Johnson Family (Staffordshire)
Johnson shares the same origins as the surnames Jones, Johns, Joynes, Jennings, Jakes, Jackson, Fitzjohn, Hancock, Jacklin and many more: namely the Hebrew name Johanan, meaning "Jehovah has favoured", which was usually latinised to Johannes in early documents. This became John in English, while the feminine form was Joan. The two names were originally pronounced identically, so the surname may derive from either.
There are countless unrelated Johnson families: my direct ancestors include a totally separate line originating in Hazel Grove, Cheshire.
James Johnson, a tanner, was born in Shropshire in about 1790 and married a woman named Sarah, who was born in Bridgnorth at about the same time. She is possibly the Sarah White whose marriage to a James Johnson is recorded at St Mary Magdalen, Bridgnorth on 15 September 1811, but the common names make it difficult to be certain. If this is the correct marriage, there were possibly further children born from this date onwards
James and Sarah's known children were born in Knighton (Radnorshire), just over the Welsh border from Shropshire:
m. John Ambrose Goodwin, 1844
m. Anne Vincent, 1851
m. Charles Gregory, 1865
m. Joseph Mansell, 1856
By 1841 the family had returned to Bridgnorth, and the 1841 census shows a 9 year-old James Johnson living with them - possibly a nephew or grandson.
James died in Bridgnorth on 16 February 1842 and was buried at St Leonard's Church four days later, but Sarah lived to the ripe old age of 92, dying in Bridgnorth on 15 March 1881.
James Johnson, son of James Johnson and Sarah, was born in Knighton in about 1824 and became a carpet weaver. In the 1840s he moved from Bridgnorth to Bewdley, Worcestershire, where he married Anne Vincent in 1851. The carpet weaving trade fell into recession, and in the late 1850s James joined his sister Maria and brother-in-law John Goodwin in Wolverhampton, where he is described as a tarpauling worker. The Johnsons and Goodwins lived as neighbours in Wolverhampton for many years.
James and Anne had ten children:
Francis John Johnson
m. Eliza Martin, 1871
m. Edward Higgitt, 1872
m. Elizabeth Neesham, 1899
m. Samuel Page, 1880
m. Sarah Ann Dunn, 1881
m. Edward Head, 1883
m. Henry Price, 1884
m. Emma Davies, 1891
Anne died shortly after her youngest child Alfred was born, and she was buried in Merridale Cemetery on 28 August 1870. James married Ann Hemming, a widow, at St John's Church Wolverhampton on 25 December 1871, but died at the age of 51 and was buried in Merridale Cemetery on 12 September 1875.
Alfred was brought up by his aunt Sarah Johnson and her husband Charles Gregory, later adopting their surname. His sister Alice lived for some time at least with her maternal grandparents, while Emily seems to be living in an orphanage in Bristol in 1881.
Sarah Johnson, daughter of James Johnson and Sarah, was born in Knighton and baptised there on 21 May 1826. By 1841 her family had returned to Bridgnorth, and Sarah worked as a woollen spinner. She was at least 39 years old when she married Charles Gregory at St Mary Magdalene's Church, Bridnorth on 5 September 1865. Charles was a carpet weaver, born in Bridgnorth in 1830 and was the son of John Gregory, a gardener, and his wife Martha Hall. (He does not appear to be related to the Gregory family of Wellington/Wolverhampton in the main line of our genealogy.)
Charles and Sarah had just one child:
m. Edna Maria Hutchins Brown, 1886
They also raised Sarah's nephew, Alfred Johnson (son of James Johnson and Anne Vincent), whose mother died either in childbirth or shortly afterwards, and Alfred adopted the surname Gregory.
Sarah died in Bridgnorth in 1887 and Charles in 1910.
Thomas Johnson, oldest child of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in Bridgnorth in 1852 and moved to Wolverhampton with his family as a child. He became an ironcaster and married Eliza Martin in St John's Church, Wolverhampton on 6 February 1871. Eliza was baptised in Wolverhampton on 16 September 1849 and was the daughter of James Martin and his wife Sarah Rea.
Thomas and Eliza had six children, all born in Wolverhampton:
m. William Henry Tonks, 1895
m. Alfred Matthews, 1896
m. Joseph Enoch Smith, 1898
m. Thomas Thorley, 1909
Thomas died in Wolverhampton at the age of 59 and was buried in Merridale Cemetery on 2 April 1908. Eliza was buried in the same cemetery on 11 August 1923.
