SCGenWeb Project



Marj, a descendent of Revolutionary War Soldier Shadrack Johnston, has submitted this biography from a book written by Shadrack's grandson James Patten Johnston and published in 1895.

It appears from this book the James Patten Johnston family kept in touch with the family in Darlington for it details the death of old Shadrack Johnston. I believe Shadrack Johnston was still alive and 80-90 years old on page 218 of 1830 census for Darlington County.

Marj has abstracted (verbatim) the Revolutionary War era and the Johnston genealogical portions below.

The Life and Work of Elder James P. Johnston, compiled by E. B. Cox and printed in 1895 by Herald Book Print in Biloxi, Mississippi.

"Among the first settlers of SC was Shade Johnston's father, about whom little is known except that he was a sturdy old pioneer and brought his children up in the paths of virtue, Shade was born when SC was under the rule of the British Crown. The sparsely settled country in which he first saw the light was destined to become the scene of some very tragic and dastardly crimes. The British Crown was very exacting in its rule in south Carolina, as it was in other colonies, which exasperated the quick-tempered Carolinians to no little degree. Shade would often listen most attentively when the neighbors were talking of the injustice in England. The oppression of that monarchy aroused in his heart the most righteous indignation against that country and he grew to be a staunch patriot, who could neither be persuaded, bought nor threatened to leave the right for the wrong.

When the Rev. War broke out over the country with its atrocious crimes and blood curdling wrongs, Shade Johnston was among the first in line. He fought nobly and was always answering "here" to the roll call and was a splendid shot. Smallpox broke out in the army, however, and held high carnival over the already ragged and barefooted soldiers. Shade was seized with this terrible malady which caused him to be unfit for duty and necessitated his removal back home to his wife and children. He was the father of five children, four sons and one daughter. Three of his sons grew to be influential, pioneer Baptist preachers and spent their time principally in Alabama and SC in the cause of Christ. Although all weregood and great, we have to confine ourselves to one son only, who was born in South Carolina. The exact time of his birth is not known, but it was between 1760 and 1770. Although he was quite small during the infamous act of England toward America, yet he was not too small to realize the magnitude and injustice of such acts. Living there among the stirring scenes that followed the outbreak of the war in which his father was a participant, no wonder he grew to be a young American patriot: the patriotism of his father was enough to inspire his young mind with outrageous zeal to help the cause of liberty.

Now and then, borne faintly on the breeze, came the clash of resounding arms, telling of the awful conflict in progress and how bravely the true and faithful were holding the invader in check. Again some fresh news would reach their ears of some terrible massacre perpetrated by villainous Indians and blood-thirsty Tories. So the families of patriots lived in constant fear of the danger that menaced them. The breaking of a stick at night or the rapping of a tree, or the hooting of an owl, was always alarming in the extreme to the defenseless, as they feared it might be a signal used by the enemy. At this time Jacob Johnston (who is the father of James P. Johnston) was only twelve years old, but in many ways did he assist the soldiers. He was so firm and independent that anything might be entrusted to him and he would guard it most zealously. He was quite a help. When once his mind was made up, he was as immovable as the rock of Gibralter.

