Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) is making me crazy. To refresh your memory, Peter’s early life, including his parents, are shrouded in mystery. I wrote about him here and here. My ancestor is Dorcas Johnson who married Jacob Dobkins. I strongly believe Dorcas to be Peter Johnson’s daughter, for a myriad of reasons, supported by evidence of various types, including paper-trail and genetic, but I’m still seeking that elusive nail in the coffin – pardon the pun. I wrote about Dorcas here and here.
I’m comfortable with assigning Peter Johnson as Dorcas’s father, although I’d love just one conclusive piece of proof. However, Peter’s parents are another matter entirely and one very tough nut.
I’ve been digging like a dog with a bone, and so far, I’ve unearthed conflicting evidence. So now I have two bones and no idea which one is accurate. Wasn’t counting on that – but it sure makes for an interesting article!
I did, however, discover an absolutely WONDERFUL book in Salt Lake City recently. My husband scanned the entire book for me. Let’s start with the 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware.
1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware
According to the 1693 Census of the Swedes on the Delaware authored in 1993 and published by Peter Stebbins Craig, J.D., between 1637 and 1655, Sweden equipped thirteen passenger voyages for the South Delaware River, with about 800 prospective settlers. Eleven ships with 600 passengers actually arrived.
The first ship deposited 24 men at Fort Christina, now Wilmington, Delaware. The second and third expeditions brought families. In 1644, Sweden and Denmark were at war, so immigration was suspended until 1647.
In 1653, 22 Swedes presented a petition to the Swedish Governor Johan Printz, complaining of his aristocratic rule. One Peeter Jochim and one Claes Johansson were among the petitioners. The descendants of Claes, according to Peter Craig, use the Johnson surname in Pennsylvania, and Classon in Delaware and Maryland. Nothing confusing here!
Printz accused the petitioners of mutiny and returned in a huff to Sweden, but a new governor was soon dispatched, along with more settlers. Sailing into the Delaware River, the new Governor, Johan Rising, demanded that the Dutch Fort Casimir surrender – which it did because it had no gunpowder.
The Dutch at Fort Trinity (Fort Casimir, now New Castle) returned north to New Netherlands, but more Swedes moved to Maryland. You can read about Fort Trinity/Fort Casimir archaeology excavations, here.
Craig estimates that about 300 people, including wives and children, remained in New Sweden in 1655 when the Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant sailed up the Delaware with 7 armed ships and 317 soldiers. The 50 Swedish solders were divided between two fortresses. Both Fort Trinity and Fort Christina (now Wilmington) surrendered on September 15, 1655. You can see a reconstructed Swedish village, here.
At this point, a few Swedes returned to the old country, but most remained, influenced strongly by Peter Stuyvesant’s conciliatory attitude. In a surprise move, he offered to return the colony to Governor Rising, but would retain Fort Casimir (New Castle). Governor Rising declined and left, but Stuyvesant made the same offer to the remaining settlers, offering them the opportunity to govern themselves by a court of their own choosing, continue their religion, have their own militia, continue trading with the Indians and retain their land. In return, they had to pledge loyalty to New Netherlands and Stuyvesant reserved the right to approve their officers. That seemed like a pretty good deal, all things considered, so the Swedes accepted, although they remained stubbornly independent.
Another voyage was already underway though, and in March of 1656, an additional 106 people arrived from the province of Varmland, Sweden, sailing out of Gothenburg.
The new “Swedish Nation” was formed in August 1656, with two courts. One was “Upland,” north of New Castle, and the other functioned on the other side of the Cristina River. The Delaware River was the highway and transportation was primarily by dugout canoe, exactly like the Native people. Hunting was achieved using Native paths. Some farming was undertaken, but mostly, only enough to feed families.
By 1680, life was changing for the Swedish families along the Delaware and many Englishmen were settling in the region. In 1681, William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania, quickly followed by 23 ships from England carrying his Quaker followers. The three “lower counties” of Pennsylvania were present-day Delaware. By 1682, no longer holding a majority, the Swedish courts were no longer in session.
Penn was very complimentary of the Swedes, said they were welcoming and helpful to the English, got along very well with the Native people, and “strong of body…they have fine children, and almost every house full; rare to find one of them without 3 or 4 boys and as many girls; some six, seven and eight sons.”
By this time, given that 40+ years had elapsed since the first Swedes settled in New Sweden, the third generation was beginning – grandchildren of those original settlers were being born.
