None of the names in these replies ring any bells. However, I've acquired a bit more information which may be of use.
Since posting my initial message here, I've learned that Oliver Campbell Johnston came from Caswell County, North Carolina, where he lived from 1785-1819. From there he went to Rutherford County, TN; a year later he was in Wilson County, and by 1830 he was in Jackson County, TN for the rest of his life, d. 1881.
There was a large cluster of Johnstons living on South Hico Creek, along the Caswell/Person County line from roughly 177? to 18??. They're almost certainly all related, appearing in Caswell at the same time, living on adjacent farms, witnessing each others legal transactions, etc. Based on some family lore, I believe that they came to NC directly from Ireland shortly before the Revolutionary War.
According to records made by Oliver Campbell Johnston's daughter, Oliver's parents were named James Johnston and Jane [unknown]. Oliver's siblings were: Samuel, James, John, William, Polly (m. Wm Eddings), Margaret Canada (m. Tilman Stubblefield), Sarah Paralee (m. Henry Tomlinson), Rebecca, Abner, and Robert. James Jr. and John are supposed to be the ones who went to KY and TN, as the three married sisters are definitely known to have done (all to TN). Family lore has it that either James or John (no one can say which) settled "near Chattanooga."
James Johnston Sr., Oliver's father, probably came to NC with brothers and sisters, including a brother named Samuel. As it happens, the Johnstons living in Caswell County, NC, of the same generation as James Sr., have the same names as James's children: Samuel, John, William.
I know little else about these Johnstons, but I know that by 1820 quite a number of them, and their neighbors, had moved on to KY, TN, and all over the Old Southwest. Their neighbors, with whom they intermarried, included the Van Hooks, Leas, Haralsons, Golds, Eskridges, Eddings, Fullers, and Bradshers.
I'd be very interested in corresponding with anyone whose Johnston ancestors trace back to some of those names, and to Caswell and Person Counties, NC. Would love to sort out this tangle of Johnstons.
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