It is interesting to see how “facts” sometimes arise if a fabrication is repeated often enough. The Elizabeth Whittington described below is described in many genealogies as the only daughter of the William Whittington b. 1650 and his 5th wife, also named Elizabeth. (Our Freeney linbe descendants are the children of William Whittington b. 1650’s, second marriage to Esther Littleton)
The points and comments below kindly emailed to me by Jacque-Lynne Schulman, convincingly dispute there was a marriage between Sir Thomas Johnson and Elizabeth Whittington or that this Elizabeth even existed.
1. I have visited the Public Record Office in Liverpool. Sir Thomas had a wife in England during the time he would have been married to Eliz. Whittington. I found a record of the marriage and the death of said English wife in the St Nicholas Parish rolls. That church was burned totally during the Blitz as it was very near the shipyards and docks. The rolls had been copied in the 1930s and deposited the the PRO.
2. During the time Sir Thomas would have been in Virginia, he regularly appears in London for Parliament and also is regularly quoted in Norris’s rentals in various business affairs taking place in Liverpool.
3. The “proof” that Sir Thomas was in the colonies flows from two deeds that name him that are in the Maryland Archives. These mention him and are filed by his export agents/attorneys. He does not appear himself.
4. There are too many Elizabeth Whittingtons. The child of the 5th wife is nowhere mentioned in Wm Whittington’s will or in land records.
While the absence of a child named in will or deed is not probative, items 1 and 2 are proof that Sir Thomas was not in the colonies at the time Whittington Johnson senior was fathered. The only opening would be proof that Elizabeth Whittington was in England in the early 1700s but that begs the fact that Sir Thomas has a English wife during thet time period before and after conception.
The title Collector of Taxes on the Rappahannock is described in English sources as an honorary title, those holding such titles did not themselves in person manage the collections so he would not have actually lived in Virginia for that purpose.
I have spent quite some time on Sir Thomas. My grandmother (1884-1966) was convinced of the connection and it meant a lot to her and to others in the family. As Grammie lived with us, I heard a lot about Sir Thomas. We even had a Manx cat named Sir Thomas – you may know the Isle of Mann is in the Irish Sea near Liverpool. I have reams of information on Sir Thomas and visited the Town Hall in Liverpool, the street that bears his names, etc. etc. etc.
Alas, the weight of facts strongly suggest there is no tie between Sir Thomas Johnson, Knight and the colonial Johnson Family of Northampton-Dorchester.
I would like to find why a child was named WHittington Johnson. There likely was some connection – perhaps the Johnsons were friends or neighbors – I hope someday to find why Whittington became a family name but for now, I have to conclude, my Johnsons are not blood kin the the Whittington Family.
By the way, we figured out that we are 8th cousins 1 time removed – our common ancestors being Michael Todd and Margaret Insley.