One of their English neighbors described the Swedes as ingenious, speaking English, Swedish, Finnish, Dutch and Indian. He described their efficiency, stating that one man could cut down a tree, two would quickly rend the tree into planks using only an ax and wooden wedges. No iron. The women spun linen and wove it into clothe and then made clothes. Swedish families ate rye instead of white bread.
The Swedes introduced log cabins to the colony – structures that would sustain pioneers on the ever-westward-moving frontiers for centuries to come.
The Nothnagle cabin,above, in Gibbstown, NJ, built in 1638 (attached to a 1738 structure) is reputed to be the oldest house in New Jersey.
The cabin is a few miles downstream from present-day Philadelphia, across the river from Tinicum Island, about four miles northeast of Raccoon Creek. This is important because it tell us where Swedes were living at the early date.
After William Penn obtained his charter, he cultivated the friendship of the Swedes to help his English settlers. Among others, Peter Petersson Yocum served as an interpreter, assisting Penn when purchasing land from the Indians.
Unfortunately, the Swedes had already purchased this land, as attested to by depositions from 7 “Antient Swedes” stating that they had purchased and occupied that land since 1638. Eventually, the Swedes provided Penn with the land that would become Philadelphia.
Given that Finland was part of Sweden at this time, no differentiation was made between Swedes and Finns, and both were included. Craig says that if the term Finns was used, it was specifically referring to people who spoke primarily Finnish. People who spoke primarily Swedish were not called Finns. Spelling was not standardized, but neither was it for English. This seems to be a politically challenging time in Scandinavia and results in confusion when looking back and trying to unravel New Sweden’s settlers. Additionally, patronymics, followed by the gradual adoption of surnames make both history and genealogy exceedingly difficult.
In 1693, a “census” of the Swedes was taken, thankfully, and appended to a letter. In 1693, the Swedes were still living below the fall line. In later years, they would settle in tracts granted to them by Penn in Upper Merions Township in Montgomery County, PA and Manatawny, present day Amity Township in Berks County.
Some Swedes settled at Sahakitko, a trading center for the Susquehanna (Minquas) Indians located at the head of the Elk River, now Elkton, Maryland. These traders traveled extensively, hunting, trapping, moving among and trading with various Indian tribes.
Peter Craig spent his retirement visiting these locations, along with archives and universities in Sweden and Finland, ferreting out information about these families. To him, we owe a massive debt of gratitude, because without his work we would be left with only shreds to try to reweave back into a piece of whole cloth. I’ll spare you the details about the mistakes with early 1693 census publications, but suffice it to say that Craig located and reassembled the information. The order of recording is important as well and provided information about where the families lived. The area was called “New Sweden in Pennsylvania on the Delaware River” and in 1693, the number of people in each household was recorded.
By 1693, not everyone was Swedish or Finnish. Dutch, English and German immigrants had intermarried with the Swedish colonists. Conversely, some of the Swedes were found in Maryland and no longer associated with the Swedish churches. Both of the Swedish churches were without pastors and had requested replacements. A 1697 list of parishioners includes people not listed in 1693 and a population estimate of about 1200.
The total 1693 census was 972 individuals, and within the Swedes community, our Peter Johnson’s ancestor is found – someplace.
Peter Craig listed the Swedes along with the number of souls shown in the census, but due to the changing nature of patronymics, it’s very difficult, without additional information to move further than this.
Thankfully, in the remainder of the book, Craig fleshed out each family, as best he could based on documents retrieved from many locations.
By now, you’re probably wondering why I’ve provided all this background.
Peter Johnson (c1720-1790)
There is absolutely NO question that Peter Johnson’s descendants are related to the descendants of BOTH Jacob Dobkins who married Dorcas (Darkus) Johnson and Evan Dobkins who married Margaret Johnson.
Three distinct types of genetic evidence come into play.
The mitochondrial DNA descendants of both Dorcas Johnson and Margaret Johnson match each other, confirming that they indeed descend from a common maternal ancestor. Mitochondrial DNA can’t prove actual parentage, but it can certainly rule it out. An exact match is strong evidence. Multiple pieces of evidence point to Darcus/Dorcas and Margaret being sisters. I wrote about this family and their challenges, here.
