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To:  Wayne Johnson

From: Ethel Johnson Fussell

Date:  4-19-62

RE:  Johnson Family History

A letter from Ethel Johnson Fussell (aka “Hardy Mama”), (sister to Imogene Johnson Jordan, Mother of Thelma Jordan Chamberlain).  Written 4-19-62 to Wayne Johnson.  (Wayne sent a copy to Thelma Chamberlain on 4-29-76 and the return address was listed as 509 E. Mustang, Crowley, TX 76036, but later (in Thelma’s handwriting) another address was written under it: 19 Enus Dr., Belton, TX 76513.

            “Now about our family tree: what I know is what my grandmother

            and other older ones in the family told me.  My Grandma Johnson

            (my father’s mother) was the daughter of Governor Brown of

            Tennessee—a slaveholder and was born in 1824.  When she grew

to marriageable age, married J. T. Johnson,[1] the son of a reputable man who did not believe in slavery, and her father disinherited her.  The

word “disinherit” may not be in the dictionary (and I may have misspelled

it) but that is what Grandma said after having lived in Tennessee long

enough to find out that Great-grandfather was not going to accept her

as a member of his family.  J. T. and Lucy Melvina Johnson, my

grandparents, moved to Louisiana and Grandma never saw any of her

relatives any more but did write to some of them.  I read some of the

letters after I learned to read.  Often when she straightened the things in her trunk.  I would read them and let me tell you they were much better and more correctly written than this one I am writing to you.


The James T. Johnsons had 8 children and lived near Many (or Marry?), LA when the Civil War broke out.  Grandpa—tho (sic) he did not believe in slavery nor war, enlisted and went to war leaving only (?) a small sandy farm with one horse.  After 2 years of hardships, Grandpa died of measles at Alexandria, LA and is buried in the Confederate Cemetery at Pineville, LA.  Now how she and her children existed until they all grew up and married is a pitiful story but they were hardy, strong men and women except 2 sons—one died in infancy and one died of dysentery after he returned from war.

My Grandfather had 2 brothers:  Uncle Lee and Uncle Tom, who came to Texas and settled farther west than we did when we came.  They, too, had large families.  One Aunt of Papa’s married a Mr. Walker and they (the Walkers and Aunt Margaret) lived in Leon County not too far from Franklin.

Your Grandpa Johnson had 3 brothers only one of whom lived to be grown:  Uncle Frank, who is buried at Glendale.  He had 1 child.  A daughter, Pearl Vaughan who died in 1959.  She left no children.

Papa’s sisters:

Aunt Nannie married Jim Dempsey.  No children.

Aunt Lizzie married Fred (?) Grabbs 4 (Arthur & Louise Bynum’s          


Aunt Emma married T. J. Howland (1 daughter and 1 granddaughter)

Aunt Lona married M. Risinger. (1 son:  Ed Risinger in Rosenberg)

My father, W. T. (Bill) Johnson married Sara Scarborough (Dr. L. R.

            Scarborough of Baptist fame—cousin).  They had 10 children:

                        Lona died in infancy

                        Fadra married C. C. Ethridge (died in 1942)

                        Effie married Dan Thornton (died in 1921)

                        Jerome married Maxine McJunkin (died in 1939)

                        Millie (died in infancy)

                        Ethel married Hardy Fussel

                        Sam died in infancy

                        Ellis married Clara Fussell (died in 1928)

                        Imogene married Adker Jordan

                        Neal married Thelma Jordan (NOT Thelma Jordan

                                    Chamberlain!!!  This was her “Aunt Thelma.”)

Wayne, I scribbled this with the idea of rewriting it in neater form but I believe I won’t.  If you can’t read it, bring it to me when you come and

I will read it to you.

The Johnsons of my tribe spell it Johnson.  When I see you if I’ve left out anything I’ll try to recall it.  I’ve been reminded that we are related to Lyndon B. Johnson.  I do not know whether we are or no.  If I thought the fact of being kin to him would help this rheumatism, I’d wire him and find out.

                                                            Aunt Ethel

[1] In another place Aunt Ethel wrote that W. T. Johnson’s father’s name was “James Franklin Johnson,” so this would be “J. F.” instead of  “J. T.”  I will type letter as is, however, note that discrepancy.  (It could be that I am misreading her “F” for a “T.”)