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Our Illustrious Ancestors:

Johnson, Rankin, Eastland, and Speed

by Mary Johnson Posey
(youngest daughter of Adam R. Johnson,
b. 1884; d. 1960)

Source: Vertical File, Herman Brown Free Library

transcribed by JoAnn Myers, April 2004

 The following was transcribed from an undated, handwritten copy donated to the library.


The will of Thomas Johnson of Woodford County, Kentucky, dated August 24, 1792, gives to wife Elizabeth, sons David and Silas, daughters Mary, Anne, Betsy and SallieÉ

Witnesses David Hatch, Jeremiah Hatch and Arthur Ingrim. Will Book A, page 75

On file, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort Kentucky


Paternal Great Grandfather

David Johnson, born 1764; Mary Burch (wife), born October 23, 1790.

David Johnson died August 2, 1819, aged 55 years. His will written September 10, 1817 is recorded in Will book 1, page 84, Franklin County, Kentucky.

Above from Johnson Bible on file Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky.


Paternal Grandfather:

Dr. Thomas Jefferson Johnson, son of David Johnson and his wife Mary Burch, was born February 15, 1801 in Franklin County, Kentucky. He married Juliet Spencer Rankin, daughter of Dr. Adam Rankin and his wife Elizabeth Speed, in Henderson, Kentucky, February 15, 1827 on his 26th birthday.

He settled in Henderson, Kentucky and became one of its best doctors.

Paternal Grandmother

Juliet Spencer Rankin was born in Henderson, Kentucky in 1799. Died in 1879 &endash; 80 years of age.


Paternal great grandfather

Dr. Adam Rankin, seventh son of William Rankin was born in Franklin, Pa. In 1770. He married Elizabeth Speed on November 1, 1792. They made Henderson, Kentucky their home. He became a very famous physician.

John Audubon, the noted artist, lived in his home. The Texas Johnson children had a copy of Audubon's fabulous "Bird Book", which, alas, disappeared thru the years. Audubon Park, in Henderson, Ky., was named for the great artist.

Paternal great Grandmother

Elizabeth Speed was born in Virginia February 7, 1774 and immigrated from Virginia to Kentucky coming over the famous "Wilderness Road" with her father, Captain James Speed. The journey was made by walking and horseback.

The Rankin "Crest", which the descendants of Dr. Adam Rankin are privileged to use on stationary, etc., is on deposit at Tiffany's, N.Y. The Rankin Coat of Arms is very beautiful: a scarlet shield centered with silver, holding scarlet boars heads.

Glory painted mine from Burks Peerage and Heraldery.



General Adam Rankin Johnson was born in Henderson, Kentucky February 8, 1834. He came to Texas in 1854 when 20 years of age. For five years he surveyed school lands and developed into manhood, an alert woodsman, highly intelligent, fine shot and an expert horseman.

Returned to Kentucky in 1861 to join General N. B. Forrest as confidential scout in the War Between the States. Rose rapidly in rank. Colonel of 10th Kentucky Cavalry Partisan Rangers June 1, 1864. Brigadier General of same troop Sept 6, 1864. [photo]

Retired from active service after loss of his eyes at Grubbs Cross Roads, Kentucky, March 23, 1865. Applied for amnesty and took the oath of allegiance to the United States at Henderson, Kentucky, July 28, 1865. Returned to Texas, settling with his young wife, Josephine, at Burnet. Amassed a small fortune in the land business, built Marble Falls, Texas "The Blind Man's Town". [photo]

Though blind, raised and educated 6 children with the capable, tireless help of his wife, Josephine, whom he married prior to the war on January 1, 1861. [photo]

Died October 17, 1922 aged 89 in Burnet, Texas. Was buried from Senate Chamber in the State Capitol and rests in the State Cemetary, the Arlington of Texas, among Texas illustrious dead. Governor Pat M. Neff was an honorary pallbearer.


Maria Josephine Eastland Johnson was born in Sparta, Tennessee, August 31, 1845. A magnificent, highly intelligent, courageous woman, Josephine was a "Grande Dame of the Old South." She possessed a gracious personality and made her home attractive and delightful to her family and friends. It was her tireless reading of history, fiction and theology that kept her husband well informed. Josephine was an excellent reader and Adam's happiest moments were when he was listening to her melodious voice.

Josephine's children and grandchildren loved her deeply and found her a delightful companion.

Josephine died at her son's (Adam R. Johnson Jr.) home in Austin September 11, 1923, and sleeps beside her husband.


Daughters of the Republic of Texas Ancestor; Maternal Grandfather

Robert Mosby Eastland was born in Sparta, Tennessee in 1825. He received a grant of land from the Republic of Texas in 1842.

He was one of the early educators of Texas, teaching at Ruetersville College at Fayetteville, Texas.