Even stronger evidence would be to find a mitochondrial DNA descendant of Peter Johnson’s wife, reportedly Mary Polly Philips, through another daughter, descending through all females to the current generation which can be male or female. If the descendant of Mary’s other daughter through all females to the current generation, which can be male, matches both Dorcas and Margaret’s descendants’ mitochondrial DNA, we’ve added another very important piece of evidence that Dorcas and Margaret are daughters of Peter Johnson and his wife. I’m offering a fully paid DNA testing scholarship for a qualifying person.
Using autosomal DNA, descendants of Peter Johnson through multiple other children match dozens of people descended from both Dobkins/Johnson couples.
Here’s one example using Ancestry’s ThruLines. How could I match descendants of six of Peter’s other children if I wasn’t descended through Peter or his ancestral line? By ancestral line, I mean that this same phenomenon could happen if I was descended from, say, Peter’s sibling.
Let’s look at another example from the perspective of someone descended from one of Peter Johnson’s other children.
This confirmed descendant of Peter Johnson through son James matches several descendants through Peter’s other children, plus 4 through Dorcas Johnson and Jacob Dobkins, plus 21 through Margaret Johnson and Evan Dobkins. How could this person who is descended through Peter’s son James match 25 people descended through Dorcas and Margaret who married the Dobkins boys if Dorcas and Margaret weren’t Peter’s daughters or blood relatives?
Jacob Dobkins and Evan Dobkins are confirmed brothers through John Dobkins and wife Elizabeth, and Dorcas Johnson and Margaret Johnson are believed to be sisters. The Bible of Peter Johnson’s son, Solomon, records two of his sisters marrying Dobkins men. It’s important to note that this record comes from descendants of Peter, through another branch of Peter Johnson’s family, and not from descendants of those two Dobkins/Johnson couples.
A third piece of genetic evidence is the Y-DNA of Peter Johnson.
Several men who descend from Peter and other Johnson males have tested and match each other, including three Big Y-700 testers.
I’ve spent an incredible amount of time recently evaluating Y-DNA and autosomal DNA matches, from tests taken by both Johnson and Yokum testers, or similarly spelled surnames. Some men have completely different Y-DNA, but claim to descend from the same lines. Clearly, we have conflicting evidence to resolve.
Another piece of information of which I’m confident is that our Peter Johnson’s ancestors were indeed Swedish, and I agree with Eric and other Johnson researchers who believe Peter descended from one of the founders of the early Swedish Colony along the Delaware River in the 1600s. Now you know exactly why I’ve shared this information from Peter Craig’s book.
Before we review additional DNA information, I’d like to continue with information about both the Johnson and Yocum lines, extracted from Peter’s comprehensive book. I’ve provided map locations which will aid with locations and proximity.
Peter Petersson Yocum
Page 25-26: Peter Yocum was a member of the Wicaco church when on the last day of May in 1693, 26 members of the Swedish congregation gathered at the log church to sign the letter to Sweden requesting new ministers.
The church faced the Delaware River at the present location of Gloria Dei (Old Swedes) Church in Philadelphia and had originally been built in 1677 to serve the Swedes living above the Schuylkill River, with the 1646 church at Tinicum Island continuing to serve members located between the Schuylkill and Marcus Hook.
When Tinicum Island passed out of Swedish ownership in 1683, the church at Tinicum was abandoned. By 1693, the Wicaco congregation embraced 102 Swedish households extending from Neshaminy Creek in Bucks County to Marcus Hook, on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, and from Pennsauken Creek in Burlington County to the southern boundary of Gloucester County (Oldmans Creek) on the New Jersey side of the river.
Identification of the 554 Swedish church members living within this area is facilitated by the fact that in 1697 the new Wicaco minister, Andreas Rudman, made a house-by-house enumeration of his congregation, which was later copied and preserved. This chapter focused on the first 37 Wicaco households listed in the 1693 census. The household’s location is shown as evidenced by contemporary land records. Additionally, the value or size of each property is shown in pounds or acres as reported in contemporary tax records.
