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JOHNSON
GENEALOGY
LINE


The
JOHNSON
Family
Tree

Beulah
Vernesta Johnson

(1887 - 1959)

John
Henry
Pinkney
Johnson II

(1865 - 1889)

Pinkney C.
Johnson

(1827 - 1865)

Robert
Johnson

(1778 - 1864)

_______
 

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Beulah Vernesta Johnson

 

Born: 14 Jan 1887
Died:  23 Feb 1959

 
 

Beulah Vernesta Johnson was the first child born to John Henry Johnson II (also called Henry Pinkney Johnson) and Nancy Caroline Lasley/Leslie.  Vernesta "Nessie" was born 14 Jan 1887.

Nessie only had one sibling, (John) Henry Pinkney Johnson III, born 12 Apr 1889.
 

A large portion of Nessie’s early life was filled with tragedy. 

Her paternal grandfather, Pinkney C. Johnson, died in a Civil War Federal Hospital at Point of Rocks, VA on 3 April 1865 from wounds he had sustained. 

When Nessie was a little girl, her father, John Henry Johnson, who was a lumber jack, was killed on 09 Jun 1889 when a tree fell on him.  Nessie was less than two years old at the time and her little brother, Henry Pinkney, was only two months old. 

The family took the loss really hard, especially Nessie’s mother, Nancy Caroline Leslie Johnson.  Nancy Caroline and the children lived on the farm of her mother-in-law, Levina C. Sherrill Johnson.  (Levina Sherrill’s Great-Great Grandfather was Adam Sherrril, “the Pioneer” of Catawba County and founder of Sherrills Ford.)

 

 

(Right) Nessie holds a photo of her youngest son, Harlee Goble, with his wife, Alean

 
 
 
The 1900 Iredell County Census of Shiloh Township shows Vernesta "Nessie" Johnson (age 14) living with her mother Nancy and brother, Henry Pinkney (age 11).  Charlie Johnson (age 33) was living on a nearby farm with his father, John W. Johnson.  Nessie's grandmother, Levina Sherrill Johnson, was also living nearby.
 
 

1900 Iredell County Census

 
 
Last Name First Name Relation Race Sex Birth
Mth.
Birth
Yr.
Age S/M
Wd
Yrs.
Married
No.
Kids
Born
No.
Kids
Living
Birth Occu-pation
Johnson Eliza Head W F June 1824 75 S       NC Farmer
                           
----- Charlie Head W M Sep 1866 33 S       NC Farmer
----- John W. Father W M Apr 1827 73 Wd       NC Farm
Laborer
                           
Scott Ambrosia Head B M Jan 1824 75 S       NC Farm
Laborer
                           
Johnson Nancy Head W F Nov 1860 39 Wd   2 2 NC Farm
Laborer
----- Vernesta Daughter W F Jan 1886 14 S       NC  
----- Henry P. Son W M Apr 1889 11 S       NC  
                           
Johnson Levina C. Head W F Mar 1832 68 Wd   8 5 NC Farm
Blankenship James Son-in-law W M Dec 1865 34 M 7     NC Farm
------ Eliza Jane Daughter W F April 1854 46 M 7 1 1 NC Laborer
Idson Carrie E. G.Daughter W F Mar 1873 7 S       NC  
 
 

Eventually, Nessie  fell in love with and married Charles R. A. Johnston, the son of John W. & Elisa Johnston.  Charlie was 35 at the time and Nessie had not yet turned 16.  Their marriage produced a daughter, Geneva Mae Johnston, on 21 Feb 1903. The romance didn’t last, however.  One day, Charlie just “left” and never returned.  According to Mary Helen Goble Sigmon, “the family believed that he had left town with another woman and was eventually killed.”

 
 
 

The Landmark (Newspaper)
Statesville, NC

April 5, 1904

 

Charlie Johnson has gone West looking for a home.  He will probably locate in Arkansas.  He will return for his family.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The Landmark (Newspaper)
Statesville, NC

Newspaper Death Notices
(12/21/1909 Landmark)

 

Johnson, Charles - Dies Jan 1909 near Monrovia, Calif.  In 1904 the deceased, a young man living in the Eufola community of Iredell County, left his wife and baby and went west telling the wife that he would send for her and the baby as soon as he found a suitable location in the west.  Very little was heard from him until news was received from California of his death.

 
 
 
 

  

 
 
 

After the loss of her husband, John Henry Johnson, Nessie’s mother, Nancy Caroline, became less concerned with living.  She even went so far as to attempt to take her own life on several occasions.  On 22 Sep 1905, when Nessie was 18 and Henry was 16, they heard screams coming from the area where the house was located.  Nessie & Henry had been in the fields picking cotton.  Henry was the first to reach his mother and saw her clothes in flames.  It was believed that she fired her clothes purposely.  The Doctor was called, but there was nothing he could do, and Nancy Caroline died.  Nessie’s daughter, May, was 2 years old at the time.

