Submitted by Betty Moore    Posted February 12th, 2000 by Myrtle Bridges.

In 1789, when PENELOPE JOHNSON was born in Southampton County, Virginia, the Federal Union was being organized. The new President, WASHINGTON, signed the first legislation enacted by Congress, an act to legalize certain oaths. In that year, the first officers too their oaths of office, including THOMAS JEFFERSON, Secretary of State; ALEXANDER HAMILTON, Treasurer; JOHN JAY, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Also in 1789, Pennsylvania repealed the law prohibiting plays; though the appearance of GEORGE WASHINGTON at a play "cause disapproval of certain prominent citizens".

At about this time, PENELOPE'S parents were making deeds to land and transfers of slaves, indicating that they were in reasonably good circumstances. Assuming that HARDY JOHNSON was age twenty-one when his father made feoffment to him in 1761, he would have been age forty-nine when PENELOPE was born. REBECCA, presumed to have been HARDY'S second wife, per above, was considerably younger than HARDY.

PENELOPE was age fifteen when the family made its big move from Virginia to the Averasboro area of Cumberland County, North Carolina. It could be that shortly thereafter she received the attention of JOHN MOORE, as JOHN made horseback trips from the MATTHEW MOORE plantation on Black Mingo west several miles to Averasboro. The date of the culmination of the romance may have been influenced by the death of PENELOPE'S mother, REBECCA, in early 1806, and the re-marriage of her father on February 4, 1807. PENELOPE and JOHN MOORE were married March 9,1807.

JOHN MOORE and his wife, PENELOPE, first set up housekeeping in a separate residential building constructed on the land of JOHN'S father, on Black Mingo and Bold Branch. One year after the marriage, their first child, R EBECCA, was born; and on August 23, 1809, PENELOPE gave birth to her second child, a son, HARDY. The 1810 census show the JOHN MOORE family with these two children; however, the couple was wasting no time, and the following year, 1811, another daughter, EDNEY, came into the family; and she appears to have been named for an older sister of JOHN MOORE.

Another son was born a year or so later, who was living for the 1820 census, but not in the 1830 census. A daughter, NANCY, arrived in 1815, and Susannah in 1818. The last child in 1822 was a boy "ANDREW J."and was probably named after GENERAL ANDREW JACKSON.

PENELOPE'S eldest daughter, REBECCA, married MAJOR SURLES, son of a neighbor, in 1829. The records do not reflect whether PENELOPE lived to make the trip to Florida in 1833. My guess is that she did. A mother was needed for the three unmarried daughters, EDNEY, NANCY and SUSANNAH, and the young son, ANDREW, who was only 11 years of age. Men of that era usually remarried rather promptly, especially when there were children to be looked after; and JOHN never took a second wife. PENELOPE probably died in Leon County, Florida shortly before the 1840 census; and thus was able to see EDNEY marry JOHN DAWKINS, NANCY marry WILLIAM MILLS, and SUSANNAH marry LEVI MASSEY.

PENELOPE was called "PENNIE", and the census records reflect that at least three grandchildren were named for her. As to nameology, I am interested in the fact that both HARDY and REBECCA gave the name "MARY" to their eldest daughter; and that NANCY and SUSANNAH also gave the name "Mary"to daughters. Perhaps this may help some future researcher.

I like the name "PENELOPE". It is dignified and has a very feminine ring. If I were now in the enviable stage of giving a name to a daughter, my great, great grandmother's name would again live. I salute her for the first son that she presented to the world.

An explanation is in order as to how I reached the conclusion that HARDY JOHNSON and wife, REBECCA, were the parents of PENELOPE.

PENELOPE JOHNS'S marital bond, March 9, 1807, in Cumberland County, N. C. was my starting point in search for her parents, together with an old faded longhand note of information written by a granddaughter of PENELOPE JOHNSON MOORE;

"I do not know who PENNIE JOHNSON MOORE'S parents were, but PENNIE had two brothers, WILLIAM and Amos".