Page 43, person #35* – Peter Petersson Yocum (Aronameck, 100 pounds): Peter was born in New Sweden about 1652. His father, a soldier named Peter Jochimsson from Schlesvig in Holsstein, had arrived in New Sweden on the Swan in 1643 and became a freeman on November 1, 1652. He was one of the 22 freemen signing the 1653 complaint against Governor Printz. In the summer of 1654, Governor Rising chose him to go to New Amsterdam (now Manhattan in New York City) on a diplomatic and spying mission to deliver a letter. Peter Jochimsson died there. Thereafter, his widow, aged 20 with 2 children at his death, known in 1693 as Ella Steelman, (#54), married Hans Mansson who raised Peter Petersson as his own son. Peter Petersson who adopted the surname Jochim (Yocum) about 1675 married Judith, daughter of Jonas Nilsson (322), and had seven children by May of 1693: Peter born 1677, Mans born 1678, Catharine born 1681, Charles born 1682, Sven born 1685, Julia born 1687, and Jonas born in 1689. Peter Petersson Yocum who had been prominent as an Indian trader and as an Indian interpreter for William Penn died in 1702. His widow thereafter moved with her younger sons to Manatawny (Berks County) where she died in 1727. Their descendants used the surname of Yocum or Yocom.
Craig provides the following footnote: Subsequent children: Anders (Craig’s ancestor) born 1693, John born 1696 and Maria. For additional references to Peter’s father, Peter Jochimson, see Huygen, 63, MGB 23, 78; Rising 93, 107, 111, 112, 163, 165, 183, 195. Peter Jochimsson also had a daughter, Elisabeth born about 1654 who married an English soldier, John Ogle. Yocum, 270, n24; Stille, 147-149.
*Please note that Craig’s numbers, such as #35, reference their position on the 1693 census. Peter is recorded as “Petter Yocomb – 9” meaning 9 people in the family as of that date.
Mathias Hutt Jönsson
Raccoon Creek is about two miles north of Oldmans Creek, shown at the top of the map below.
Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt, living someplace on or near Salem Creek in New Jersey (upper red arrow,) fell under the Crane Hook Congregation across the river on the Pennsylvania side in what is now Wilmington.
His son, Oliver, and possibly other sons would eventually live in the Indian trading village of Sahakitko at Head of Elk, now Elkton, Maryland.
Craig tells us that the migration of families from New Castle County across the Delaware River to Penn’s Neck in Salem County began in 1671. By the time of the 1693 census, the Crane Hook Church counted 130 members living on “the other side” of the Delaware.
Penn’s Neck was bounded by the Delaware River on the west and extended from Oldmans Creek on the north to Salem Creek on the south. The eastern boundary was also Salem Creek to its northern bend, then extending overland northeast to Oldman’s Creek. It derived its name from the fact that William Penn, proprietor of Pennsylvania, also acquired proprietorship of this area in 1683 from its first English claimant, John Fenwick. The church census identifies the households in Penn’s Neck beginning at its northernmost settlement.
Page 104, footnote 58 on Olle Thomasson #113 – partially reads: On August 25, 1685, “Wooley Thomason of Pennsylvania” (which then included Delaware,) and Wooley Peterson of Boughttown (#80) were named co-administrators of the estate of “Matthias Unson” of Salem Creek in Penn’s Neck. NJA, 23:474. The deceased whose full name was Matthias Jönsson alias Hutt, directed that his son Michael should live with Wooley Thompson. Salem Co. wills, 2:16-17, NJA 23:474; 1730 accounting by William Peterson, surviving executor, Salem County probate records 503Q, NJA, 23:263-64.
This next portion loops in another Jönsson family and is confusing. I apologize in advance.
The Jönsson or Halton Family – The probable progenitor of the Halton family was Jons Jönsson, a Finn from Letstigen, Varmland, who was listed in October 1655 as about to go to New Sweden on the Mercurius with his wife and 6 children. Later records disclose the presence of Olle, Peter and Mans Jönsson whose patronymic was later replaced by Halton. Along with Nils Larsson France (see #85), Olle Rawson (#135) and their associated, Olle Jönsson (also known as “Carringa Olle”) was licensed by the New Jersey governor in 1668 to buy Indian lands on the east side of the Delaware River. The subsequent purchase agreement, executed Nov. 15, 1676, conveyed the lands to Hans Hoffman and Peter Jönsson. In 1684, Peter Jönsson moved to Penn’s Neck, Salen County, dying in 1692. He called himself Peter Halton in his will, naming his wife as Mary and his children as Frederick, Andrew and Brita.
Page 79 #78 – Lasse Halton (Raccoon Creek, 100 acres): Born about 1668, Lasse Halton was the eldest son of Olle Jönsson (“Carringa Olle”) and in 1693 was probably residing with his brother Hans and Carl Halton. Lasse later married a daughter of Matthias Jönsson of Penn’s Neck. The names of their children, if any, are uncertain. He moved to Piles Grove, Salem County, around 1707, after selling his Raccoon Creek Plantation to his brother Hans.
