Family History and Heritage
The Johnson and Barnes Family Reunion began in the year 1972. Reverend Monroe Johnson, his wife and family of nine children, had a family get together in Cleveland, Ohio. In this gathering, he was inspired to have it on a much broader level by inviting his other sisters and brothers and family relatives. There had been other family reunions in Fairfax by his brother L.Z., but also on a local level. The Johnson and Barnes family got its real start on a national level in the year 1973 in Louisville, Kentucky. Since then, it has grown in leaps and bounds.
It was the year 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia that I saw this name Johnson and Barnes Family Reunion, on the building where they entertained us for lunch. The two groups are the sons and daughters of one man, Elbert Johnson. The two groups are mothered by two women, Millie B. and Mattie. The Johnsons used their father's name, while the Barnes used their mother's name. They are all Johnsons and one big happy family!
The Family Tree is as follows:
The oldest known member of our union was Maria and Henry (Dick) Robinson, so I have named this the Henry and Maria Family Tree. They were slaves and natives of a small stop on the Central of Georgia Railroad about twelve miles north of Opelika and about three miles west of Cusseta, Alabama. This place was, and still is, known as the Dan Way, named after the old man that owned this entire section of land, thousands of acres. He was one of the largest slave masters in Chambers County. He was named Dan and the roads that went thru his plantation were called by the Way of Dan. So they named the railroad stop and community Dan Way. This parcel of land is located in the southwest corner of Chambers County. It extended into the bordering counties of Lee and Tallapossa. From this plantation came our oldest relatives. They were slaves owned by slave master Dan Roberson. Henry and Maria's family consisted of five children that I have records of Maria mothered these five and their names are as follows: Wash Robinson, Roda Robinson, Laura Robinson, Martha and John Robinson. The oldest two, Wash and Roda, were by her first marriage. The other three where by her second marriage, Henry Robinson, but the two husbands were half-brothers. They sold her first husband to a slave owner in Gabbattsville, Georgia by the name of Tatum. Henry Robinson not only fathered children by his wife ,Maria, but as I understand it, he fathered children by other women as well. This was a common practice in slave times. So there were about four or five different families from these two men.
The mentioned names of relatives were the ones I knew more about than others. The Tatums were my grandmothers' half-brothers and sisters. There was another group that they told me about after I was an adult. This was the Aaron Sledge Group. They were first cousins and half-sisters and brothers of the Robin-sons. There are other relations that I would like to mention who are connected with Henry and Maria's family tree. There is one known brother of Henry Robinson, and his name was Lewis Robinson. This set of Robinsons has a large family reunion in Opelika each year. I have met many of them. There was another brother by the name of Elbert. I don't know his relatives.
Another event that I must mention, which was told to me by the white Roberson, is that in slavery, they were all Roberson, but after freedom, many of the slaves changed their names to Robinson. There were some remaining Robersons. At one of the Lewis Robinson Family Reunions, I was told that some of our relatives went by the name of Roberts. So I have the record where there are Roberson, Robinson, and Roberts, yet they are all the same family.
They were mostly tall, stocky, long leg, long arms, short-waisted, medium brown to light black, good hair, smart, industrious and talented. Most of the men were carpenters and brick masons. The women were good cooks, sociable, big entertainers, and loved their relatives. There were always a few with good education. There was one relative born the third year after freedom. He was born a genius. He was called Lemon but his name was Lenon Owens Robinson. He had a face of a white man but the color of an African. His knowledge was superior to the average educator of his day. The Robinsons were good favorable people, but if stirred up, they were mean as snakes.
Another heritage that I almost left out is the most important. There has always been a minister of the Gospel in the family. There is no need to mention that many fields of professions the family is and for a part of. It all goes back to the Maria and Henry Robinson heritage.