Ann Johnson, oldest daughter of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in her mother's home town of Bewdley in about 1853 and moved to Wolverhampton with her family as a small child. She married Edward Higgitt, a blacksmith, in St John's Church, Wolverhampton on 2 September 1872 and their only child was born the following year:
Alfred Edward Higgitt
Sadly, Ann died in childbirth or shortly afterwards aged just 19, and was buried in Merridale Cemetery on 2 November 1873. Her son Alfred lived for less than a year, and was buried in the same cemetery on 9 August 1874. Edward remarried in 1875 to Frances ("Fanny") Jemison, and raised a large family from his second marriage.
Francis John Johnson
Francis John Johnson, son of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in Bridgnorth in 1856, shortly before his family moved to Wolverhampton. Like several of his relations, he worked in the local iron industry and at the age of 15 was a hollow ware caster. After this, he possibly lodged with a family in Wolverhampton for at least ten years, working as an iron moulder, although his details on census returns are slightly inaccurate. On 26 September 1899, he married Elizabeth Husband, widow of William Wesley Neesham, in Bridgnorth. (Elizabeth was born in Old Radford, Nottinghamshire in 1845.)
Elizabeth died in Willenhall on 6 July 1900, just a year after the marriage, but Francis is listed on the 1901 census in Willenhall as married, rather than widowed, living with his daughter Elizabeth, and his married sister Alice Price, who was keeping house for him. In 1911 he is recorded as a widower.
Francis had a daughter, whose mother is not known:
m. Arthur Edward Brotherton, 1915
Elizabeth was still living with her father in 1911, and filled in the census form for their household.
Francis probably died in Wolverhampton in late 1920, although the record is in the name of John Johnson: he appears to have been known mainly by his middle name.
Elizabeth Johnson was born on 1 April 1859 and was the first of James Johnson and Anne Vincent's children to be born in Wolverhampton after they moved there from Bridgnorth. She married Samuel Page, a labourer, in Kidderminster in 1880: he was born in Bewdley in 1853 and was the son of James Page and Bethiah Perry.
Elizabeth and Samuel raised a family of ten children, all born in Kidderminster:
Samuel Sydney Page
James and Samuel emigrated to America in 1906, followed by their younger brother William in 1909, settling in Pennsylvania. Samuel and William were naturalised in 1911 and served in the US Army during World War I, but James, who never married, eventually returned to England.
Samuel died in Kidderminster in 1931 and Elizabeth on 26 October 1945.
m. George Henry Humphries, 1906
m. Edith Mary Yates, 1919
m. John Coates, 1916
m. Eleanor Louise Perkins, 1920
m. Elsie Dora Yates, 1919
m. Gertrude Annie Palmer, 1933
m. Charles Raymond Towers, 1930
James Johnson, son of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in Wolverhampton in 1861 and worked as a hollow ware caster in the local iron industry. He married Sarah Ann Dunn at St Paul's Church, Wednesbury in 1882, and the couple settled in Wednesbury. Sarah was born in Wednesbury in 1860 and was the daughter of Francis Dunn and his wife Sarah Ann Wilks.
James and Sarah had eleven children, all born in Wednesbury:
Alice Maud Johnson
Sarah Ann Johnson
John Thomas Johnson
Gladys May Johnson
James died in Wolverhampton in 1930.
m. Frederick Clark, 1904
m. Joseph Charles Ratcliffe, 1905
m. John Arnold, 1906
m. John Henry Martin, 1910
m. Edward Jones, 1910
m. Elizabeth Ellen Boulton, 1919
m. Frederick Perry, 1919
Maria Johnson, daughter of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in Wolverhampton on 8 May 1863. She was only 12 years old when she was orphaned, and although she may have been just old enough to go into service, it seems more likely that she lived with one of her older siblings or another relative. No occupation is indicated on the record of her marriage to Edward Head at St Leonard's Church, Bridgnorth on 29 September 1883. Edward, a weaver, was baptised in Bridgnorth on 22 February 1861 and was the son of Edwin Head and his wife Elizabeth Langley.
Edward and Maria had six children, all born in Bridgwater, but only two survived past infancy:
Edward James Head
Florence May Head
William Edwin Head
m. Edith Tibbott, 1916
m. Ernest Llewellyn Duckett, 1912
In 1911, Harry Head was a Stoker (1st Class) in the Royal Navy.
Edward died in Bridgnorth in 1892 at the early age of 31, and Maria married John Jordan Cooper at St Leonard's Church, Bridgnorth on 23 August 1900. He died in Bridgnorth in 1928, and Maria married for a third time in Kidderminster in 1933 to Arthur Fryer. She died in Much Wenlock on 7 April 19179.