The 100 acres occupied by Lasse Halton was taxed to his mother, “Madlen Janson” in 1687. Her name was replaced with his on the 1690 and 1694 tax lists.
The final accounting of the estate of Matthias Jönsson, filed in 1730, showed a payment to Lausy Halton for his wife’s filial portion NJA, 21:263-264. He had picked out his grave site at Raccoon church in 1724. RPN, 27.
Carl (Charles) Halton married Maria, daughter of Matthias Jönsson (NJA, 23:263-64) and following her death, Gunnilla Fransson. Charles Halton died at Penn’s Neck in 1738.
Page 148, #173 Anders Anderson Weinam (150 aces): (The first portion regarding his name omitted.)
It is uncertain whether Anders Andersson Weinam was a son of a settler or New Sweden named Anders or whether he was among the 1663-1664 arrivals under Dutch rule. Anders was fined 50 guilders in the 1669 Long Finn Rebellion. By 1677 he had moved to Crane Hook. In 1679, he joined Matthias Jönsson, Lars Corneliusson (see #174-75) and widow Annika Hendricks (see #176) in obtaining the original 600 acre grant at Chestnut Neck between Parting Creek and Bastowe (sauna) Creek. In 1690 Nicholas Philpot purchased 50 acres from Anders Andersson’s original 150 acres. Meanwhile, in partnership with Peter Bilderback, Anderson acquired a nearby tract of 100 acres from William Penn. In 1697 Anders Weinam pledged 18 shillings for the new church at Christina and in 1699 both Anders Vinam and his wife were assigned pews at Holy Trinity. The will of Anders Andersson of Penn’s Neck, dated July 9, 1719, gave his entire estate to his wife Anna. Her will, proved the following year, made her brother Henery Boasman (Hendrick Batsman), sold heir, which identifies her as the daughter of Joran Joransson Batsman (see #151.) She and Anders had no children. Their household of four probably included two of the children of Matthias Jönsson Hutt.
Matthias Jönsson alias Hutt had been granted a patent for 100 acres at Feren Hook in 1669. Fined in 1675 in the dike rebellion, he remained at that location until 1679 when he moved to Chestnut Neck. When he died in 1685, he left nine orphan children. The two youngest of his sons, Eric and Eskil Jönsson or Johnson, also known as Erik and Eskil Hutton or Hotton, remained in Penn’s Neck and probably were members of Anders Andersson’s household in 1693.
Will – 1684-5 Feb. 14 – Unson, Mathias, of Castiana Neck on Fenwick’s River alias Salem Greek, Salem Tenth, planter; will of. Gives real and personal estate to his nine children, of whom only the following names are given; Woola Matheson, who is to live with Lause Powleson, Michael, the third son, to live with Wooley Thompson, the fourth son, Erick, to live with Andrea Anderson. Witnesses – Peeter Billderbeck and William Wilkinson. Proved August 11, 1685
1730 <no date> – Johnson, Mathias, of Pen’s Neck, Salem Co., yeoman. Account of the estate of £75.9, by the surviving executor, William Peterson, who has paid to Lausey Halton £8.5 in full of his wife’s filial portion, to Mary, wife of Chas. Halton £6 as her portion, to Samuel Walcott and wife Katharine £8.5, the filial portion of Erick Johnson, said Katherine’s former husband, to Oliver Johnson £6.3, to Eskell Johnson £6.3, to Michael Johnson £4.17.6, to Henry Johnson £6.3, Margaret Johnson £6.3, all filial portions. [No will on record or on file.]
