William Isaac Johnson Sr.


William I. Johnson was born into slavery in Albemarle County, Virginia, more than two decades before Emancipation. During the Civil War, he freed himself, walking out of a Confederate camp near Fredericksburg, with enough tobacco on hand to bribe the pickets. After serving in the Union Army, he went on to become a successful building contractor in Richmond, where he lived for many years with his wife, Hannah (Hardaway) Johnson, and children. He died in 1938 as he approached his 98th birthday. (For more on Mr. Johnson, see the blog posts “Overlooked No Longer” and “Freedom Fighters at Rest.”)

William Isaac Johnson Sr.
  • Born: 14 1840
  • Died: 1 January 1938
  • Birth Place:
  • Death Place:
  • Spouse: Hannah L. (Hardaway) Johnson
  • Parents:
  • Children: Mayme Hannah (Johnson) Coleman, S. Ella (Johnson) Carrington, Rosalie Lavinia (Johnson) Banks, Alyce B. Johnson, William I. Johnson Jr.
  • Other Family:
  • Occupation: Contractor
  • Church: First African Baptist Church
  • Affiliations: Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, Independent Order of Good Samaritans, Independent Order of St. Luke, Masons, National Ideal Benefit Society
  • Address: 516 N. Harrison Street
  • Documents: Obituary (Richmond Planet 1/08/1938); WPA Slave Narrative
  • Military Service: a:1:{i:0;s:9:"Civil War";}

Contributors to this Record:
Brian Palmer
Erin Hollaway Palmer