The Johnsons

by Marcia Jenkins, as told to her cousin, John Roy Jenkins,
with permission from Shannon Jones.

Alvin Johnson, (Malinda Johnson Gifford's father)was born in South Carolina ca. 1819. He married Rebecca McFarlin (born in Georgia 1821) ca. 1841. They evidently moved to Arkansas because their first five children were born there according to a census. The family moved to Texas in 1854 where the last three children were born.

A friend of ours, Mrs. Callie Ousley, who will be 101 years old in April 1984, who is very alert and spry, remebers this about the Johnson family, whom she knew personally:

"Rebecca was down by the creek (Mud Creek in Cherokee County)washing clothes, and had one or more younguns with her,when she heard a terrible ruckus up by the hogpen, which was between the creek and the house. She left the younguns, picked up a battling stick, (which was used to wash clothes) and ran to the hogpen. There was a bear in the hogpen killing a hog. She picked up an axe which was leaning against the hogpen, climbed in the pen, and with the battling stick and axe, she killed the bear." Rebecca had fiery red hair and weighed about 90 pounds.

Miss Callie also told us about three of Rebecca's daughters: "I lived with Malinda (Johnson) Gifford about six months two miles out of Rusk, Texas, near Atoy. I also knew Malinda's sister, Mary America, whome everyone called "Miss America". Miss America was an old maid and was 52 years old when in 1907, when she stayed with me. She did nursing in peoples homes when they were ill. When she first started nursing, she charged $1.00 per week, her room and board, and all the snuff she could use. Later on, she charged $3.00 per week, her room and board, and all the snuff she could use. Miss America had beautiful waist length red hair. I also met Malinda's and Miss America's other sister, Emily". Emily married W.T. Kennedy in 1876, but was a widow within ten years. Their child, D.I. was born 12-27-1883, and died the next day.

In the 1900 Federal Census, Rebecca (McFarlin) Johnson was listed as living with another daughter, Charity Grammer. In the census, Rebecca said that she did not know where her parents were born, she had no occupation, she could read, but not write, was a widow, and had 11 children, 5 still living in 1900. According to the chart (which I do not have for this page) we have information on births of only 8 children, and find that 4 children, Malinda, Emily, Mary America, and Charity were still living in 1900...who was the 5th one?

Shady Grove Cemetery between Reklaw and Rusk, Texas, holds many of the Johnson family: Mother (Rebecca) - "Asleep in Juesus" says her Tombstone.
Daughters: Malinda Gifford; Mary America Johnson; Eliza A. Apperson (and her son Joseph L. 1887-1961); and Emily Z. Kennedy, and her husband W.T.

Also buried in Shady Grove Cemetery are two ex-daughters-in-law of Americus Gifford's by wife number 1. (in pencil is written "who?") see note below.

Webmaster's notes: We know that one of the daughter-in-law's is Mary Louise (Hoover) Gifford Cook. She was first married to Edward Lawson Gifford and then after his death married Green Berry Cook. The other one is still a mystery.


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