Footnote 46 – DYR, 137, NYHM, 20:22; 21:104; NCR, 1:160, 163; NJA, 21:544, 568, 574; will of Matthis Unson of Castiana Neck on Salem Creek, dated Feb 14, 1684/5 and proved May 11 1685, Salem County wills, 2:16, and final accounting of estate of Matthias Johnson by William Peterson, surviving executor, filed 1730, Salem County wills, 503-Q. The eldest son, Olle, later known as Oliver, was to stay with Lars Palsson Kampe (#147), Henrick with Lars’ father Pal Larsson and Michael with Olle Thompson (#113). They all died at Sahakitko (Elkton), Cecil County. See, e.g., MCW, 7:219. Eric was to live with Anders Andersson and Eskil was unassigned. Eric and Eskil Hutton or Hotten both pledged money and contributed labor for the building of Holy Trinity Church and were assigned pews in that church in 1699. Eric as Eric Jansson or Johnson married Catharine Gillijohnson and died at Penn’s Neck in 1719. Eskil as Ezekiel Jansson or Johnson worked on the glebe house for Penn’s Neck church in 1721 and died intestate in Penn’s Neck in 1726. According to the accounting, one daughter married Lars Halton (#78), another, Maria, married Lars Halton’s brother Charles Halton. A third was named Margaret Johnson in the account. The fourth, Catherine Johnson and her newborn child were maintained by Olle (William) Peterson of Gloucester County (#80) for 13 months.
Information for Lars Palsson Kampe (#147) (Sahakitko): This man’s father, Pal Larsson had been granted a patent at Feren Hook in 1668, was fined 100 guilders in the 1669 Long Finn Rebellion and 20 guilders in the 1675 dike rebellion. The will of Paul Larson dated March 7, 1685, witnessed by Olle Palsson and Eskil Andersson, left his “house and lands whereon I now live” to his wife Magdalena for life, then to his daughters – unnamed. He left to his sons Lawrence and Matthias “my land which is now in Elk River, which is 200 acres,” with directions that Lawrence keep and maintain Matthias. On October 20, 1685, Paul sold his 200-acre home plantation at Feren Hook to Justa Andersson and apparently moved to Elk River, Cecil County where his will was proved June 3, 1692. His eldest son, Lars Palsson chose the surname Kampe, warrior in Swedish, as illustrated in this census. In 1693 his household included his wife (name unknown,) their first children and perhaps his brother Matthias. Lars had three children who later moved to Gloucester County: John, Paul and Brigitta Kampe, also written as Camp.
These families were neighbors and eventually, related. Their lives were intertwined and the survival of the colony depended on the cooperation of many.
In Peter Stebbins Craig’s book, 1671 Census of the Delaware, he states that Feren Hook, meaning Pink Hook, appears to have been settled in 1663 by Swedes and Finns arriving from Sweden via Christiania (now Oslo,) Norway, and Amsterdam in the time of d’Hinojossa. Transcription here.
Now, of course, the quandary.
My Johnson cousins Y-DNA matches a few other Johnson men and one Yocum male.
The Yokum male shows his ancestor as Peter Jochimsson born in 1620 and died in 1702. That, of course would be the father of Peter Petersson Yocum.
At first glance, this looks like a slam dunk, meaning our Johnson line is Yocum, descended from Peter Jochimsson, but it isn’t.
Eric Johnson, who is descended from “our” Peter Johnson who was born circa 1720 and died in 1790 in Allegheny County, PA, worked with Dr. Peter Craig before his death who provided Eric with information suggesting that our Peter Johnson is descended from Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt, through his son Oliver (Olle) who had son Peter in 1720 in Cecil County, MD, near Head of Elk, now Elkton.
I found a record in 1740 in Cecil County, MD for 3 Johnson men, Oliver, Simon and Peter, members of the foot company militia under the command of Capt. Zebulon Hollingsworth. Is this “our” Peter as a young man, or a different Peter. I don’t know.
Also in Cecil County, one Peter Johnson’s will is probated in 1747, and we know that our Peter had moved to the border of Pennsylvania and Maryland by 1742, near Hagerstown. Later deeds tie Peter in Allegheny County, PA to the Peter in Franklin Co., PA.
The records for Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) begin in April of 1742 when he obtained land in Lancaster County, PA, the portion that became Cumberland County in 1750, then Franklin County in 1784. If he was born in 1720, he would only have been 22 at the time, which isn’t impossible but young based on the customs of the time. This land was actually on or very near the Maryland/Pennsylvania border, just above Frederick County, MD, close to Hagerstown.
Hence, the suggestion that our Peter Johnson descended from Elkton in Cecil County seems reasonable.
One thing is certain. Our Johnson and Yocum men DO share a common ancestor as confirmed by Big Y-700 DNA testing.
The question is, of course, whether the Yocum male has documentation confirming that he descends from Peter Jochimsson, the father of Peter Petersson Yocum (#35) or if that was an assumption by someone based on the Yocum surname? If not, what type of source information exists and is it conclusive and incontrovertible?