Alice Johnson, daughter of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in Wolverhampton in 1865 and was only 5 years old when her mother died. She was brought up by her maternal grandparents, John Winstant and Charlotte Kitchen. (Although Anne usually gave her maiden surname as Vincent, her Irish-born father generally used Winstant or Winston.) Alice married Henry Price, a labourer, in Kidderminster in 1884. Henry was born in Bewdley on 1 April 1857 and was the son of John Price, an agricultural labourer and his wife Mary Price.
Henry and Alice had three daughters, all born in Bewdley:
Mary Jane Price
m. Joseph Millward, 1906
m. William John Powell, 1913
Alice appears to have died between the 1911 census and autumn 1908, when Henry married Charlotte Wright in Kidderminster, but none of the deaths indexed locally are a close match for her age.
Henry died in Kidderminster in 1941.
Alfred Johnson (Alfred Charles Gregory)
Alfred Johnson, youngest child of James Johnson and Anne Vincent, was born in Wolverhampton on 13 August 1870 less than two weeks before his mother's death. He was brought up by his aunt Sarah Johnson and her husband Charles Gregory, who gave him the middle name Charles at his christening in Bridgnorth on 12 February 1880, and although he is listed on the 1871 and 1881 censuses as Alfred Johnson, he later adopted the surname Gregory. He became a commercial traveller, and married Emma Davies in St Pancras in 1891. Emma was born in Burton Salmon, Yorkshire in 1869 and was the daughter of Frederick and Mary Davies: in early 1891 both Alfred and Emma were living in Walsall.
Alfred and Emma had three children:
Alice Maud Mary Gregory
Gertrude Winifred Irene Gregory
m. Charles Robert Reynolds, 1926
By 1911, Alfred had become a metal roller, and the family was living in Aston, where his daughters were gauge examiners in a metal works. His younger daughter Gertrude died two years later at the age of 18.
Emma died in Birmingham in 1941 and Alfred probably died in Manchester, where his daughter Alice was living, in 1946.
William Gregory was born in Bridgnorth on 29 May 1866 and was the only child of Charles Gregory and Sarah Johnson, although his cousin Alfred Johnson was raised almost as his younger brother. He worked for a wine merchant and married Edna Maria Hutchins Brown in Bridgnorth in 1886. Edna was born in Bewdley in 1861 and was the daughter of blacksmith John Brown and his wife Elizabeth Crowther. William was quite successful professionally, and by 1901 had become a wine merchant's manager.
The couple had five children, all born in Bridgnorth:
Ethel Edna Gregory
Frances Naomi Gregory
Lucy Mabel Gregory
Harold William Gregory
Reginald Charles Gregory
m. Arthur Edmund Foxall, 1917
m. Marion Matley Cox, 1917
Reginald would have been called up for military service in World War One once he reached his eighteenth birthday, and he was drafted to France with the Lancashire Fusiliers. He died of wounds on 5 September 1918 aged 19, and is buried in Varennes Military Cemetery.
William died in Bridgnorth on 1 July 1932 and Edna on 16 February 1950.
Sarah Ann Johnson
Sarah Ann Johnson, oldest child of Thomas Johnson and Eliza Martin, was born in Wolverhampton on 22 November 1871 and worked as a domestic servant before her marriage to William Henry Tonks, a cabinet maker, in 1895. William was born in Wolverhampton on 10 August 1873 and was the son of John William Tonks and his wife Hannah Darby.
William and Sarah had nine children, all born in Wolverhampton:
m. Lilian Patty Stean, 1927
m. George Virgil Parkin, 1927
m. Ralph Westwood Moore, 1931
m. John William Taylor, 1936
William died in Wolverhampton on 23 September 1956 and Sarah in 1959.
Betsy Johnson, daughter of Thomas Johnson and Eliza Martin, was born in Wolverhampton in 1873 and like her older sister Sarah worked as a domestic servant as a young woman. In 1895 the banns were called for a marriage between her and Robert Drew, an iron worker, but for some reason the marriage never took place, and Betsy is recorded uncompromisingly on the 1901 census as Robert's mistress. Robert was born in Wolverhampton in 1859 and was the son of Allen Sagar Drew and his wife Emma Smith.
Robert and Betsy had nine children, all registered in Wolverhampton with the surname Johnson:
m. William Eldon, 1912
m. Dora May Bonell, 1934
The family appears to have fallen on hard times, because the 1911 census shows Robert and Betsy as inmates in the male and female sections respectively of the Wolverhampton Union Workhouse, while all the surviving children except Ann were living in the Cottage Homes for children in the charge of the Poor Law Guardians. Ann, the only child in employment, was living with her married aunt Florence, Betsy's youngest sister.
