General Joseph Martin Chapter

Cumberland Gap, TN


Cumberland Gap Patriot

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson was born on July 17, 1745 in Orange county Va. In 1770, Johnson married Jemima Suggert. From this union they would have 11 children. While living in Orange county VA in 1778, Johnson heard of an expedition that George Rogers Clark was forming to go fight the British in the Illinois country.

 In May 1778, George Rogers Clark informed Governor Patrick Henry of British troop movements in the Northwest Territory. On June 24, 1778, Johnson joined a group of 175 long hunters in the Illinois Regiment of the VA militia.

 On July 4, 1778, Johnson arrived at Fort Kaskaskia. Kaskaskia was soon taken without firing a shot.  The bell in Kaskaskia was ringed in jubilation and in honor of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4 1776, two years earlier. This bell was nicknamed the Liberty Bell of the West.

 In February 1779, Johnson joined Clark on the 18 day Impossible March to Vincennes. On February 23, 1779, Vincennes was taken without firing a shot.

 On May 26, 1780, Johnson was with Clark in Cahokia as the defended the city against 300 Plain Indians and a small British company.  Clark and his frontiersman along with Johnson soon easily defeated the Indians.

 In 1780, Johnson took his family through Cumberland Gap to Boonesboro. In 1782, Johnson moved to Bryants Station in Harrodsburg KY. On August 15, 1782, 200 Shawnee Indians and Butlers Rangers, a British regiment made up of Tory Frontiersmen. Butler’s Rangers was considered by most military historians to be the most active and successful British Provincial Corps in North America Three cabins were burned and hundreds of Livestock were butchered by the Indians.

 The most inspirational story to come out of the attack was several women sneaked out of the fort to get water for the other inhabitants and to keep the fort from being burned to the ground. This brave act saved Bryants Station.

 On August 16, 1782, Johnson would participate in the battle of Blue Licks, the last Revolutionary war battle fought in KY.

In 1810, Johnson would move to Gallatin KY where he would die on February 23, 1814.

Of His sons the prominent was Richard Johnson. Richard would become the ninth Vice President under President Martin Van Buren, He was the only Vice President ever chosen by the U.S Senate. While Vice President he supported the second Seminole war (1835-1842), and voted against Texas Annexation

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