He married Elizabeth (Eliza) Brazeale of Kingston, Roan County, Tennessee in 1844. They came to Texas in 1845. Their children were Maria Josephine and Fannie Margrave Eastland.

Robert Eastland died in 1851 with TB and is buried in the old cemetery in LaGrange.

Maternal Grandmother

Elizabeth (Eliza) Brazeale was born in Kingston, Roan County, Tennessee November 15, 1827, the daughter of John Woods McNary Brazeale and his wife, Elizabeth Margrave. After the death of Robert Eastland, Eliza married a rich planter (a Mr. Hill) in Fayetteville, Texas, and Josephine and Fannie were raised with his daughter, Lenora.

Eliza later married a third time, Emanuel Sampson, a merchant in Burnet, Texas.

Eliza Sampson died in Burnet December 29, 1904 and is buried in the old cemetery there.


Maternal Great Grandfather; United States Daughters of 1812 Ancestor

John Woods McNary Brazeale was born in Kingston, Roan County, Tennessee in 1795. He was a prominent lawyer. In 1842 he wrote a book, "Life As It Is," a history of East Tennessee. He married Elizabeth Margrave in Roan County, Tennessee, Feb. 5, 1824.

He served in the War of 1812 as a Sergeant in Captain Allen S. Bacon's Company, Brown's Regiment, East Tennessee Volunteers, from September 30 to December 30, 1813.

He died in Jasper, Tennessee in 1843.

Maternal Great Grandmother

Elizabeth Margrave Brazeale came with her daughter, Elizabeth (Eliza) and her husband Robert Mosby Eastland to Texas in 1845. She settled with her family in Burnet, Texas.

Her family was 5 sons and 2 daughters: Jefferson, Harrison, Frank, Clint, Columbus, Elizabeth, and Sarah.


Paternal Great Grandfather, five times removed

John Speed of England, the "Great Historian", geographer and antiquarian, was born in Farrington, in the county of Cheshire, England in 1552.

He lived in London, and his life's great work was the history of England and maps of England and Wales. His Table of Scripture Genealogy were published in the first editions of the King James translations of the Bible. In them, the author shows by "chain like" trail the descent of Adam thru Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and David and a continuous line to the Virgin Mary.

King James gave to John Speed patents to these tables, securing them to him and his heirs and it is probable that John Speed was knighted by King James for his work as in England he was called "Sir John Speed."

Note: There is a first edition of the King James Bible in the Wenn Library in the University of Texas which contains the John Speed tables of Scripture Genealogy. This Bible is valued at $150,000.

Speed's history of England was first published in 1611 in a splendid folio volume, bound in red morocco. Speed's history was pronounced by the learned men of his time as the most complete ever written.

John Speed married Susan Draper and had 18 children, all of them becoming Oxford graduates. He lived with his sweet "Susana" 57 years.

John Speed was b uried in the Chancel of the Church of Saint Giles, Cripplegate, London, where afterwards, the poet John Milton was laid.

The portrait I have of John Speed is a copy of the one that hangs in the British Museum in London, England.

The Speed Coat of Arms is a swallow É[some text missing.]


Paternal Great Grandfather; Four times removed

The first Speed. James Speed was the son of Dr. John Speed, Mayor of Southampton, England, born at Oxford, elected a scholar of Saint John's College in 1643. In 1666 he took his degree of Doctor of Medicine. He was an Oxford graduate, eminent physician and playwrite. He died in 1640 and is buried in the Chapel at Oxford.


Paternal Great Grandfather; Three Times Removed

James Speed, son of Dr. John Speed of Southampton, England, was born in England September 28, 1679. He came to American in 1695, settling in the County of Surrey, on the South side of the James River, opposite Williamsburg, Virginia. He was a pioneer in the early times of the old Dominion, just as his grandson, Captain James Speed, was in Kentucky. He became a tobacco raiser, one of the best.

In fifteen years, he was independently wealthy enough to get married. He married Mary Pulley September 6, 1711. They had four sons: James, John, William and Thomas.

He died March 15, 1719. Mary Pulley Speed died June 3, 1733.


Paternal Great Grandfather; Twice Removed

John Speed, second son of James Speed and Mary Pulley was born February 5, 1714 in Mechlenburg County, Virginia. He married a widow, Mary Taylor, October 6, 1737, in Surrey County Virginia. They were married 45 years when she died July 1, 1782.

John Speed died March 8, 1785, aged 71 years. He was a man of large wealth and one of the most influential and substantial citizens of his part of the old Dominion.

John Speed and Mary Taylor had seven sons and four daughters.


Paternal Great Grandfather; Once removed

Daughters of the American Revolution Ancestor

Captain James Speed, son of John Speed and Mary Taylor was born March 4, 1739 in Mechlenburg County, Virginia. He married Mary Spencer December 10, 1767 in Charlotte County, Virginia. They had six children: Thomas, Mary, John, Elizabeth and Henry (twins) and Julia.