Robert died in Wolverhampton in 1939. Betsy possibly died there in 1953, but there is no good match for her on the 1939 Register, and the name is too common to be certain.
Alice Johnson, daughter of Thomas Johnson and Eliza Martin, was born in Wolverhampton on 6 December 1876 and worked as a tin polisher before her marriage to Joseph Enoch Smith at All Saints' Church, Wolverhampton on 2 October 1898. Joseph, an enameller, was born in Wolverhampton on 28 July 1877 and was the son of Joseph Smith and Mary Ann Cooper.
Alice and Joseph had five children, all born in Wolverhampton:
m. Mary E Walker, 1931
Joseph and Alice both died in Wolverhampton in 1949.
Florence Johnson, daughter of Thomas Johnson and Eliza Martin, was born in Wolverhampton on 28 March 1886 and married Thomas Thorley, a boot finisher, there in 1909. Thomas was born in Wolverhampton on 5 October 1884 and was the son of Samuel Thorley and his wife Selina Williams.
Thomas and Florence had four children:
Samuel Walter Thornley
Elsie May Thorley
m. Edward Evans, 1931
Thomas died in Wolverhampton in 1960 and Florence in 1968.
Elizabeth Johnson was born in Wolverhampton on 20 December 1890 and is recorded on the 1901 and 1911 censuses as the daughter of Francis John Johnson. However, there is no corresponding birth registration for her, and Francis does not appear to have been marrried before 1900. (His wife was a widow, who was still living with her first husband in 1891.) She is possibly therefore either an illegitimate or adopted daughter.
Elizabeth married Arthur Edward Brotherton, a wages clerk, in Wolverhampton in 1915. Arthur was born in Selly Oak, Worcestershire on 10 January 1892 and was the only son of Edward Brotherton and Elizabeth Middleton. Elizabeth and Arthur had four children:
Alfred Edward Brotherton
Robert Arnold Brotherton
John Raymond Brotherton
m. Gladys Hilda Hulme, 1941
m. Florence Lilian Heath, 1943
Elizabeth died in Wolverhampton in 1963 and Arthur in 1973.
Ann Elizabeth Page
Ann Elizabeth Page, oldest child of Samuel Page and Elizabeth Johnson, was born in Bewdley, Worcestershire on 10 October 1880 and worked as a carpet weaver as a young woman. She married George Henry Humphries at St John the Baptist's Church, Kidderminster on 6 August 1906. George, who also worked in the carpet weaving trade, was born in Kidderminster on 10 January 1881 and was the son of George Henry Humphries, a carpet weaver, and Ann Barth.
The couple had two daughters:
Winifred Mary Humphries
Beatrice Alice Humphries
m. John Richard Carloss, 1931
m. Arthur Frederick West, 1930
George died in Kidderminster in 1962 and Ann on 28 February 1966.
Esther Page, daughter of Samuel Page and Elizabeth Johnson, was born in Kidderminster on 6 April 1887 and like many members of her extended family worked as a carpet weaver. She married John Coates, who also worked in the carpet weaving industry, in Kidderminster in 1916. John was born in Birmingham on 2 May 1887 and was the son of John Coates, a tailor, and Mary Ann Northover.
Esther and John had one son:
Bertram James Coates
John died in Kidderminster in 19582 and Esther in 1969.
Edward Page, son of Samuel Page and Elizabeth Johnson, was born in Kidderminster on 9 February 1895 and spent all his working life in the carpet trade. He married Elsie Dora Yates in Kidderminster in 1919. Elsie was born in Kidderminster on 8 March 1897 and was the daughter of John Yates and Annie Bishop: her older sister Edith Mary Yates married Edward's brother Samuel.
Edward and Elsie had two children:
Edith Betty Page
Edward died in Kidderminster in 1967 and Elsie in 1980.
Alice Maud Johnson
Alice Maud Johnson, oldest child of James Johnson and Sarah Ann Dunn, was born in Wednesbury on 10 January 1883, and married Frederick Clark there in 1904. Frederick, a cycle dealer, was born in Wednesbury on 19 February 1884 and was the son of Thomas Clark and Harriett Averall.
The couple had eight children:
Frederick James Clark
Doris May Clark
Alice Irene Clark
Albert Cyril Clark
Lilian Ada Annie Clark
Pauline Freda Clark
m. Gladys Bullock, 1928
m. Leonard Hartshorne, 1929
m. William Earl, 1932
m. Sarah Truby, 1932
m. Arthur Simpson, 1935
m. Sidney Millward, 1941
Frederick died in West Bromwich in 1961 and Alice in 1968.