It was the rule in the Revolutionary war--necessity made it a rule--for soldier going home under furlough to carry their guns with them. One day, just after Shade Johnston had recovered from the smallpox he was entertaining at his home a crowd of soldiers who were off duty on a furlough when a party of Tories appeared on the hill in front of his house and seeing Mrs. Johnston standing at the window they fired upon her, without effect, however. The shots were the first indication that the soldiers had of an enemy being near. They seized their guns and rushed out to find the intruders within easy range. A hard fight ensued in which the Tories were finally routed. They had made a descent upon the house with the intention of killing Mr. Shade Johnston, as they seemed to have a special grudge against him. Probably the reason that he, more than any other man had won their hatred, was because of his unswerving patriotism and dauntless courage. After this encounter it was deemed very unsafe for him to remain at his home for his life was endangered every minute that he procrastinated, consequently it was decided to put him up in a temporary cabin in a big dry swamp near his home. There in that swamp he lived a life of perfect seclusion; no one visited him but his son Jacob, who brought him food and news of the Tories. It was not long after Mr. Johnston had been thus secreted that the Tories met Jacob carrying his father some food and demanded that he tell them where is father could be found, He temporally refused whereupon they threatened to hang him if he did not, at once, give the desired information. Jacob at age 12 replied, "You may hang me if you like, but I will never tell you where my father is." Whereupon they tied a hemp cord around his neck and swung him up to the limb of a tree that stood in the yard and rode away. As soon as they disappeared his anxious and frightened mother cut him down and he slowly regained consciousness. As the blood began to circulate again, he had the sensation was like sticking pins in him all over. Ever afterwards he was an ardent hater of the in infamous Tories and he resolved to be avenged some day and especially upon the captain, who was by name Captain Sharpton and by practice a low villain.

Many years after, while Mr. Jacob Johnston was sitting on his gallery one morning before breakfast, a strange man hailed him. Mr Johnston thought he knew him, but just as the two were about to get acquainted, Mrs Johnston called that breakfast was ready. The stranger said: "Is your name Johnston?" And Mr Johnston, rising to his feet demanded: "What is your name sir?" "Sharpton" was the reply. He had hardly uttered the name when Mr Johnston struck him a blow that sent him sprawling. He would have killed him had not his wife and sister-in-law interfered; they tangled him up so that Sharpton was enabled to wriggle loose and run. Mr. Johnston immediately mounted his horse and gave chase, but the frightened fugitive took to a large swamp and eluded further pursuit. Thus it is a characteristic of the Johnston family to be brave enough to love their country and defend it at all times. Such men are the backbone of the nation--indispensible, whether in times of war or in peace. From such men sprang the noblest races of mankind--too great to tell a lie, too noble to harbor even a breath of scandal, and the first to fall into line at the morning tattoo.

After the war was over, and God's bright sun shone over a free people there was a great rejoicing throughout the land. Many who had patriotically fought for freedom did not live to enjoy it, for many, yea thousands, were freed by death on the gory battlefield or by disease. The torn and tattered veterans were returning to renew the battle of life on the old homesteads and to bask in the sunshine of freedom. Long was the awaiting of many, for the ones for whom they looked and longed never came. But all was rejoicing at the home of Mr. Shad Johnston, for he returned unscathed, and lived to a good old age at his home in South Carolina, Darlington district. He was an old landmark, missionary Baptist and a deacon in his church. He held firm to the doctrines of the Bible and was a conscientious and true Christian in every sense of the word. Shade Johnston lived to a good old age at his home in Darlington District SC. He was an old landmark, missionary Baptist and a deacon in his church. When he was eighty three years old he was walking along in front of his residence and suddenly looked up Heavenward and for an instant threw up his hands and gave up the ghost. After he had recovered from the smallpox he increased so in flesh that when standing on his feet, blood would ooze from them and he remained fleshy until his death.

Jacob Johnston was a young man during the days that tried men's souls. At the close of the war everything was in a dilapidated condition: almost everything destroyed or torn up by the enemy. Consequently it was not a very promising beginning for a young man full of ambition and spirit. Yet he went about with a courage that was befitting and promised a return of good times once more. It was then that he met his wife, who shared his ups and downs devotedly and heroically.

Shortly after his marriage, he decided to move to the new fertile country of Kentucky, which at that time was almost a barren wilderness, inhabited by roving bands of Indians, who were sometimes fierce and warlike in the disposition toward the whites. Just previous to this time there had been Indian wars all over Kentucky which menaced life and property constantly. The brave pioneers would gather in stockades and forts prepared for their defense and there they would receive their dusky enemies quite warmly indeed.

