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View Tree for Col. Richard Mentor JohnsonCol. Richard Mentor Johnson (b. 17 Oct 1780, d. 19 Nov 1850)

Picture of Richard Mentor Johnson

Richard Mentor Johnson (son of Robert Johnson and Jemima Suggett)175, 176, 177 was born 17 Oct 1780 in Beargrass Station, Jefferson County, KY178, and died 19 Nov 1850 in Frankfort, KY178. He married Julia Chinn in Great Crossings, Scott County, KY.

 Includes NotesNotes for Richard Mentor Johnson:
References on
WFT Volume 1, Tree 2746
Tree 4841
WFT Volume 49, Tree 1038

1780 - Born
1807 A. Y. Masons Lodge
1811 Julia Chinn relationship
1812 - Imogene Chinn Johnson born
1817 Great Crossings Church built
1819 - 29 Senator from KY
1825 - 1837 - Operated Choctaw Indian Academy at Blue Springs and later White Sulphur Springs, Scott County, KY. Usually had between 200-300 students. Source: Filson Club History Quarterly, Vol 3, page 158.
1830 - Imogene and Daniel Pence marry
1830 to 1850 - White Sulphur Springs Health Resort
1833 - Julia dies
1834 - RMJ, child of Imogene and Daniel dies
1836 - Adeline Chinn Johnson Scott dies
1837 - 41 - VP
About 1840 - Tavern erected on Oakland part of property - Believed to be managed by Mr. Vanderslice. He's in Scott county census as living in the White Sulpher Springs area.
1850 - died

Dear Mrs. Gordon:
Thanks for your e-mail message. I have been fascinated by Richard Johnson and Julia Chinn for nearly 30 years but began to write about him only in the last five years or so. I did a chapter on him in a book on the Vice Presidents of the United States. Iíll find it and photocopy to send to you. I will also send the speech that I have written. There are many similarities but also some differences. I suggest that there was a relationship between two people that crossed the color line. Perhaps it did not mean as much in the early days---remember Jefferson, Wythe, and a host of others. Perhaps it was just two people who grew in respect or love, though historians are cautious about trying to measure the latter. I suspect that Julia cared for him after he received the wounds in the War of 1812. It took him over a year to recuperate. Thereafter, any mention of her shows an obvious level of respect. He had far more respect for her than a lot of white men had for their white wives in that era. All of their correspondence was destroyed by his relatives after his death. They went to court after his death to establish that there were no legal, living relatives, which, of course, they knew not to be true. However, the correspondence with Thomas Henderson speaks of her with great respect. His relationship with his daughters also suggests a level of respect. I found it particularly interesting that he hired Thomas Henderson as the head of the Choctaw Academy and urged him to teach not only the Indian boys but some slaves, some local white children, and his daughters. That means that in the 1820s black, red, and white Americans of both genders were being taught by the same man in the same school.

Iíll try to gather the articles, but one additional story that I find interesting. When I first came to Georgetown the Johnson-Chinn relationship was not a topic that was talked about very much. However, in recent years a white woman, something of a blueblood in the community, who claimed descent from the Johnson family, and a black man who claimed descent from Julia Chinn, would address one another when they passed on the street ďHello Cousin.Ē Maybe that speaks to a bit of change in our society.

One more thing-----When Imogene Pence died there was a long obituary in the local paper that spoke rather nicely to her sense of pride and dignity and her place in the community. Do you have that? I donít know at this point how long it would take to find it, but I could try to get a copy if you would like one. There is also an African-American scholar, Dr. Carolyn Powell, who is working on the Johnson-Chinn relationship, if you are interested in her work.

Sincerely, Lindsey Apple
Dr. Lindsey Apple
History Professor
Georgetown College
Georgetown, KY
February, 2004

More About Richard Mentor Johnson:
Baptism: Jun 1815, Great Crossings Church (Baptist) on 1st Sunday.
Date born 2: 1780, Bryant Sta, KY, USA.179
Date born 3: 1780, VA, USA.179
Date born 4: 1781, Kentucky.180
Date born 5: 1780181
Date born 6: 1780182
Burial: Unknown, Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, KY.
Died 2: 19 Nov 1850, Frankfort, KY, USA.183
Died 3: 1850184
Elected 1: Bet. 1837 - 1841, Vice President under Martin Van Buren.
Elected 2: Bet. 1819 - 1829, Senator from Kentucky.
Military service 1: 1812, 1st Battalion Mounted Riflemen from KY.
Military service 2: 1813, Battle of the Thames - killed Tecumseh.
Residence 1: 1830, Not Stated, Scott, Kentucky.185, 186
Residence 2: 1850, District 2, Scott, Kentucky.187

More About Richard Mentor Johnson and Julia Chinn:
Unknown-Begin: Great Crossings, Scott County, KY.

 Includes NotesMarriage Notes for Richard Mentor Johnson and Julia Chinn:
History related by Capt. John Wilson, Elder At Georgetown Presbyterian Church, states that Julia Chism (Chinn) and Richard Johnson were rumored to have been secretly married by Rev. Thomas Henderson.
(Henderson was an early minister of the Great Crossings Baptist Church). However, most official bios of Richard Mentor state that he never married. The truth of this union will never be known, but there is no doubt that he gave his daughters, Imogene and Adeline, his name and bestowed them property (dowry fashion) when they married.

Children of Richard Mentor Johnson and Julia Chinn are:
  1. +Imogene Johnson, b. 17 Feb 1812, Great Crossings, Scott Co., KY, d. 04 Oct 1883, Great Crossings, Scott Co., KY.
  2. Adaline J. Johnson, b. Aft. 1812, Great Crossings, Scott Co., KY, d. 1836188.
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