What are the Possibilities?
Unfortunately, we now have some contradictory evidence to resolve.
- It’s possible that the Yocum male who matches our Johnson line very closely does have solid, confirmed genealogy descending from Peter Jochimsson. If that’s the case, can each successive generation be confirmed? How strong is the evidence?
- If our Yocum male’s line can be confirmed, then our ancestor is also very likely Peter Jochimsson.
However, there’s a plot twist.
- There’s another group of about 10 Yocum men who match each other, two of who claim to descend from Peter Jochimsson as well. These men do not match “our Yocum” male, nor do they match any Johnsons. Their haplogroup is in an entirely different branch of the tree.
These groups of men cannot BOTH be directly paternally descended from Peter Jochimsson.
- It’s possible that our Johnson/Yokum line is indeed descended from Mathias Jönsson alias Hutt. If that’s the case, then someplace, Jönsson became Yokum several generations back in time for at least one male whose descendant tested today, while the rest remained or became Johnson/Johnston.
- Its not possible for our Johnson line to descend from Mathias Jönsson/Hutt and the Yokum man who matches the Johnson Y-DNA to descend from Peter Jochimsson, unless of course these ancestral men were closely related to each other, sharing a common paternal ancestor.
Peter Jochimsson and Mathias Jönsson/Hutt sharing a common paternal ancestor is certainly not impossible, but in New Sweden, they don’t live very close to each other. Initially, they were about 40 miles distant. So, if they were related, it’s either in the first generation or two, before 1702, or reaches back to the old country. However, that isn’t what the Y-DNA suggests.
Craig says that Mathias Jochimsson came from Schlesvig in Holsstein, the northern portion of Germany that abuts Denmark, and the settlers in Feren Hook were from near Oslo. Of course, that’s not absolute given that Craig never found a specific origin for Mathias Jönsson/Hutt.
We also don’t know when Mathias Johnsson/Hutt arrived, or where he came from. We know for sure a group of settlers arrived in 1656. According to Amandus Johnson in The Swedes on the Delaware 1638-1664, a final group of Finnish families from Sweden landed in Holland in 1664, en route for New Sweden, but it’s unclear whether they were allowed to proceed to the colonies. We know for sure that Mathias Jönsson/Hutt was in Feren Hook by 1669.
It’s worth noting that little is known about Peter Jochimsson, the original settler, aside from his one son, Peter Petersson Yocum and a daughter reported by Craig. He was either unmarried upon arrival and didn’t marry until he gained his freedom in 1652, or he had more children that died, or he had more children that we don’t know about. Craig reports his widow to have been 20 at his death, with two children which opens the possibility that she was a second wife.
It’s also worth noting that we have the other Otto Jönsson “Carringa Olle” who reportedly took the surname Halton. That line also contains a Peter.
The Y DNA
The most recent common ancestor of these men is estimated to have been born about 1750, which would be roughly the generation of our Peter Johnson who was born before 1720 and died in 1790. Given that we don’t know for sure who Peter’s father was, it’s very likely that our Peter Johnson (possibly the son of Oliver) had siblings and uncles, so Johnson becoming phonetically spelled Yocum or vice versa wouldn’t be the least bit surprising in that era, or in the generation(s) prior.
The confidence range and associated dates suggest that the common ancestor of these Johnson/Yokum men was born in New Sweden. If that is accurate, that means that both the Yocum and Johnson testers are either descended from one ancestor in New Sweden, meaning either Peter Jochimsson or Mathias Johnson alias Hutt (assuming the ancestor is one of those two men.) It likely removes the possibility that those two men were related in the old country, especially given that Craig identified Jochimsson’s origins in Schleswig-Holsstein and suggests that Mathias Jönsson/Hutt may have originated near Oslo.
It may be worth mentioning at this point that, according to the mitochondrial DNA matches of Dorcas Johnson and Margaret Johnson, the daughter of Peter Johnson and his wife, Mary Polly Phillips (if that was her name,) their closest matches are clustered in Finland.
That, of course, strongly suggests that Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) probably married the daughter of one of the settler families wherever he was living in the early 1740s when he would have been marrying.
Let’s hope we find that someone descended from another daughter of Peter Johnson and Mary Polly Philips, through all females to the current generation, which can be male or female, to take a mitochondrial DNA test. That match would solidify the relationship of Dorcas and Margaret to Peter Johnson and Mary.