The journey across this wild country was attended by a many hardships and privations: swollen streams had to be crossed, mountains climbed and danger guarded against. There were very few towns in Kentucky of any importance at this time, but the fertile soil soon attracted many immigrants thither. After a long journey of several weeks their destination was finally reached, where they settled in a comfortable little house. It is a noticeable fact that when a person moves once they generally want to move again:; and, especially, it is noticeable fact among pioneers that they are never satisfied with one field long at a time. While Jacob Johnston was naturally inclined to rove, he was of the of opinion, or it seemed to be, that the further south he went the better it would be for him and his. Consequently he made preparation to move to Tennessee, only remaining in Kentucky two years after his removal there from South Carolina. He was not a man to hesitate between two opinions long, so they were soon on their way to Tennessee. At this time he country abounded with game of all varieties, from bear to wildcat; deer, antelopes and turkeys were plentiful, and Tennessee has perhaps, been the greatest bear State in the Union. That was where the famous Crockett, noted for his wit, killed so many of the savage varmints. Consequently fresh meat could be had in abundance. In due time the emigrants arrived in Tennessee, but Mr. Johnston seemed to think there as he did in Kentucky, that farther South would be better, and after living there about two years he packed up and moved to Wayne County Mississippi.

Jacob Johnston found the country in Wayne county sparsely settled, but things in a prosperous condition, and they country was rapidly filling with people from all parts of the Union. Winchester at that time, boasted of two or three dwellings and one or two stores which received their trade from the surrounding county. They did not keep fancy articles in those day to sell in Mississippi, but kept only what was necessary to sustain life. Clothing was principally made at home by the industrious women. A spinning wheel and loom was positively indispensible. A young lady who did not know how to card and spin was "away behind." If a young lady wore a bought calico dress she was "stuck up." Perhaps if clothing could have been obtained ready made, handy at all, things would have been different, but pride was hardly a thought in those days. People opening a new country, clearing fields, building houses, etc., had little time to think of their appearance, as others saw them. Yet their coarse clothing was always arranged very neatly and their dress looked tidy, indeed considering the cloth. Immediately after Mr. Johnston's arrival in Winchester, he put up a small store, which however never done much business.

Just previous to the admission of Mississippi to the Union, the home of Jacob Johnston was gladdened by the appearance of a baby boy. On the fourth day of April 1817, James Patton Johnston first saw the light of day. Shortly after his birth his father moved to Monroe in Perry County Mississippi, where he lived five or six years. Jacob Johnston's sons were as follows: John, Jordon, William, James and Washington. All of whom are dead except for two, Washington Johnston and James P. Johnston (the subject of this sketch.). Washington Johnston lives in Jefferson county near Natchez, Mississippi. He is 76 years old. The other brothers and sisters have gone to reap the rewards of their well spent lives. John Johnston lived to be seventy seven years of age. Jordon Johnston died at the age of fifty years. William Johnston died at the age of twenty four. He had been working hard and while very warm he took a plunge beneath the water, which shortened his life and was the real cause of his death.

Mr. Jacob Johnston lived in Perry County five years. James was six or seven when his father moved to Alabama. There James had the opportunity of attending school. His teacher's name was Brown. Jacob Johnston had had dyspepsia for a long time but it had not been very bad until the year 1825, when he was taken down and died soon after, when James was eight years old. This was a terrible shock to his beloved family. The funeral followed with a large attendance of friends and neighbors. He was buried where he was then living in Butler County Alabama. The situation in which Mrs. Johnston was left was peculiarly disheartening because she was a woman and had no children with her except James and Washington, James being the oldest. Mrs. Johnston later broke up housekeeping and went to live with her daughter who had married Mr. Nichols. This was in 1839."


NAME: Marj
DATE: September 7, 2002
QRYTEXT:My ancestor is Shadrack's son Jacob Johnston, via his daughter Sarah who married Joel Nichols in Mississippi.

I am trying to locate the other sons mentioned (whose names are not given) but they were all Baptist ministers in South Carolina and Alabama. Does anyone know of any Baptist ministers named Johnston in old Darlington County? Thank you.