Captain James Speed was in Colonel Cocke's Virginia Militia. On March 15, 1781, at Guilford's Court House he was wounded in the left side by a ball which destroyed two or three of his small ribs.

Captain James Speed made the trip to Kentucky over the famous "Wilderness Road." This road was charted by the hunters of thay day and led thru the mountains of Virginia to Cumberland Gap and thru the levellands of Kentucky by way of Rockcastle, Crab Orchard and Danville. The trip was made by walking and horseback. The country was a wilderness infested by Indians.

Captain James Speed was well educated, had strong business sense and great energy. He had ready wit and wrote well. Some of his poems were in the school books of Kentucky.

He was one of the early judgers of Kentucky. He acquired large tracts of land. He was a member of the early Kentucky conventions of May 1783 to 1787. He was also a member of the "Political Club" made up of the leading men of the state.

Captain James Speed died September 3, 1811, aged 72 years. His widow, Mary Taylor Speed, died March 5, 1829.


We had four great grandmothers named Mary.

Mary Burch Johnson, Mary Spencer Rankin, Mary Taylor Speed, Mary Pulley Speed


United States Daughters of 1812 Ancestor -

Maternal Great Grandfather

Thomas B. Eastland, son of William and Mary Eastland of Woodford County, Kentucky, was born in Virginia, but lived as a boy in Kentucky. He was Quartermaster General under General William Harrison of Kentucky during the War of 1812. He held a commission as first lieutenant of Infantry in the U.S. Army and his commission was signed by John Adams, dated 1801.

After the War of 1812 he lived in Nashville, Tennessee. He was awarded fabulously rich land grants in the coal mines of that state by General Andrew Jackson for his part in the Battle of New Orleans and other engagements. Being a man of fine business ability, he amassed a large fortune.

In 1821 he moved to Sparta, Tennessee to a palatial plantation located at the famous Bon Aire Springs, which he bought in 1801.

He married Nancy Mosby at her father's home "Wood Farm" in Woodford County, Kentucky. They had six children, five sons and one daughter. They were: James W. and Nickolos Washington (twins), Robert Mosby (our grandfather), William Mosby and Thomas B. and a daughter Maria.

In later life, Thomas B. Eastland moved to a new home, "Clifty" on the top of the Cumberland Mountains. Due to his distinguished service to his county and state, the name was changed to "Eastland." It is on the Knoxville to Nashville highway. His neighbors were Andrew Jackson, John Sevier, James K. Polk and other notables.

A painting of General Andrew Jackson and his staff, Colonel Coffee and Lieutenant Thomas B. Eastland hangs in the Hermitage.

Thomas B. Eastland died in 1860 and is buried on a knob near his home.

Maternal Great Grandmother

Nancy Mosby was the daughter of John Mosby of Woodford County, Kentucky, who reprersented Fayette County in the Virginia Legislature in 1782. He resided in that part of Fayette that became Woodford County, Kentucky. In 1800 the census reported him as owner of a farm (probably Wood Farm) and three slaves and a family of 13 members.

Eastland County, Texas organized in 1873 was named for Captain William Eastland, Texas Ranger and early patriot. He participated in the Battle of Mier, was captured by the Mexicans, drew a black bean and was shot. "Thank God death has no terrors for me," were his last words.

The gorgeous Eastland Monument on Monument Hill at La Grange, Texas was erected in his memory.


The Rankin Family

Adam Rankin, Landed Gentry of Scotland and Ireland

Paternal Great Grandfather

During the massacre of Glencoe, when the ruling of death for all male children was made, a mother dressed her four little boys as girls and made her escape to England. She changed their names at once from Macfhraing to Rankin.

One son, William, at young manhood immigrated to America and settled in Franklin County, Pa., many years before the American Revolution. William was the son of Adam Rankin, landed proprietor of Scotland and Ireland. He was the only son of Adam Rankin to seek his fortune in the United States. He prospered and raised a family of seven sons and one daughter.

The Macfhraings, later Rankins, lived in Scotland in the 12th century. Here their names meant "son of a Frenchman", indicating that the head of the clan came over with William the Conqueror in our earliest intercourse with France.

The Rankin Line:

Adam Rankin son of Jeremiah, son of Adam Rankin (born in 1688), son of William, son of Alexander Rankin of Scotland.


Will You Love
By General Adam Rankin Johnson, Written in 1860
Will you love? I ask the maiden
Beaming bright in beautie's sky,
Love you know and with it laden
Are the arrows in your eye:
Blushes soft come o'er you stealing,
Low your words of music fall.
Love's a strange delicious feeling
What it is I cannot tell.
What is love O, brightest angel?
Wilt thou not thyself unfold?
So, I feel thy soft eve &endash; angel
Stir the waters of my soul.
Love is a joy divinely given
To the souls of earth again.
Binding heart to earth and heaven
By love's own electric chain.


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