My case, therefore, for PENELOPE being the daughter of HARDY JOHNSON and wife, REBECCA, includes the following: (1) When PENELOPE married JOHN MOORE in 1807, the two living sons of HARDY and REBECCA JOHNSON were WILLIAM and AMOS. The middle son, Silas, died in late 1805 or early 1806. HARDY and REBECCA are the only JOHNSON parents in Cumberland County that I could find with two sons named WILLIAM and AMOS. (2) When JOHN MOORE and PENELOPE bought their first tract of land in 1812, a witness to the deed was a AMOS JOHNSON. (3) The HARDY JOHNSON plantation on Juniper Swamp was accessable to JOHN MOORE during his courting days; and in later years, when JOHN and PENELOPE moved over to Black River to his newly acquired 450 acres they were even closer proximity to the HARDY JOHNSON plantation. (4) PENELOPE JOHNSON MOORE and husband, JOHN, named their first two children "REBECCA" AND "HARDY". The name, "REBECCA", could be for PENELOPE'S mother, and the name, "HARDY", could be for PENELOPE'S father and at the same time for an older brother of JOHN. (5) HARDY JOHNSON and his sons associated with people that JOHN MOORE associated with : WILLIAM KILLEN, JOHN MCALISTER, WILLIAM AVERA, JAMES PRITCHETT, and especially HECTOR STEWART and DUSHEE SHAW, the first two signatories to the character certification for HARDY JOHNSON quoted above. From original papers concerning JOHN MOORE that were drafted by DUSHEE SHAW, I feel reasonably certain that the certificate on the character of HARDY JOHNSON was also written in the hand of DUSHEE SHAW.

In fairness to the record, there were two other JOHNSONS that I looked into very carefully as prospective fathers of PENELOPE: both of whom also came from Southampton County, Virginia. They were (1) BENJAMIN and (2) RICHARD; and in both their family backgrounds there was a"PENELOPE".

BENJAMIN JOHNSON, the man who bought the 1,444 acres of former FOLSOM land from JOSHUA VICK, (here it is unreadable). PENELOPE'S brothers fit only HARDY. (2) The circumstance of AMOS witnessing the JOHN MOORE deed was as strong for HARDY as was the matter of BENJAMIN being surety on JOHN MOORE, Guardian's bond; and BENJAMIN JOHNSON'S interest in the guardianship of the MASON HARVILL orphans may have been for a connection on the HARVILL SIDE. MASON HARVILL was a brother of MOSES HARVILL, son-in-law to RICHARD JOHNSON. RICHARD and BENJAMIN were very closely associated.) (3) I do not find that there were associates-in-common between BENJAMIN JOHNSON and JOHN MOORE, as ther were between HARDY JOHNSON and JOHN MOORE.

RICHARD JOHNSON was a witness to the deed when JOHN MOORE sold his 450 acres before moving to Florida; however I am rather certain that such RICHARD was not the original RICHARD JOHNSON, an older man, who married SARAH SPEED in Southampton County, Virginia in 1785, had an aunt named"PENELOPE", but while he was carried in the Cumberland County census as "over 45" in both the 1810 and 1820 census, he is missing in 1830, and hense missing in 1832 when the "RICHARD JOHNSON" witnessed JOHN MOORE'S deed on the 450 acres. The original RICHARD appears to have died immediately prior to 1824, the year STERLING JOHNSTON rendered his own land on Stoney Run and also "436 acres for RICHARD JOHNSTON".

A chart in the appendix show the varaious JOHNSON families in early Southampton County, Virginia, including that of HARDY, BENJAMIN and RICHARD. They lived near each other, and were probably related.

PENELOPE JOHNSON MOORE'S son, HARDY, my great grandfather will be the subject of a later chapter, along with his illustrious bride, EDITH BERILLA FOLSOM. (Before reaching this couple, however, I shall back up again to introduce the antecedents of the bride, which brings in the FOLSOM, BRYAN, SMITH, MONTFORT and WHITFIELD (30 ) lines.

Read the John Moore Marriage Bond
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