Jacob Johnson (father of Andrew Johnson)

Jacob Johnson (father of Andrew Johnson)

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Jacob Johnson was the father of Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

, the seventeenth President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

.

Early life


Jacob Johnson was born circa 1778. Some sources indicate that he was born in Newcastle
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River Tyne...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and sailed to America around 1795, but other sources indicate that he was born in Raleigh
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 403,892, over an area of , making Raleigh...

, North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, and that it was his grandfather (and possible namesake) who sailed to North America from England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

.
Historian Rev. Nash A. Odom writes that "In the year 1760, Peter Johnson, migrated from Kintyre
Kintyre
Kintyre is a peninsula in western Scotland, in the southwest of Argyll and Bute. The region stretches approximately 30 miles , from the Mull of Kintyre in the south, to East Loch Tarbert in the north...

 Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 to North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

 with his large family and settled in Cumberland County
Cumberland County, North Carolina
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 302,963 people, 107,358 households, and 77,619 families residing in the county. The population density was 464 people per square mile . There were 118,425 housing units at an average density of 181 per square mile...

. The preaching instinct broke out again and a number of the Johnsons became ministers. One was the father of Jacob Johnson, who moved to Raleigh, North Carolina and was the father of President Andrew Johnson."

Author Billy Kennedy writes that Jacob's father, named Andrew, a Presbyterian, came to North Carolina about 1750 from Mounthill
Mounthill
Mounthill is a small village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, near Larne. As of the 2001 Census, it has a population of 69 people. It is situated in the Larne Borough Council area....

, which is now in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

.

Marriage and family


Jacob married Mary (Polly) McDonough on September 9, 1801. They had three children: William Patterson Johnson (1804–1865), Elizabeth Johnson (1806–unknown), and Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson was the 17th President of the United States . As Vice-President of the United States in 1865, he succeeded Abraham Lincoln following the latter's assassination. Johnson then presided over the initial and contentious Reconstruction era of the United States following the American...

 (December 29, 1808–July 31, 1875). Andrew is said to have been named after his uncle or grandfather, Andrew McDonough.

Career


Known as "mud-sills", Jacob and Mary were both employed at Casso's Inn (see below), where Mary worked as a weaver and clothes washer, and Jacob worked as a hostler
Hostler
An hostler or ostler in the horse industry is a groom or stableman, who is employed in a stable to take care of horses...

. Jacob also served as a militia Captain of Muster Division 20, as a sexton
Sexton (office)
A sexton is a church, congregation or synagogue officer charged with the maintenance of its buildings and/or the surrounding graveyard. In smaller places of worship, this office is often combined with that of verger...

 for the Presbyterian Church, and as a porter
Porter (carrier)
A porter, also called a bearer, is a person who shifts objects for others.-Historical meaning:Human adaptability and flexibility early led to the use of humans for shifting gear...

 for the State Bank of North Carolina
State Bank of North Carolina
The State Bank of North Carolina is the oldest surviving commercial building in Raleigh, North Carolina and was the first state-sponsored banking institution constructed in North Carolina. The bank was incorporated in 1810, but during the War of 1812 cash was moved inland to banks in Raleigh and...

 (chartered in 1811). Jacob is also reported to have been the sole bell toller in Raleigh.

Home


The Johnson family log home was located on the property owned by Casso's Inn, a popular antebellum inn located northeast of the present-day North Carolina State Capitol
North Carolina State Capitol
The North Carolina State Capitol is the main house of government of the U.S. state of North Carolina. Housing the offices of the Governor of North Carolina, it is located in the state capital of Raleigh on Union Square at One East Edenton Street. The cornerstone of the Greek Revival building was...

 building. Casso's Inn was run by Peter Casso, a Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 soldier.

The Johnson home is now preserved at Mordecai Historic Park in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Death


Jacob Johnson saved the lives of Colonel Thomas Henderson, the young editor of the Raleigh Star, and his friend Mr. Callum, when the enthusiastic group of fishermen capsized their fishing skiff on Walnut Creek near Hunter's Mill in December 1811. The third occupant of the skiff, Mr. William Peace, had no trouble getting to shore. Jacob Johnson jumped in the water and saved Henderson and Callum, to the detriment of his own health. Jacob died several weeks later—ironically, while ringing the funeral bell at the State Capitol Building. He is buried at the Old City Cemetery
City Cemetery (Raleigh, North Carolina)
The City Cemetery of Raleigh, also known as Old City Cemetery, was authorized in 1798 by the North Carolina General Assembly as Raleigh's first burying ground. It was laid out on of land just outside the original 1792 eastern boundary of Raleigh and bounded by East Street on the west, East...

 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

His obituary from the Raleigh Star newspaper (dated January 10, 1812) read as follows:
  • "Died, in this city, on Saturday last, Jacob Johnson, who had for years occupied a humble but useful station in Society. He was a city constable, sexton, and porter of the State Bank. In his last illness he was visited by the principal inhabitants of the city, by all whom he was esteemed for his honesty, industry, and humane and friendly disposition. Among all whom he was known and esteemed none lament him more (except, perhaps, his relatives) than the publisher of this paper; for he owes his life, on a particular occasion, to the boldness and humanity of Johnson."

Gravesite Dedication by Andrew Johnson


Jacob's grave remained marked only by “J.X.J.” until 1867, when the current marker was erected. The writing on the marker has been obliterated from weather and vandalism, but an early account indicates that it was inscribed as follows:
  • "In memory of Jacob Johnson. An honest man, loved and respected by all who knew him."


Then-president Andrew Johnson was invited by Raleigh Mayor
Mayor
In many countries, a Mayor is the highest ranking officer in the municipal government of a town or a large urban city....

 William Dallas Haywood to attend the public erection of Jacob's monument. He agreed to attend the dedication; this marked Johnson's only trip to the south during his term as President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

. He departed Washington, DC on June 1, 1867, stayed at Richmond, Virginia
Richmond, Virginia
Richmond is the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. It is an independent city and not part of any county. Richmond is the center of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Greater Richmond area...

 on the 2nd, and arrived in Raleigh
Raleigh, North Carolina
Raleigh is the capital and the second largest city in the state of North Carolina as well as the seat of Wake County. Raleigh is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city's 2010 population was 403,892, over an area of , making Raleigh...

 on the 3rd. Johnson stayed at the Yarborough House Hotel on Fayetteville Street during his stay, and delivered a lengthy speech about various topics shortly after arriving.

The gravesite dedication took place on June 4. At the ceremony, the president called his father an "honest and faithful friend, a character I prize higher than all the wordly fortunes that could have been left me.” He spent the 5th and 6th in Chapel Hill, where he attended one of the commencement
Graduation
Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as Graduands. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also...

 ceremonies for the University of North Carolina
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university located in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States...

, and left for Washington on the 7th.