California Calaway

Leon Johnson
California Calaway was born in Sugarhill,Gwinnett Co. Georgia on 2 Jan. 1858, she was the 7th child of 11 children,her dad was William Anderson Calaway,her mother Mary Garrett Sexton.
Little did california know,her big happy life would be changing when she was just 4 years old. You see ,it was the start of the civil war in Georgia,and everyone was happy to be fighting against the North.California's parents were true southerns, her parent were owners of over 90 slaves on her grandfathers Estate. The plantation was powerful in those days,cotton was at high dollar,life as they new it was grand.
California grew up not wanting much in life,they lived well in those days. Her father enlisted in the Confederate Army and left them to be on there own.George ,her brother was born in 1863 during the civil war an james was born after the civil war in 1868,Im sure mary had done her best while William was away,but Georgia area was hit hard during the Civil war,they were just 15 miles from Atlanta, Ga.,many plantation were lost,and her grandfather John Calaway had lost his plantation as many other plantation owners had. In the 1870 census william not listed with the family in Gwinnett Co, Ga. one would think he lost his life in the civil war,But now remember james was listed as being born in 1868.
William had taken off to who knows where,anyway he was never heard from again. The family stayed around the area,California married William Thomas Johnson 25 Aug 1878 in Gwinnett Co. Ga.William got a job working for Bona allen at a leather factory in the area.After that they moved around,Alabama,then back to Georgia, and than they headed up to Tennessee,borrowed a covered wagon and headed up north,it was the 1900's and jobs were good in Tennessee.
William was a saddle maker and the family did well for the times,California worked as a house keeper,one of her sons Arthur Wm. Johnson had left to Missouri,my grandfather started up his own shoe shop in St. Joseph ,Mo.
In 1936 Arthur got a telegram from his brother Washington Bigger Johnson saying California had died,8 Dec 1836, arthur couldnt go do to his own health,so he sent my father Charles Thomas Johnson,my dad brought back flowers from her gravesite ,California didnt live in the way she was use too.,she wasnt poor,but her life started off grand for her times,but she had been living with her son claude when her life ended, I had read letters about them and my dads stories,I was told that California had hair down to her knees,but I'm sure they had it put up,I wish I could of met her,Her Great Grandson, Leon L. Johnson
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Randi Johnson Leon Johnson passed away in September of 2004, if you wish to contact a member of the family, please contact Randi one of 5 surviving children- [contact link]
Dec 12, 2005 · Reply

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