Maria Johnson, daughter of James Johnson and Sarah Ann Dunn, was born in Wednesbury on 4 January 1885, and married Joseph Charles Ratcliffe there in 1905. Joseph was born in Wednesbury on 30 August 1882, and was the son of Charles Ratcliffe and his wife Sarah Ann Ray. The couple had seven children:
Miriam Ruby Ratcliffe
Percy James Ratcliffe
Eva Linda Ratcliffe
Joseph Charles Ratcliffe
Royston Ronald Ratcliffe
m. Abraham Dyke, 1933
m. Laura Mumford, 1937
m. Sidney Harris, 1938
m. Joan Hale, 1946
m. Gladys E Edwards, 1947
m. Winifred J Hartshorne, 1951
Joseph died in Wednesbury in 1945 and Maria in 1952.
Sarah Ann Johnson
Sarah Ann Johnson, daughter of James Johnson and Sarah Ann Dunn, was born in Wednesbury on 28 October 1886 and married John Arnold there in 1906. John was born in Darlaston in 1883, and was the son of Joseph and his wife Jane Perks. The couple had two daughters, one of whom died in infancy:
Hilda Jane Arnold
Gladys Maud Arnold
John died in Wednesbury in 1939 and Sarah in 1974.
James Johnson, son of James Johnson and Sarah Ann Dunn, was born in Wednesbury on 2 March 1893 and worked as a coal miner. He married Elizabeth Ellen Boulton in Talke, Staffordshire in 1919 and had four children:
James died in Kidsgrove in 1940 and Elizabeth in 1969.
Adelaide Beatrice Head
Adelaide Beatrice Head, daughter of Edward Head and Maria Johnson, was born in Bridgnorth on 23 June 1887 and married Ernest Llewellyn Duckett there on 8 April 1912. Ernest, a baker, was born in Abbots Bromley on 24 January 1888 and was the son of Richard Duckett and Mabel Harriet Dovaston.
Ernest and Adelaide had four children:
Phyllis Beatrice Duckett
Ernest John Duckett
m. Arthur Henry Hathway, 1937
Adelaide died in Much Wenlock in 1967 and Ernest on 14 February 1975.
Esther Price, daughter of Henry Price and Alice Johnson, was born in Bewdley on 5 April 1887 and married Joseph Millward in Kidderminster in 1906 at the age of 19. Joseph was born in Bewdley in 1883 and was the son of Joseph Millward and Mary Ann Napier.
Joseph and Esther had six children, all born in Bewdley:
Edith Ena Millward Price
Joseph Henry Millward
Beatrice Flora Millward
Lilian May Millward
Thomas Edward Millward
m. Joseph Charles Fawkes, 1926
m. Dorothy Beatrice Antoinette Powell, 1939
m. James Rollins, 1935
m. Arthur Williams, 1939
Joseph joined the Worcestershire Regiment early in World War I and was drafted to the Balkans on 27 October 1915. However, like many in this theatre of war, he succumbed to disease rather than injury, dying of enteric fever in a military hospital in Malta less than two months later on 19 December 1915.
Esther then married James Henry Moles at St Anne's Church, Bewdley on 30 June 1918. James also served with the Worcestershire Regiment from the earliest days of the war, but was discharged due to illness on 31 July 1916. He and Esther had one child, who died in infancy:
Esther died in Bewdley on 8 August 1948.
Beatrice Sarah Price
Beatrice Sarah Price, youngest daughter of Henry Price and Alice Johnson, was born in Bewdley on 7 November 1889 and worked as a domestic servant before her marriage to William John Powell in Bewdley on 24 March 1913. William, a gunsmith, was born in Wolverhampton on 19 October 1890 and was the son of John Powell and Florence Margaret Elizabeth Casewell.
The couple had three children, all born in Wolverhampton:
Christopher William Henry Powell
Dorothy Beatrice Antoinette Powell
Francis Henry Powell
m. Joseph Henry Millward 1939
m. Edith Joyce Langman, 1946
William joined the Army Ordnance Corps on 9 November 1914 and was drafted to France on 15 July 1915. He acted as armourer, in line with his peacetime occupation, and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant before being discharged on medical grounds on 17 April 1916.
William died in Wolverhampton in 1964 and Beatrice in 1972.
Harold William Gregory
Harold William Gregory, son of William Gregory and Edna Maria Hutchins Brown, was born in Bridgnorth on 25 August 1894. He was apprenticed to a house painter as a young man, but later worked for the Ministry of Labour. He married Marion Matley Cox in Bridgnorth in 1917 and had two sons:
Reginald William Gregory
Edward John Gregory
The family later moved to Warwickshire, where Marion died in 1971 and Harold on 11 September 1976.