Evidence has been found that the Corleys settled in the area [New Kent] which would become Hanover County, Virginia, very early in the history of the colony. There are two theories for the descent of AUSTIN CORLEY-2. The author is not entirely sure which of the two theories is most likely to be correct, so both will be presented here. Due to the destruction of many of Virginia’s early records, there are some gaps left in both lines of descent which may never be filled in. Scenario I is entirely the author’s research, and Scenario II is a mixture of the research of the author and of others. Any additions or corrections to this information are welcomed by the author and other researchers.
Since ELIZABETH and AUSTIN JOHNSON-3 named their son “RICHARD EDMUND,” we may only assume that he was named for ELIZABETH’s brother as well as his grandfather, RICHARD JOHNSON-2. Several of ELIZABETH’s siblings also named sons Edmund. Nathan Corley, the apparent relative [nephew or brother] of AUSTIN, named a son Edmund. There are enough Edward/Edmunds floating around in this family to form a definite pattern. RICHARD EDMUND JOHNSON was called “Dick.”
AUSTIN CORLEY-3 died July 26, 1841, in Wilson County, Tennessee, and his will is recorded there. Of his twelve children, eight pre-deceased him, including ELIZABETH, Edmund B., Polly, Louisa, John, Frances, Sally, and Jane. His last wife, Milly, survived his death. She received a substantial cash bequest and a horse and saddle in the will. AUSTIN CORLEY was quite elderly at the time of his death, being 83 years old. His brother, William, lived to be over 100 years old, though. At the time of his death at over 100 years of age, William Corley was apparently still mentally alert enough to write his own will.
The DAR traces a service line back to AUSTIN. We don’t think that any of the children belonged to Milly. AUSTIN would have been about 60 or more years old when he married Milly about 1823, so most of his children would have been grown at the time he married her. We don’t have any indication that he had a “second family” by a young wife toward the end of his life.
Our ancestors usually wrote their wills near the ends of their lives, usually writing them when they were old and sick, or about to embark on a journey, or anticipating going to war. In AUSTIN’s will, he apparently named all of his surviving children, and the heirs of all except Edmund, who had no children. [Will of Austin Corley, Wilson Co., TN.]
Before or after the testator’s death, a will was
usually recorded at the courthouse and copied into the county will
book. At the death of the testator, the will would be probated. Men
usually made final disposition of the family’s possessions in their
wills. Married women usually received a dower, or portion of the
husband’s estate, unless there was a prenuptial agreement and she
relinquished her dower. Some men would also give a life estate in
their property to the widow. Sometimes children were omitted from a
will because they had already been given a portion of the estate
before the testator died.
children of Austin Johnson-3 by
his first wife, Anne Elizabeth Corley
Martha Jane Johnson-4 was born July 6, 1821, died 1905.
RICHARD EDMUND JOHNSON-4 was born in 1823, died 1862.
Mary Frances Johnson-4 was born between 1823 and 1825.
The marriage of AUSTIN JOHNSON-3 and ELIZABETH CORLEY-3 was a short-lived one. She may have been about 15 years old when they married, and was deceased by 1829, leaving behind three young children. Other than this little information about ELIZABETH, we know almost nothing about her. We do know a little more about her family, however.
Apparently, ANN ELIZABETH CORLEY JOHNSON died about the first part of 1829, and AUSTIN-3 remarried on September 30, 1829, to Barrodill B. White, who was the “wife” on the 1830 census. AUSTIN’s brother was the bondsman for the marriage. [Marriage Bonds of Sumner County.]
They had three more children, born between 1830 and 1939. [Marriage Bonds of Sumner County, Tennessee, and 1830 US Census of Sumner County, Tennessee.] [Names of the Children are from the estate of Austin Johnson-3 in Sumner County, Tennessee, Deed Records of Sumner, and oral history of Erick Montgomery.] In 1830, the census showed that AUSTIN owned one male slave aged 14 to 26 years old.