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Richard Henry McAuley

JOHNSON, ALVEY R. (1803–1862). Alvey R. Johnson, lawman, Texas Ranger, legislator, attorney, and farmer, was born on December 22, 1803, in North Carolina. In his youth his family moved into Lincoln County, Tennessee, from where in 1826 he moved to Clark County, Arkansas Territory, where he served as deputy sheriff for three years before moving to Texas in September 1830. In March 1829 he married Rachel Denicy Lockert (born in 1808), daughter of James and Ellenor Lockert of Saline County, Arkansas. They had three sons and a daughter. By 1832 the Johnsons settled north of the Sabine River in David G. Burnet’s colony.

In August 1838 Alvey Johnson served in Capt. George English’s company of Mounted Volunteers (Texas Rangers) in Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Rusk’s expedition that ended the Córdova Rebellion in East Texas. The following month Johnson was, together with John M. Hansford and Emory Rains, elected from Shelby County to the Third Congress of the Republic of Texas. While in Congress, Johnson, who served in the House of Representatives, served on various committees, including the special committee on “Contingent Expenses” for the defense of the northeastern frontier, and on the “Post Offices and Postal Roads” and “County Boundaries” committees. He voted to establish Austin as the new capitol; to investigate fraudulent land claims; to establish the laws regulating the license and practice of attorneys; to establish the Texas General Land Office; for a national flag and seal of the Republic; and he introduced legislation establishing the county and districts courts. With the creation of the new county of Harrison, Johnson not only voted in its favor, he later sold his league of land located there in June 1839 to Mathew Talbot, later chief justice of Matagorda County.

As early as 1835 Johnson began acquiring land farther south, chiefly in the vicinity of the waters of Chicken Bayou, a tributary of the north fork of the Flat Fork of Tenaha Creek, where in 1838 he established a new plantation in Shelby County that within a decade more than doubled in size. For the next twenty years, Johnson devoted his time to farming and erected and operated a cotton gin. In 1856 he became one of the commissioners for the Henderson and Logansport Railroad Company, and by 1860 he was the third wealthiest citizen of Shelby County. Between 1837 and 1862 Johnson practiced law; he specialized in probate administration and served as ‘de bonis non’ administrator on the estates of numerous residents in both Shelby and Panola counties, including such veterans of the Texas Revolution as former Shelby County sheriff and county tax assessor John M. Bradley, for whom Johnson further served as guardian of Bradley’s children.

Alvey’s eldest and youngest sons, James Lockert Johnson (1829–1862) and Alvey R. Johnson, Jr. (1842–1862), gave their lives in service to the state of Texas during the Civil War. They served with their middle brother Benjamin Milam Johnson (1838–1915) together with their two brothers-in-law Jacob Smith (1833–1882) and Robert William Burns (1843–1900) in Capt. Daniel Short’s Company of the Third Texas Cavalry from Shelby County.

Following tragic news of the death of his youngest son and namesake at Chesterville, Mississippi, the elder Johnson passed away on August 30, 1862, at the age of fifty-eight. Johnson was buried on his plantation in Shelby County in a private family cemetery. In 1884, twenty-two years after his death, his widow Rachel was laid to rest beside him establishing that place as the family cemetery for subsequent generations.


Circuit Court Records 1819–1878, Clark County Historical Association Archives, Ouachita Baptist University Library Special Collections, Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898). Stephen L. Moore, Savage Frontier, Volume II, 1838–1939: Rangers, Riflemen, and Indian Wars in Texas (Denton: University of North Texas Press, 2006). Bennie Edgar Nix, comp., Compiled List of Confederate Soldiers of Shelby County, Texas (Center: The Offset Press, 1965). J. B. Sanders, Our Dead: Index to the Cemeteries of Shelby County, Texas, 1836-1964 (Center, Texas: J. B. Sanders, 1966). Shelby County Historical Commission, History of Shelby County, Texas (Dallas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1988). Telegraph and Texas Register (Houston), November 14, 17, 1838; December 29, 1838; January 2, 5, 9, 26, 1839. Texas House of Representatives, Biographical Directory of the Texan Conventions and Congresses, 1832–1845 (Austin: Book Exchange, 1941). Upshur County Deed of Records, Upshur County Clerk’s Office, Gilmer, Texas. Gifford E. White, ed., The 1840 Census of the Republic of Texas (Austin: Pemberton, 1966; 2d ed., Vol. 2 of 1840 Citizens of Texas, Austin, 1984).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Richard Henry McAuley, "JOHNSON, ALVEY R. ," accessed April 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fjozm.

Uploaded on November 21, 2012. Modified on November 27, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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