Anderson JOHNSON (1770-1857) : Devout North Carolina Quaker, Persecuted – 52 Ancestors (Ancestor 124)

Anderson JOHNSON was born the fifth child of ten into a Quaker family on “the 7th day of the 6th month in the year of our Lord 1770,” in North Carolina, probably in what was then Surry County, and what is now Stokes County.

Anderson’s father was Robert JOHNSON, a member of the Society of Friends (Quaker) in Virginia, and his mother was Virginia Cecilia (ELMORE) JOHNSON, daughter of Thomas and Cecilia (ELLYSON) ELMORE, also from Virginia, and also a Quaker. Robert and Cecelia (ELMORE) JOHNSON migrated from Virginia to North Carolina in about 1765-1766 and settled in the Old Rowan County Piedmont area which later became Surry County and then Stokes County.

By the time of the 1790 Census, the area where Robert and Virginia Cecelia had settled was within the boundaries of Stokes County. There is a Robert Johnson household census entry in Stokes County, North Carolina in 1790.

On the 10th day of the 10th month in the year 1792, at the Friends’ Muddy Creek Preparatory Meeting in what was then Stokes County, North Carolina, Anderson JOHNSON married Sarah BROOKS, daughter of David BROOKS and his wife Sarah (SANDERS) BROOKS.

The location of the Muddy Creek Preparatory Meeting was about one mile south of Kernersville in what is now Forsyth County.(1)

In 1795, from Adam Simonton, Anderson purchased 290 acres north of Hunting Creek in Iredell County, North Carolina, in what is now within the Union Grove postal area on Tutterow Road.

Hunting Creek, Iredell County, North Carolina, which was just south of Anderson Johnson's land.

Hunting Creek, Iredell County, North Carolina, which was just south of Anderson Johnson’s land. Photo taken by me in 1987.

Hunting Creek, Iredell County, North Carolina, which was just south of Anderson Johnson's land. Photo taken by me in 1987.

Hunting Creek, Iredell County, North Carolina, which was just south of Anderson Johnson’s land. Photo taken by me in 1987.

Below is a diagram that I made in 1987. For the most part, this shows the boundaries of Anderson’s land as described in the deed with Adam Simonton.

Anderson Johnson Land / Tutterow Road Diagram

For a present day aerial Google map, go to this link:

In 1990, while I still lived in North Carolina, I was blessed to be able to spend time with a distant cousin, a great-great granddaughter of Anderson JOHNSON via his daughter Rebecca who married Jesse David TUTTERROW. Rebecca and Jesse had two daughters and one son, David Sylvester TUTTEROW (notice the removal of one “R” from the surname). The TUTTEROWs inherited most of the land on Hunting Creek.

Tressa Thelma TUTTEROW (1915-2006), Tressie, lived in Union Grove, North Carolina. She was in the phone book and was easy to contact. Tressie was blind, yet she was able to give me a fantastic tour of the land and the house that her father, Wilburn Burchard TUTTEROW (1876-1963) had built. My second visit with Tressie was in 1993 when I had gone back to visit North Carolina after having left the year before.

Tressie did not know that she was a descendant of Anderson JOHNSON and that it was he who had owned the land. She did have a photo of Jesse David TUTTERROW (she had a small and large, and gave me the small one), but she didn’t know his wife’s name or maiden name. I told her what I knew (in a nutshell). She also didn’t know they were Quakers. Neither did I until I began my research in the mid-1980s.

It was so enjoyable walking that day in April of 1990 with Tressie on that land. “Did you hear that? That’s a male rabbit’s mating call.” No, I had not heard that. And if I had heard it, I would have had no idea what it was. But it happened again, so now I will always know, if I ever hear it, that it is a male rabbit’s mating call. And when I see rabbits near the woods, I always think of Tressie.

“There’s a bull out here somewhere,” she said, as we were walking among the cows, “so be on the lookout.” She told me this after we were well into the land. Not too long after she said it, we heard the snort. It was loud. “We had better start walking back.” Probably a good idea. Needless to say, we didn’t get rammed by the bull.

Tressie, either Tressie’s niece or me (in red, and most likely Tressie’s niece because it was my camera), and her two children. She, her husband, children, two golden retrievers, and a rescued baby squirrel lived nearby.

We walked all around, and Tressie even took me into the house.

TutterowRoadPhotos 4 copy

This was in 1990, and Hurricane Hugo hit the Carolina shores and traveled far inward in 1989. The uprooted tree and fallen building could have been caused by that, but I can only guess at this point as *I did not write it down*! All I know is that Hugo pulled up oak trees on my college campus that were under sidewalks and over 150 years old.

TutterowRoadPhotos 2 copy

The building on the left sort of looks like a tobacco barn. I love little outbuildings.

TutterowRoadPhotos 12 copy

Beautiful Piedmont North Carolina.

TutterowRoadPhotos 5 copy

It looks like we may have had some Dogwood in bloom.

TutterowRoadPhotos 1 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 9 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 8 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 6 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 7 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 3 copy TutterowRoadPhotos copy TutterowRoadPhotos 10 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 11 copy TutterowRoadPhotos 14 copy

Tressie told me that there had been an older house across the road, the original “home place.” It was gone now, but I marked on my diagram about where she said it was.

