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The Johnson Family

There were numerous families with the last name of Johnson recorded in the census after the Civil War, and it is not known if or how they were connected to Oatlands.  In the 1870 census, the first time formerly enslaved people were enumerated by name, Henry Johnson (age 69), Margaret (42) and Charles (17) were living on or near the Oatlands property.[1]

Henry Johnson’s connection to Alexander (Sandy) Johnson is not known, but the latter man’s family line is believed to be directly linked to Oatlands.  A man named Sandy was written about twice in Elizabeth O. Carter’s diary, once in 1866 and again in 1867.[2]   Considering there was only one African American man named Sandy living in Loudoun County in the 1870 census, the diary reference likely is to Sandy Johnson. 

On 9 March 1867, Alexander Johnson (approximate age 31) married Lethia Rust (approximate age 20).[3]  His parents were listed as David and Kitty Johnson, and Sandy was listed as a widower.  It is not known who his first wife was.  Research has not uncovered information about David and Kitty, but they are presumed to have been enslaved in Loudoun and their sons, Sandy and James, born here.[4]  If so, the family line of Alexander (Sandy) Johnson can be documented into the early 1800s in Loudoun County.  Lethia Rust’s parents were James and Susan Rust (more commonly spelled Russ).  The Russ/Rust family is documented in the enslaved community at Oatlands.

Sandy and Lethia (also spelled Elitha) had two children who survived to adulthood: Sandy A. Johnson, born 15 October 1870, and George W. Johnson, born 3 July 1872.[5] Sadly, Lethia died in 1876 from consumption and left behind her husband and young sons.[6]  Sandy Johnson Sr. never remarried.

By 1881, Sandy Johnson Sr. owned 4 ¼ acres in Gleedsville. This small, thriving community, named for Jack Gleed, was established around 1880 when several men once enslaved at Oatlands purchased land nearby.[7]

Sandy and Lethia’s eldest son, Sandy A. Johnson, married Carrie Mason in 1895, and they had at least nine children (one child died prior to 1910):[8]

Herbert L. – born 20 June 1897 (died 11 June 1947)[9]

Lloyd William – born 3 March 1900 (died 28 July 1968)[10]

Carrol W. – born 1902 (died 1979)

Lethia M. – born 1905 (1903-??)

Grace E. – born 1907 (1908-??)

Julia B. – born 1910 (1910-??)

Sandy V. – born 23 October 1912 (died 23 October 1943)[11]

Charles F. – born 1920 (1920-??)

Elisia – birth and death dates unknown[12]

Sandy V. Johnson was a Corporal in the 22nd Quartermaster Truck Regiment in World War II.  He was killed on his birthday, 23 October 1943 and is buried in the Gleedsville Cemetery.  Sandy’s younger brother, Charles Floyd Johnson, also served during the War. 

The youngest son of Sandy and Lethia Johnson, George W., married Nancy "Nannie" Valentine on 11 April 1894.[13]  Nancy’s family is directly connected to Oatlands via her mother, Elizabeth Buchanan, and her father, Hiram Valentine.  Elizabeth Buchanan Valentine was the daughter of Robert and Mahala (Jackson) Buchanan, and Robert is documented in the enslaved community at Oatlands.  Elizabeth’s brother, Martin Van Buren Buchanan, served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.  Family oral history documents Hiram Valentine’s connection to Oatlands.

George W. and Nancy (Valentine) Johnson had three children:

Valentine B. – born 6 July 1894 (died 1918)

George Rozier – born 3 May 1896 (died 2 December 1960)

Elizabeth – born 22 March 1898 (died 15 July 1998)[14]

It is not known when George W. and Nannie Johnson died but by the 1910 census, Valentine, George and Elizabeth were living with their grandmother, Elizabeth Valentine, in Gleedsville.[15] 

Valentine B. Johnson served during World War I and made the ultimate sacrifice for his country.  He was killed during the War and is memorialized on the WWI monument on the courthouse lawn.  Sadly, he and his cousin, Sandy Johnson, as well as African American men across the country, were honored for their war service on monuments that segregate their names from the white soldiers who served.  Despite fighting for their country, the war’s survivors returned home to segregated schools, restaurants, and other barriers that did not recognize them as equal citizens.  [insert picture of WWI monument]

George Rozier Johnson was known as Rozier and lived a quiet life in Loudoun.  He was a tenant farmer who married Mary Fannie Young (b. 1900) on 9 March 1922.  She died on June 30th of that year, nine days after giving birth to their daughter, Mary Evelyn, known to her family and friends simply by Evelyn.  Evelyn married Curtis Lambert and lived in Washington, D.C. for the majority of her life.  She died on 12 July 2004.