 

 

Nessie Johnson’s second daughter, Ethel Irene Johnson, was born on 04 Jul 1908.  There was family speculation that Ethel was actually a Waugh and not a Johnson, being born after Charlie had left Nessie.  Ethel always went by the name of Ethel Goble.

 

At the age of 21, Nessie was left alone and with two young daughters to support on her own.  Both of her parents were deceased and she had no one to turn to for help.  She took a job as a servant at the home of Jacob Hedrick Goble and lived with the Goble family who were living in Miller's Township of Alexander County, North Carolina.

 

1910 Alexander County Census

 
Last Name First Name Relation Sex Race Age Single/
Married
Yrs Married Children Born Children Living Occupation
Goble Jacob Head M W 49 M 23     Farm Laborer
------ Fanny Wife F W 50 M 23 5 3 Farm Laborer
------ Martin L. Son M W 20 S       Farm Laborer
------ Otis C. Son M W 15 S       Farm Laborer
------ Sarah C. Daughter F W 13 S       Farm Laborer
Johnson Nessie Servant F W 21 M   0 0 None
 

According to the 1910 Alexander County, NC Census, Nessie was 21 and Martin Luther was 20.  May and Ethel were not living with Nessie at the time.

 

According to the 1910 Iredell County Census, Nessie’s daughter, May, age 7, was living with James C. Blankenship, age 45, and his wife, Eliza Jane Johnson, age 55, her Great Uncle and Great Aunt.  Mae’s Great-Grandmother, Lavina Sherrill Johnson, age 78, was also living with them, as well as another niece, Carrie E. Idson, age 17, and a mulatto nephew, Clide Kerrigan, age 23.

 

1910 Iredell County Census

 

Last Name First Name Relation Sex Race Age Single
Married
Birth Occupation 1 Occupation 2
Blankenship James C. Head M W 45 M NC Farmer General Farm
------ Jane Wife F W 55 M NC None  
Idson Carrie E Niece F W 17 S NC Farm Laborer Home Farm
Johnson Lavinia Mother-In-Law F W 78 Widow NC None  
------ Genevia M. Niece F W 7 S NC None  
Kerrigan Clide Nephew M Mu 23 S NC Farm Laborer Working Out

 

While living at the Jacob Goble farm, Martin and Nessie became romantically involved and she became pregnant. 

 

They were married on 25 Apr 1910 and their first child, Lewis Hubert Goble, was born on 23 Jul 1910.  Tragedy struck the young family and on 18 Jan 1911 Lewis Hubert died, just under 6 months old. He is buried at Sharon Lutheran Church in Iredell County, NC.

 

Nessie & Martin Goble

 
 

Eventually, Nessie would become pregnant again and on 08 Apr 1912 James Henry Goble was born. 

 
Most family members believe Nessie had a total of 14 children, but when J.C. was born, his birth certificate indicates that he was the 8th child born - and the 4th still living.  May, Ethel, Leggs and JC were the living children - Lewis, Baby Boy, Baby Girl, and "1 More" for a total of 8.
 
 
Children of Nessie Johnson
Name Birth Date Death Date Spouse
Geneva Mae Johnson 21 Feb 1903 02 Jan 1987 Paul Baldwin
Ethel Irene Johnson/Goble 04 Jul 1908 20 Apr 1983 James Frank Sharpe
Lewis Hubert Goble 23 Jul 1910 18 Jan 1911  (Died in Infancy)
*Baby Goble     (Died in Infancy)
James Henry "Leggs" Goble 08 Apr 1912 16 Nov 1995 Nina M. Eades
"Baby Boy" Goble 01 Dec 1913 01 Feb 1914  (Died in Infancy)
**"Baby Girl" Goble 09 Jan 1915 28 Apr 1915   (Died in Infancy)
J. C. Goble 29 Sep 1916 19 Jul 2005 Ada Eades
Harlee Goble 06 Sep 1918 05 Nov 1980 Dovie Alean Helms
Fannie Elizabeth Goble 10 Apr 1921 18 Sep 1998 Fred Franklin Isenhour
Mary Helen Goble 07 Apr 1924 28 May 2010 Floyd Eugene Sigmon
Willie Aleen Goble 04 Dec 1925   Sam William Loftin
Elgevia Goble 24 Nov 1928   William Clifton Eggers, Jr.
Estelene Goble 24 Nov 1928 26 Mar 1929  (Died in Infancy)
Doris Goble 31 Oct 1933 04 Aug 1934   (Died in Infancy)
* No information as to the order of this particular child except from JC's birth certificate
**There is a death certificate for this baby girl and she's also mentioned in The Landmark Newspaper
 
 
 
The Landmark (Newspaper)
Statesville, NC

 

Goble (Infant) - Infant of Martin L. Goble died first of May 1915.  Buried at Sharon Lutheran church.   (5/7/15 Landmark)
 
 
 
 

 

Martin and Nessie never owned a home.  The family were share-croppers.  They lived in a variety of houses in order to grow cotton crops.  The owner of the house and property received part of the revenue from the sale of the crops. They lived in homes in Alexander, Iredell and Catawba Counties. 

