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JOHNSON, BENJAMIN (1815–1872). Benjamin Johnson, soldier, early settler, and son of Moses Johnson and Mary Ann Roberts was born on June 8, 1815, near Edgerly (in present-day Calcasieu Parish), Louisiana. He moved to Texas in 1832 and settled at Jefferson Municipality (present-day Bridge City in Orange County) on Cow Bayou.
Johnson volunteered to fight in the Texas Revolution and enlisted in the Texas Army on November 12, 1835, under Capt. Willis H. Landrum’s Company. He participated in the Grass Fight and the siege of Bexar later that year. Johnson was given an honorable discharge on January 1, 1836, at the Alamo. After learning of the fall of the Alamo, he re-enlisted in Capt. James Gillaspie’s Company, in the Second Regiment of Texas Volunteers under Col. Sidney Sherman’s command. On April 21, Sherman formed part of the regiment of the left wing and fought in the battle of San Jacinto. On June 30, Johnson served a third enlistment as second sergeant in Capt. John G. W. Pierson’s Company at Washington. He received an honorable discharge on September 30, 1836.
After service, Johnson received a donation of 320 acres of land for having served in the army. He returned to Jefferson, where on January 24, 1838, he received a 1,440-acre headright from the Jefferson County Board of Land Commissioners.
On April 24, 1838, Johnson married Rachel Garner, daughter of Bradley Garner, Sr., and Sarah Rachel Harmon. Rachel was from a family of military service. Her father fought in the Battle of New Orleans, and her brothers David, Isaac, and Jacob Garner fought at the Grass Fight and the Siege of Bexar. Her brother-in-law Claiborne West was a signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence. Soon after marriage Johnson and his new wife settled in Sabine Pass on a farm of his sister-in-law Sarah Garner McGaffey. Records show that Benjamin and Rachel Johnson were one of the earliest settlers in Sabine Pass along with John McGaffey, Thomas Courts, and Jacob Garner. Johnson then appeared before the land commissioners and received an additional headright of 3,000 acres, granted to married men. He and Rachel became the parents of at least eight sons and two daughters.
On July 7, 1838, Johnson was granted an additional 640 acres of donation land for having fought at the battle of San Jacinto. That same year, he was certified as one of fifty-seven jurors to serve in the Jefferson County courts. He was elected a county commissioner on December 2, 1852. He and his family were charter members of the second Baptist Church of Jefferson County.
Rachel Johnson died in 1856. On July 4, 1861, Johnson married Matilda Myers, whom he had employed as his housekeeper. Later that year in August, Benjamin Johnson joined his three sons, Bradley, John, and Uriah Johnson, and served under Ben McCulloch in the Confederate Army. In addition to his military and public service, Johnson was a farmer, stockman, and patriarch. Benjamin Johnson died at the age of fifty-seven at Sabine Pass on October 13, 1872, and was buried at the Johnson family plot at the Sabine Pass Cemetery in Jefferson County. A Texas Historical Marker was erected in his honor in 1972.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Herbert C. Banks II, ed., Daughters of the Republic of Texas Patriot Ancestor Album (Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 2001). W.T. Block, “Benjamin Johnson: Veteran of the Battle of San Jacinto” (http;//www.wtblock.com/wtblockjr/BenjaminJohnson.htm), accessed July 1, 2010. W. T. Block, A History of Jefferson County, Texas, from Wilderness to Reconstruction (M.A. thesis, Lamar University, 1974; Nederland, Texas: Nederland Publishing, 1976). Historical Marker Files, Texas Historical Commission, Austin. Republic of Texas Claims, Archives and Manuscripts Division, Texas State Library and Archives, Austin.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Jimmy Johnson, "Johnson, Benjamin," accessed April 28, 2017, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjoda.
Uploaded on September 19, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.