Subj: Re: Killed in Battle of Olustee? and the derivation of Riley
Date: 98-05-22 01:55:31 EDT
From: RJohns24
CC:, Aor7capt, JPayne5744


I thought I'd pass on a few thoughts on the use of the given name Riley. This may be a little fanciful but I think it's worth mentioning.

Jow Payne has an ancestor whose name is Rial Johns, son of Henry Johns, believed to be the son of Thomas Johns Sr. of Cumberland Co VA. Rial b. abt 1812, in either Pendleton SC or Hawkins TN. This is the only Rial Johns I have ever seen, other than his own direct descendants.

I suggest you try pronouncing Royal, with a rather heavy VA drawl. You probably get something like rahl. Then, since you are regretably illiterate, you ask someone to spell you son's name for some legal purpose. He listens and spells it Rial, just as it sounds to him. Now your son is forevermore Rial. Carrying this one step futher, as I remember, Joe has said that Rial was sometimes called Riley. I leave it up to Joe to verify or deny this. I don't have time to search my files. Legally it's Rial colloquially it's Riley. There are no known Irish Rileys in Rial's ancestry.

Hic finis est, Rob

Subj: Re: derivation of Riley
Date: 98-05-23 18:35:06 EDT
From: (Michael Elwood Pollock)
To: (RJohns24)

Though I have never suggested that Riley could be a variant of Royal to Ben, when I first saw Joe's data, it immediately occured to me that Rial was almost certainly a variant of Royal. Joe's "admission" to you that Rial was sometimes pronounced "Riley" adds an "unwelcomed" twist. I am not certain that you are suggesting the same, but I am skeptical of Riley and Royal being directly interchangable.

My recollection is that Joe considers himself part of the family of Richard Johns of King William County.   Your comments prompted me to do a quick survey and I found no instances through 1787 of the name Riley (or any obvious variant) any closer to central Virginia (with the exception of a man in the city of Richmond) than Gloucester County--the name Riley was heavily concentrated in the Northern Neck and Shenandoah Valley. The latter is no surprise, but the Northern Neck is (that term is used to describe the area between the watersheds of the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers. Originally it extended into West Virginia, but in the modern era, its western limit has been the King George/Stafford County line. I am therefore inclined toward Royal as the origin of Rial as Royal is found in substantially larger numbers in the areas where the Johns family has lived.

There was, however, a Rayley family in that area and my research strongly suggests that name is derived from Raleigh. This family was connected to the Woodsons, who in turn had ties to the Johns family, though I believe the ties were with different branches of the Woodson family so that I believe it improbable that there would have any knowledge of each other through the Woodsons.

I suspect that Karen may have pointed out some of the pecularities of Virginia pronunciations. Her home county, for example, is spelled Gloucester, but pronounced Gloster. There is a common name in the area where the Johns have lived, Jordan, which is pronounced Jerdin (which is something of an hybrid between the expected pronunciation and the original French--the name is derived from "jardin". Perhaps the most "outrageous" example is Taliaferro, which is pronounced "Tolliver" in Virginia. There are yet others, but there seems to be little point in raising yet as well until there is evidence that it would add more than words to the discussion. Michel

Subj: Re: derivation of Riley and Rial and a few Other Things
Date: 98-05-23 23:28:08 EDT
From: RJohns24
CC: Aor7capt, HJohns3, JPayne5744, Bebenjohn, Jrn2217

Dear Michael,

Joe Payne's Rial is the only example of that name in the Johns lines that I have been following.   Several years ago Joe contacted me by US mail sending an interesting document prepared by a gentleman named Newton Owen. This document contained a narrative form genealogy of the ancestry of Rial Johns of Hawkins and Hancock Co. TN. The progenitor in this prdigree was Thomas Johns of Cumberland Co. VA, and the key documentation was the will of Alexander Trent II. The work started by saying that Rial Johns was the son of Henry Johns, son of Thomas Johns who lived on land belonging to Alexander Trent in his 1750 Cumberland Co, VA will.   There was no mention of the other features of the Trent will and I was greatly surprised when I obtained a copy of the will, from Cumberland Co. Clerk and found the references to William Johns and Robert Johns as well.   If it had not been for this happenstance, I doubt if I would ever have found that will.

Later I contacted Newton and found him to be quite elderly, he'd be about 92 now, if still with us. He was quite alert, however, but couldn't seem to remember much about where he found this information. He was currently married to his second Johns wife, but wouldn't or didn't care to give me details on them. Ever since then Joe and I have been trying to locate his Henry Johns.

I found a Henry living in Pendleton SC in both the 1810 and 1820 censuses. This was near where my 3gg grand father Jesse Johns lived in 1810 Newberry and 1820 Union Cos. and since they would presumably be brothers, I did some research on him. I found that in 1810 his family and the John Slaton family lived near each other in Pendleton. This seemed to be a clincher, because Rial Johns m. Martha Alice Slaton and her parents were reported to be John Slaton and wife, he had at least two. Henry of Pendleton disappeared after the 1820 Pendleton census as did my 2gg grand father Thomas Lemuel Johns from the 1820 Union SC census where, he appeared on the next line above Jesse. My assumption was that Uncle Henry and Nephew Thomas had cut out for Hawkins Co, TN together about 1821-22 just after Jesse died. (we have no proof of Jesse's dod) I do know that Thomas L Johns (he never used the middle initial until later in life) lived in TN from about 1823, when his second son William Jefferson Johns was born, until about 1827-8 when his second dau. Harriet was b. He then moved to Campbell Co. GA where we have him completely documented thereafter. Thomas' first child James M. Johns was b. Union SC abt 1821. Also we don't know where Thomas lived in TN. It is also interesting to note that the Trent family moved to the Sneedville area of Hancock CO TN, where there is a Trent Valley and a number of other Trent place names. Later the Trents and Johns families intermarried to some extent.

I thought we had Henry Johns of 1830 census Grainger, TN pegged as our Henry and I believe Newton and Joe also agreed at that time. Subsequently Martha Ann Fech has laid a pretty well documented claim to Henry of Grainger, and we are again fruitlessly looking for our Henry. That's about it for now.


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