Rozier remained a widower until 1943 when he married Mary Alean Howard (25 December 1916 - 26 May 2008) on March 8th. She was the 26 year-old daughter of Bishop and Edna (Basil) Howard of Howardsville, near Upperville.  Rozier and Mary Alean had six children:

Barbara Ann Johnson Page (b. 28 March 1937)          

Gene Rogers Johnson (b. 27 November 1939)

George Robert Johnson (b. 12 August 1943- d . 27 July 1982)

Edna Elizabeth (Liz) Johnson Francis (b. 30 May 1945)

Harry Lee Johnson (b. 8 November 1948)

Charlotte Virginia Johnson Adams (b. 27 May 1950)

Rozier Delaney Johnson, died shortly after birth

Gene Johnson is the only one of George's and Mary's children that still resides in Loudoun County.  Barbara resides in nearby Clarke County, Virginia.  Liz and Charlotte both reside in Southern California and Harry resides in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.  At the time of his death, George resided in nearby Fairfax County, Virginia.

Elizabeth Johnson, the youngest child of George W. and Nannie, was well-known to many people in Loudoun County.  She was sent to school in Pennsylvania and Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. and returned to Loudoun County and taught at the Mt. Gap Colored School near Gleedsville and Oatlands.  She married Alan Quisenbury in 1921 and moved to Washington, D. C.  After her husband died, she and her two young children moved back to Loudoun County where she was very active in the Countywide League and other organizations that fought for equal education and opportunities for African Americans.  More can be learned about Elizabeth Johnson Quisenbury at:






[1] 1870 Federal Census, Loudoun County, Virginia, Southern District, page 165A. Record viewed on Ancestry.com.

[2] Enslaved Community at Oatlands. www.oatlands.org/slavery

[3] Virginia Select Marriage Records, 1785-1940. Record viewed on Ancestry.com. The precise dates for Sandy’s and Leitha’s births are not known.  Their marriage record listed ages of 31 and 20 respectively.  Sandy was recorded in the 1880 census as age 47, which meant his birth year was 1833. Because of imprecise record keeping and the fact that many people did not know when they were born, a birth date range of 1833-1836 is approximated for Sandy Johnson.

[4] According to federal census lists and his death record, Alexander (Sandy) Johnson was born between 1833 and 1836.  His younger brother, James, was born ca. 1854 (as per 1904 marriage record to Nannie Bowles) or 1855 (1880 federal census).

[5] Sandy Johnson’s age calculated from the 1880 Federal Census, Loudoun County, Virginia, Leesburg Township, page 366A. Record viewed on Ancestry.com. George W. Johnson’s age from Loudoun County, Virginia, Birth Register 1853-1879, Patricia B. Duncan, Willow Bend Books, Westminster, MD, 2007, page 77.  Sandy and Leitha Johnson also had two daughters who died in 1876, prior to their mother. Cellas, age 8, died on 9 April 1876. Her sister, Frances, age 2 years 9 months, died on 19 May 1876. Both death records from Loudoun County Virginia, Death Register 1853-1896, Elizabeth R. Frain and Marty Hiatt, CGRS. Willow Bend Books, Westminster, MD, page 152 and page 153 respectively.

[6] Loudoun County, Virginia, Death Register 1853-1896, Elizabeth R. Frain and Marty Hiatt, CGRS. Willow Bend Books, Westminster, MD, page 153.

[7] 1881 Land Tax Records, Leesburg District.  Loudoun County Courthouse, Leesburg, Virginia.

[8] The 1910 Federal Census recorded the number of births and living children for a woman. The notation for Carrie Johnson was 7 children born; 6 still living.  1910 Federal Census, Loudoun County, Virginia, Leesburg District, page 3A. List of children compiled from 1910 and 1920 Federal Census.

[9] Findagrave.com.  Herbert L. Johnson is buried in Gleedsville Cemetery, Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia.

[10] Gravestone in Gleedsville Cemetery, Leesburg, Virginia. Photo by Marc B. Johnson.

[11] Findagrave.com. Sandy V. Johnson is buried in Gleedsville Cemetery, Leesburg, Loudoun County, Virginia.

[12] Other birth and death dates from Marc B. Johnson.

[13] Virginia Select Marriage Records, 1785-1940. Record viewed on Ancestry.com

[14] For George R. Johnson, see Findagrave.com. He is buried in Rock Hill Cemetery, Loudoun County, Virginia. Birth and death dates for Valentine B. Johnson and Elizabeth Johnson Quisenbury from Marc B. Johnson.

[15] 1910 Federal Census, Loudoun County, Virginia, Leesburg District, page 6B.

Nannie Valentine Johnson

Nancy "Nannie" Valentine Johnson


Mary Evelyn Johnson Lambert


Hiram Valentine


George Rozier Johnson


George Rozier Johnson


Elizabeth Buchanan Valentine