ABT 1615 - England
BEF 28 DEC 1658 - Northampton, VA
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Thomas Johnson was an English immigrant to the Eastern Shore. He served as Colonel in the militia and represented Northampton in the House of Burgess.
Thomas married Mary Berryman before 1642 and had three sons; Obedience, Thomas and Richard all born before 1648. They may have traveled back to England to be married because on January 3rd, 1642 Thomas received a land grant in Northampton for transporting himself and seven others to the colony including his wife Mary Johnson.
On July 20th, 1643 Thomas was named Sheriff of Northampton County. In 1645 he served as a Burgess. From 1646 to 1653 Thomas was often named as a Justice of the court in Northampton. He served as Burgess again in 1646. From 1647 to 1651 the government in Jamestown declined to call Burgesses from Northampton but still levied taxes on the county. In March of 1652 six prominent Northampton citizens signed what is known as the "Northampton Protest" and complained about being taxed without being represented some 120 years before the American Revolution. Later the same year Jamestown began inviting Burgesses from the county again and Thomas served in 1652, 1653 and 1654.
On June 4th, 1646 Thomas Johnson, Gentleman, was given a patent for 600 acres at Nasswattock Creek for the transport of 12 people. On April 9th of the following year Thomas received another grant of 1,000 acres on Occhahannocke Creek bounded at the western part of Mattasippe Neck.
Mary died at some point around 1648 and Thomas remarried to Jane Larrimore. She was the daughter of Henry Larrimore and also an immigrant. Jane had previously been married to John Major who had died before April 18th, 1648. From that marriage she had one son and two daughters. Thomas and Jane had one child of their own, Elizabeth.
On March 25th, 1651 Thomas signed and Oath of Allegiance to England. Later that spring Thomas and a large group of other men from Northampton joined together to march against the Pocomoke Indians with the intent to capture or kill their king. Several tribesmen were injured or captured. Fearing retaliation from the natives the sheriff arrested Thomas and the other leaders and the county made a large payment of tobacco and weeding hoes to the tribe. Thomas was held until paying his security.
In March of 1655 Thomas was granted 200 acres of land in Northampton for the transport of four people to the colony. The land was on Occahannock Creek at the head of Matachepeneek. He was named as Major Thomas Johnson denoting his rank in the county militia. Eventually Thomas rose to the rank of Colonel.
Thomas wrote his will on November 25th, 1658. He noted that his stepchildren should have what was left to them by their father out of his estate. To his son Thomas he left 200 acres known as "Old Neck." Obedience received the plantation where his father lived called "Matasippy." Son Richard Johnson was left four cows. Stepson William Major was given a 200 acre tract at Poplar Neck with a 30 foot house to be built there. He also instructed that his servant named Hugh should be gifted a calf when he was freed. Thomas named his wife Jane as executrix of his estate.
Thomas' will was proven on December 28th, 1658 in Northampton County Court.
Wee whose names are under written this daye made choyce by the Inhabitants of Northampton Countie in Virginnia to give formations and Instructions to the gentlemen ellected Burgesses this present Grand Assemblie (in relation to such matters as conduce to our peace & saftie). And for the Redresse which (att present) wee are capable and sensible in our Countie of Northampton.
The Northampton Protest
Northampton County Orders, Wills and Deeds, Volume 4, 1651-1656
xxxth of March, Ano, 1652.
Imprimis. We the Inhabitants of Northampton complayne that from tyme to tyme (particular been submitted and bine obedient unto the tions. Butt after the yeare 1647, since that have found that the taxes were very weightie. manner (under favor) wee are very sensible sixe pounds of tobacco per poll (this present the same bee taken off the charge of the Countie; leadge that after 1647, wee did understand of Northampton to bee disjoynted and sequestered Virginnia. Therefore that Lawe which requireth tions from us to bee Arbitrarye and illegall; neither summons for ellection of Burgesses semblye (duringe the time aforesaid) but only September, Ano 1651. Wee conceive that wee against the proceedings in the Acte of Assemblie tions which have relation to Northampton Countie since the year 1647.
The Gentlemen who are (att present) to speake in our behalfe can sufficiently declare what is necessary to be expressed to this effect which wee refer to them. Our desire is that there may bee an annuall choyce of Magistrates in Northampton Countie. And, if our Countie may not have the priviledge of a peculiar government and propriety (att present) granted within our precincts, that then you Request and plead that all Causes, Suits or Tryalls (of what nature soever) maye bee comenced and (for future tyme) determined in our said Countie of Northampton.
If there bee a free and generall vote for a Governor wherein they shall ellect Mr. Richard Bennett, Wee the Inhabitants of North- ampton Countie with unanimous consent and plenary approbation Render our voyce for the said Esquire Bennett.
The people doe further desire that the Taxation for fortie sixe pounds of tobacco a heead maye not be collected by the Sheriffe (until answer of the questions from the Grand Assemblie nowe sumoned.)
Witness our Names subscribed the day and yeare afore-said
Stephen Charlton Wm Whittington
Levyne Denwood John Ellis
Jno Nuthall Steph Horsey
- Virginia Will and Probate Records
- Virginia Land Grants
- Miles Files 18.1 - http://espl-genealogy.org
- The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 5, No. 1 (Jul., 1897), pp. 33-41
- Wise, Jennings C. b. 1881. Ye Kingdome of Accawmacke: Or, The Eastern Shore of Virginia In the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, Va.: The Bell book and stationery co., 1911.
- Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, 1853-1935. Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography. New York: Lewis historical publishing company, 1915.
- Wright, F E. Northampton County, Virginia: Marriage References and Family Relationships 1634-1800. Lewes, Del: Colonial Roots, 2012. Print. Pg. 112.
- "Northampton, Virginia, United States Records," images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-L9P6-Y79C : September 20, 2021), image 72 of 425; Northampton County (Virginia). County Clerk, Virginia. County Court (Northampton County).
- Whitelaw Ralph T. Virginia's Eastern Shore; a History of Northampton and Accomack Counties. P. Smith 19681951. (Land Maps)