Since 1965, descendants of Daniel Johnson have gathered for annual reunions to honor their revered ancestor. Time has forgotten the
number of Decoration Day memorial services held each year at the Johnson Cemetery where Daniel is buried. Legendary stories about the life of Grandpa Daniel have been passed from generation to generation.
Now, the generations' story of Daniel Johnson is shared.
Daniel's parents were believed to have come to the American colonies from Ireland. In South Carolina, Daniel was born on October 10, 1751. He was
said to have been born with two teeth and to have died with those same two teeth. The Sixth South Carolina Regiment received the twenty-five year old Daniel on July 24, 1776, to fight for the cause of
American independence from Great Britain. Reportedly never weighing more than one hundred five pounds, this American patriot fought the Redcoats with great zeal!
One possession of Daniel's was a walking
cane which contained a spring loaded bayonet. When Daniel found it necessary to defend himself from hostile Indians or perhaps the British, he would place his hat on the end of the cane, allow his enemies to
shoot it, and then pretend to be dead. When the assailants came forward to investigate, Daniel would spring forward with the bayonet to kill them. This walking cane has been passed to descendants and is in
the possession today of Frank Clark Johnson of Nevada.
The U. S. Census of 1790 recorded Daniel as a resident of Newberry County, South Carolina. In 1797, he married Sallie Margaret Mann and their son,
Clark was born on November 16,1798. After the death of his wife, Daniel decided to come to Mississippi to claim a large land grant. By this time, Clark had married Margaret Boler of Georgia, and they were
the parents of a baby boy, Clark Mann Johnson. With a horse to carry Margaret and the baby, Daniel and Clark set out on foot for the new land.
Sometime later, the pioneers finally reached what is now
eastern Copiah County, Mississippi. Settling an area of as much as two thousand acres, the family located a cold, sparkling spring. A limestone rock was hewn and then chiseled and smoothed inside to a bowl
shape. This rock was placed in the spring for the purpose of collecting the water. The rock was moved in recent years and is now in the possession of seventh generation Daniel Johnson on Six Mile Road.
popular story in the family is the tale of Daniel's gold. As the story goes, Daniel sold a large part of his land for three hundred dollars in gold (it is said he sold one thousand two hundred acres for
twenty-five cents per acre). He presented the gold to daughter-in-law Margaret who refused it because there was no place to spend it. Daniel wrapped the gold in a bandanna, buried it somewhere on his
property, and to this day no one has ever found it!
Daniel lived until the age of one hundred years and three months. He never took a dose of medicine from a doctor. He did have a spring house where he
kept among other things apples, which he ate regularly and also made into cider (an apple a day?). However, Daniel cleared the spring house seven years before his death and never used it again.
According to his tombstone inscription, Daniel "departed this life on January 10, 1854," making him one hundred two years and three months old. He was laid to rest on a hill near his home. This was
the beginning of the Johnson Cemetery. On October 13, 1935, the Copiah County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a marker on Daniel's grave signifying his service to his country. The
Johnson Road, east of Crystal Springs, bears its name because of the large number of his descendants who settled there. Today, Daniel's descendants number in the thousands and are scatter throughout the
United States. However, a large number of present day Mississippians, particularly in Madison and Copiah Counties, trace their ancestry to Daniel Johnson and speak admiringly of this family patriot.