Anderson and Sarah (BROOKS) JOHNSON had nine children that I know of:

  1. Thomas (1794 – 1874), my ancestor, married Rachel JOHNSON
  2. David Brooks (1795 – 1877), married Fruzanna BOWLES, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (WELLS) BOWLES
  3. Mary “Polly” (abt 1799 – aft 1891), did not marry
  4. Jesse E. (1800 – 1867), married Lydia JOHNSON
  5. Jane “Jennie” (1803 – 1864), married William JOHNSON
  6. Susannah (1805 – aft 1880), married Joshua HUFF, son of Daniel and Elisabeth (CHRISTIE) HUFF
  7. Sarah “Sally” (abt 1808 – abt 1891), married Wilborn W. WRIGHT
  8. John B. (abt 1811 – aft 1870), married Patience JOHNSON
  9. Rebecca (1818 – 1888), married Jesse David TUTTERROW

Three of them went to Indiana with their families in 1840: Thomas, Jesse, and Jane. Brother John and family followed sometime between 1860 and 1870. These four also married children of Strangeman JOHNSON. Our family story is that either five or seven of Strangeman’s children married either five or seven of Anderson’s children. I’ve only been able to find four so far. I suspect there were five, but not seven (of course, it could be only four).

The rest of Anderson’s children stayed in North Carolina and lived near him. After 1840, two sons, David Brooks JOHNSON and John B. JOHNSON remained, until after 1860, when John also went to Indiana. Anderson’s daughter Mary remained unmarried until her death. Sarah married after her father died to Wilborn W. WRIGHT. Susannah and Rebecca had married during their father’s lifetime, to Joshua HUFF and Jesse David TUTTERROW, respectively.

Anderson JOHNSON was apparently a very kind and peaceful person. We are very lucky to have not one, but two items of interest written about Anderson by his fellow Quakers.

The following was written in William Evans‘ journal in the year 1841. William Evans was a Quaker who during his lifetime traveled to many meetings, often stopping along the way to visit or stay with other Friends.

We got to Anderson Johnson’s at Hunting Creek; whose wife is a daughter of David Brooks, a minister, with whom my uncle, Thomas Scattergood, was travelling as companion, when he first appeared in the ministry. To find ourselves once more amongst those of the same religions profession, imparted pleasant sensations. This Friend, we were informed, was prosecuted for aiding a slave to make his escape; and though the charge was entirely unfounded, yet from false evidence, he was amerced to the value of the runaway, and costs and damages, amounting to about twelve hundred dollars. This iniquitous decision seemed likely to ruin him; he was compelled to sell his horses and cattle, and part of his house furniture, and with much difficulty made up the sum, and prevented his prosecutors from selling his farm; and thereby throwing him and his dependent family houseless upon the world. Now, more than seventy years old, he is unable to labor hard, and from the great loss and the difficulty in selling produce, he has to endure privations which, at their time of life, he and his afflicted wife ought not to be subjected to.(2)

Quakers were persecuted for their beliefs, especially when those beliefs contradicted those of their neighbors. When this event occurred I don’t know yet. I have looked in the Quaker records for the time period and haven’t found anything reported. This may not have happened in 1841 – it could have been years before. Was it during the time that three of his children’s families were leaving for Indiana? Did that draw suspicion upon Anderson that he had helped a slave or slaves escape with them? Did they do that? Is that why his son John stayed behind, not leaving perhaps until after the Civil War and all slaves were freed, to protect his father, to help him rebuild? Oh, how I wish I knew the answers to these questions.

We can see from an obituary written by the Society of Friends in their 1859 Annual Monitor why Anderson is an ancestor from whom I am proud to descend.

Anderson Johnson, 86 9mo. 26 1857

Deep Creek, N. C.

Through a long and useful life he evinced a concern for the poor and distressed, particularly for orphans; administering to their wants as opportunities offered. He was careful respecting debts, punctual in keeping his engagements, a promoter of peace among his neighbors, and was influential in procuring the settlement of several lawsuits by arbitration. He was enabled to manifest near his close that his peace was made, and that all was well with him.(3)




2) William Evans. Journal of the Life and Religious Services of William Evans, a Minister of the Gospel in the Society of Friends (Philadelphia: Privately published, 1870), 240-241. Available on ( Hereinafter cited as Journal of William Evans.

3) Society of Friends. The American Annual Monitor for 1859; or Obituary of the Members of the Society of Friends for the Year 1858, No. 2 (New York: Samuel S. and William Wood, 1859), 83-84. Available on ( Herinafter cited as American Annual Monitor for 1859.

(My confession is that I did not properly cite all of my sources in this article.)

This entry was posted in 52 Ancestors Series, Mom's Side, Obituaries and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Anderson JOHNSON (1770-1857) : Devout North Carolina Quaker, Persecuted – 52 Ancestors (Ancestor 124)

  1. I love this article, especially the pictures and maps. They make our ancestors so much more “real” when we can visit them on their own land.


  2. Pingback: Ancestors for Week 7 – 52 Ancestors (2015 #7) | Diggin' Up Graves

  3. Wonderful piece, Elizabeth! My Colverts and Nicholsons lived down Hunting Creek in the Eagle Mills and Nicholson Mill areas.


  4. Pingback: Diggin’ Up Graves – Favorite Posts of 2014 and 2015 | Diggin' Up Graves

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