Now, to determine Peter’s ancestors…
Recently, I extracted records for Maryland and Virginia Counties when I visited the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City. Why Maryland and Virginia? John Dobkins, the father of Jacob and Evan Dobkins is first found in the Monocacy Valley of Maryland before migrating in the early 1730s to what was at that time Frederick County, VA with Jost Hite, one of the early land speculators. Frederick County became Augusta and Dunmore, which eventually became Shenandoah County. John Dobkins lived in Dunmore which is where both Darcus Johnson married Jacob Dobkins and Margaret Johnson married Evan Dobkins in 1775. The Dobkins family is connected with (and probably related to) the Riley Moore family who was found in Prince George’s County, MD, adjacent to Cecil County. Frederick County, MD was once part of Prince George’s County, and Frederick County MD is where Peter Johnson (c1720-1790) is found owning land, on the border with Pennsylvania – Josh Hite’s stomping ground.
Frederick County, VA is chocked full of settlers from Cecil County, Prince George’s County and Frederick County, MD. Furthermore, many New Jersey Quakers moved to Frederick County, VA and established the Hopewell Meeting House. It would make sense that Peter Johnson’s family, perhaps him or maybe his siblings and uncles would make their way down that same path leading to land on the next frontier.
I was tracking Johnsons by the first names we’re familiar with, plus Isaac Johnson who is found associated with John Dobkins in Shenandoah County, VA, as was John Johnson. I found two other records for Isaac Johnson in Frederick County, one in 1751 as a witness to the will of Adam Warner, and one in 1769 as a legatee of Ralph Thompson who also had a son named Isaac. Additionally, there’s an Isaac Johnson in Cumberland County, PA but there’s nothing to suggest that these are the same man. John Johnson was a very common name and I ran out of time.
Somehow, Peter Johnson HAD to be in the Dunmore County neighborhood in 1775 for his two daughters to marry John Dobkins’ sons. There is no record of Peter in Dunmore County in 1775, but the existing records are incomplete. In 1778, Dunmore became Shenandoah.
Was Peter related to either Isaac or John Johnson who were associated with John Dobkins? I wish I had the answer to that. Two of one’s daughters did not marry two sons of a family you weren’t acquainted with, in a location where you weren’t living. Courting required proximity. Of course, the Revolutionary War was interfering with just about everything, so who knows why Peter Johnson might have been in Virginia in 1775. The county records are incomplete during this time, and the entire country was in an uproar.
Peter Johnson sold his land on the Pennsylvania/Maryland border in 1769 and 1770 although his adult son Richard (Derrick) remained in that location, at least for a while. Peter’s Brethren neighbors in Maryland moved to Holman Creek in Dunmore/Shenandoah County, directly adjacent John Dobkins, becoming his neighbors.
One Peter Johnson is found in Bedford County, PA in 1772, but it’s doubtful that this is the same man since he’s listed as a single freeman. Other than that, Peter’s entirely missing from 1773 when he’s found in Rostravener Township, PA, which is all of SW Pennsylvania, until 1783 when he’s found again in the same location. Part of Rostravener became Allegheny County in 1780, where Peter Johnson eventually settled and died a decade later.
In 1776, one Peter Johnson swears an oath of allegiance in Cumberland Co., PA, but our Peter had already left. Peter Johnson is not a terribly unusual name.
One of the earlier Johnson books states that Peter came from Winchester, VA which is found in Frederick Co., VA where there is an early mention of a Peter Johnson. In 1773, according to Eric Johnson, one Richard and Priscilla Johnson mention their son Peter in a deed, although that may well be a younger man. I do not have that record, nor know where they lived.
In other words, the very best clue we have as to where Peter Johnson was found in 1775 is where his two daughters were married to Dobkins men.
In addition to these recent research activities, I have a friend who has been helping me search for tidbits high and low. I’m still processing the information she has sent. Maybe there’s something more hidden there.
I’ve written to the matches of my Johnson cousins asking if they will share their genealogy, or at least as much as they know.
I’d surely love to see additional Johnson and Yokum men take Y-DNA tests, and those who match our line upgrade to the Big Y-700. Perhaps, between more refined time tree placement in addition to jointly working on genealogy and sharing resources, we can isolate one lineage and eliminate the other. That alone would be a victory!
I’m still chiseling at this brick wall, bit by bit!
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