Thursday, January 23, 2014

Dead-End Ancestors: Samuel Johnston & Elizabeth McCormack

I have been working on preparing for a trip to Salt Lake City to research at the Family History Library. Six days of researching in the microfilm- and book-filled library is a wonderful and fulfilling experience.

So I began to prepare by looking at the dead-end lines in my family tree, especially those on my mother’s side who lived in the South.

My third great-grandparents fit that bill: Samuel Johnston and Elizabeth McCormack.

Samuel Johnston was born about 1816 in South Carolina, based on age 34 in the 1850 census and age 44 in the 1860 census.[1] These are the only two census records I have found for Samuel. He did not appear on the 1870 census with his widowed wife and children.[2]

It was difficult to find Samuel in the 1850 Yalobusha County, Mississippi census until I searched for some of his neighbors from the 1860 Yalobusha Co, MS census and found him near those same neighbors. I could see why he was difficult to find. His written surname looked like “Dehuson.” But there he was with his wife, Elizabeth, and five of the children found in the 1860 census, all born in Alabama.

1850 Yalobusha Co, MS federal census, Samuel Johnson household
There was a new child not enumerated in the 1860 census: Isabella, age 10, born in Alabama. Who was she? And what happened to her?

So instead of trying to figure out more about Samuel and Elizabeth with such questions as:
  • Where in Alabama did the family come from?
  • Where in South Carolina did Samuel Johnston come from?
  • Where were Elizabeth and Samuel married? South Carolina (where she was also born) or Alabama (where the children were born)?

I focused on finding out what happened to Isabella.

The Mississippi Genealogy and Historical Network website on Yalobusha County has a marriage database and I found:
Johnson, Isabella C. married Broadstreet, P. C. on 26 Feb 1857.[3]
Well, this was promising. She would have been about 17 or 18 years old, an appropriate age to be married. Who was this P.C. Broadstreet? Was he a neighbor?
1860 Yalobusha Co MS, Samuel Johnson and Parris Broadstreet household
Sure, enough, looking at the 1860 Yalobusha County, Mississippi federal census, Parris C. Broadstreet with E.C. Broadstreet, lived nearby. They had one daughter, Nancy.

Going further to the 1870 census, the Johnston family had moved to Titus County, Texas. Several farms from Elizabeth Johnston was the farm of Parris C. Broadstreet and Isabella C. Broadstreet. By now, Parris and Isabella have had 5 children, one named Samuel and another Rubin (the names of Isabella’s father and brother).

It’s always exciting to find new ancestors and very satisfactory to complete a family unit. So I have welcomed Isabella into our family. I will research Parris and Isabella in Titus Co films while in Salt Lake City to further document their lives.

And what about Samuel and Elizabeth? I did search through tax records in Yalobusha Co, Mississippi found on and tax records from Titus Co, Texas. Samuel began to appear on the Titus County tax records in 1862 and the last one he appeared on was 1868.[4] 
1868 Tax List, Titus Co, Texas, Samuel Johnson

In 1869, Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston appeared with the same land description.[5]   
1869 Tax List, Titus Co, Texas, Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston

This points to Samuel dying between 1868 and 1869 in Titus County. I will search probate and cemetery records next to find more clues. Unfortunately, Titus County courthouse burned down 1895, so there are records only from that point on.

[1] Mississippi, Yalobusha Co, 1850 U.S. census,, Digital images ( National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), North of the Yalabusha River, p 287b (stamped), dwelling 161, family 161, Samuel Johnson; Mississippi, Yalobusha Co, 1860 U.S. census,, Digital images ( National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), M653, roll 594, Oakland, p. 917, dwelling 1182, family 1276, Samuel Johnson, accessed 23 Nov 2011.
[2] Texas, Titus Co, 1870 U.S. census,, Digital images ( National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), p 27 (26 stamped), fam 173, Elizabeth Johnston.
[3] “Yalobusha County Marriages,” index, Yalobusha County MSGHN ( : accessed 22 Jan 2014), 1857, Johnson-Broadstreet.
[4] "Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," Index and images, FamilySearch, ( : accessed 22 Jan 2014), Titus County, 1868, p 22, Samuel Johnson.
[5] "Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," Index and images, FamilySearch, ( : accessed 22 Jan 2014), Titus County, 1869, p 22, Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past

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