 

(Left) Nessie with Fannie "Lib" and Mary Helen Goble
(Right) Nessie with her brother Henry Pinkney Johnson

 
 

1920 Alexander County Census

                           
Last Name First Name Relation Sex Race Age Single
Married
Attended
School
Can
Read
Can Write Birth
Place
Occupation
Goble Martin L. Head M W 32 M No Yes Yes NC Farmer
------ Nessie B Wife F W 33 M No Yes Yes NC None
------ Ethel I. Daughter F W 10 S Yes Yes Yes NC None
------ James H Son M W 7 S Yes     NC None
------ J. C. Son M W 4 S No     NC None
------ Harlee Son M W 1 3/12 S No     NC None
 

In 1920, Martin & Nessie were living in Miller's Township in Alexander County.  Her daughter, Ethel, was living with them and they had 3 sons, James Henry "Legs", J. C. and Harlee.

 
 
 

1930 Iredell County Census

 
Last Name First Name Relation Sex Race Age Married
Single
Age at 1st
Marriage
School in
1929
Read
Write
Goble Martin L. Head M W 44 M 22 No Yes
------ B. Nessie Wife F W 44 M 23 No Yes
------ James H. Son M W 17 S   No Yes
------ J.C. Son M W 13 S   Yes No
------ Harley Son M W 10 S   Yes Yes
------ F. Elizabeth Daughter F W 8 S   Yes  
------ M. Helen Daughter F W 6 S   Yes  
------ Willie A. Daughter F W 4 5/12 S   No  
------ Elgevia Daughter F W 1 4/12 S   No  
 

At the time of the 1930 Census, Martin’s age was listed as 44, Nessie 44, James H. 17, J.C. 13, Harlee 10, Elizabeth 8, M. Helen 6, Willie A. 4 5/12 and Elgevia 1 4/12 years old.  Martin’s occupation was listed as “Farmer”.

 

In approximately 1934, Martin and Nessie moved the family to Catawba County and lived in the old Pump Alley house, a small 3-room-house.  The ages of the children were approximately as follows:  Legs 20, J.C. 16, Harlee 14, Lib 11, Helen 8, Willie 7 and Elgevia 4.

 
 
 

(Left) Nessie with her youngest son, Harlee
(Below) Nessie with granddaughter,
Brenda Isenhour


Willie Goble Loftin said, “Daddy didn’t get saved till we moved to Catawba County.  He got saved at a revival at Hudson Chapel Baptist Church.  Mama and Daddy were living in the Lowrance house on Lowrance Rd. at the time.  Mama would frequently go down to the barn to pray.  My Mama was a humble woman.” 

 
 
 

(Below) Nessie with 4 of her daughters, and a granddaughter

  

(Left to Right) Brenda Isenhour, Helen Sigmon, Willie Loftin, Nessie, Lib Isenhour, Elgevia Eggers

 
 

Willie added, “I caught lice from someone when we were attending Hudson Chapel, and I told Mama I was gonna quit church.  She told me, ‘I hope you won’t stop going to church and send your soul to hell for a little lice.’  I stayed in the church.”

 

Nessie entered the hospital in 1959 having problems with her kidneys.  She told Willie, “It’s my time.  You need to let me go.  You’re holding me back.”

 
 

Nessie's Death Certificate

 
 

On 23 Feb 1959, Nessie died from kidney failure.  Willie said, “Mama had dark brown hair.  I bet she didn’t have a dozen gray hairs in her head when she died at the age of 72.”

 
Diane Goble Williamson (daughter of J.C. Goble - granddaughter of Nessie Goble) said, "Dad told Mom that she made good "stickies" but NOT as good as the ones his Mom (Nessie) made".
 
Elgevia Goble Eggers (daughter of Nessie) said, "When Mom made 'stickies', I'd make mine last all day by eating just a little bit at a time".
 
Willie Goble Loftin (daughter of Nessie) said, "Mom made the BEST molasses and brown sugar cake".
                           
 

(Left) Nessie's Obituary in the Hickory Daily Record,  (Right) Nessie with Floyd Sigmon

 
 
 
 

Nessie and Martin are buried in the Sharon Lutheran Church Cemetary on Sharon Church Rd. in Iredell County.

 
 

 

 
 
 

SOURCES

 

If you have photos or additional information on Beulah Vernesta Johnson, please contact me.

A special thanks to Willie Goble Loftin, Helen Goble Sigmon and Brenda Isenhour Schronce for the photos of Nessie and her family.