Stafford County is located in the northeast corner of Virginia on the Potomac River.


Joseph's spouse (name unknown) was alive for the trip to Stafford County in 1694. However, she died by 1696, as Joseph is seen documenting that she was buried in the family burial plot. In Joseph Whitson's will of 1696, the Whitson plantation was divided into three parts and willed to eldest surviving son Samuel, son Joseph, and daughter Elizabeth [Whitson] Butler. Joseph Whitson died in 1696 and was buried beside his spouse in the family cemetery.


Some earlier Whitson genealogies said that this Whitson line descended from Whitsons from Long Island, New York. That has since been disproved.



Research & Records of Lethene Dennis Parks (lethene@comcast.net)

Joseph Bailey Witherspoon Notes at http://witherspoon3.tripod.com/JBW/




samantha_jacobs_@hotmail.com at www.rootsweb.com World Connect


Madison Co., TN Deed Book 2 www.tngenweb.org/records/madison/smith/deed01-3.htm (heirs of Asa Shute)

Tennessee State Library & Archives, Acts of Tennessee 1796-1830 S (Part 2)

korves@astro.as.ntexas.edu at www.rootsweb.com World Connect, cites Witherspoon Family History, info. from Mary Agnes Steward, La Jolla, CA


www.familysearch.org Marriage Records 1789-1951 Davidson Co., TN county clerk


U.S. Census


choctawlady2@yahoo.com at www.rootsweb.com World Connect

wjhonson@aol.com Sources: International Genealogical Index; Arkansas Marriage Notices 1819-1845 by James Logan Morgan, pub. by Arkansas Research, Conway, AR, 1984, reprinted 1992; The Settlers of Lovely County and Miller County, Arkansas Territory 1820-1830 by Melinda Blanchard Crawford & Don L. Crawford, pub. by Picton Press, Rockport, ME


SOURCE: History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties, Arkansas. Chicago: The Goodspeed Publishing Co.,1889.


                   www.pinnaclenews.com “Johnson’s Drug StorePioneer Family Links with Local History” by Elizabeth Barratt  The Sunday Pinnacle Internet 

                   Edition Volume 19, Number 26 | Week of April 3, 2005