Thanks for the information.I am not sure why I never recieved a notification that you had responded. Sorry I am just now checking for responses.
I actually live in SC but haven't had a chance to get to Pickens or Oconnee county genealogy societies. I have researched the state archives in Columbia and I have been to Rabun county genealogy society. I had no luck on death records or wills between 1870-1880 in either place. In Rabun county I found NO records of any of the family members (wife, kids, etc.) in anything they had. However during that time frame Moccasin was an extremely rural area much like it is today. Many pastors, etc didn't get back to "file" the paperwork, records or licenses after funerals, marriages, etc. I have emailed several times to the genealogy places in those areas of SC but haven't gotten any response. I do plan to go some day but it may be summer time since I have 1 child still in school and a toddler to make arrangements for.
I was hoping someone who is also researching the family would have some answers or more information than I have already. Riley isn't found in records prior to 1850. Although I have a few records saved that I suspect could be correct for him I am not 100% sure so haven't connected them. I have not found much on most of his children, the girls in particular are a dead end and some of the boys. Also, I have no clear cut surname for Nancy. It appears that she could have been a Hedden (daughter of Garrett Hedden) although I have found 1 record that contradicted that. The 1850 census shows Nancy as being married to Riley with 2 children and at the same time the daughter of Garrett Hedden that was named Nancy is listed in his home. By 1880 Riley isn't listed with the family and Nancy with a few of the children are living in the same area as the Hedden's. In addition to that, some of the names found in the Hedden's are found in the Johnson's (Nancy's grandchildren, etc). I highly doubt Garrett Hedden had 2 girls named Nancy that were ALIVE. I have seen a few instances where people have done that but most of the time it would have been an older sibling who passed and the next child of the same sex would be named the same. The other instances I have seen like that were in 1/2 siblings after a divorce or second marriage but not commonly where they both had the same last name and/or were both alive.
Hopefully someone will see this post at some time and be able to shed some light on anyone in the family. Ara or Aris was listed several ways throughout the census records so I am not sure what the correct spelling of her name was. ( Thankfully they government has gotten a little better at asking us to spell our names.) She is a dead end after 1880 and the same with Nancy A., William Jasper, and Emma Lisa. I have looked through the entire census record for each town of Madison, Charlie and James looking for females with the same first names to use as a clue but the ones I have found do not appear to have been a Johnson prior to marriage. I have done the 23andme DNA test and have my DNA uploaded to GEDMATCH as well in hopes that I can answers. I do plan to take the ancestry DNA in the future AFTER I have my aunt from that side of the family do hers (she has cancer so it's imperative).
If anyone else has any clues or information they could share it would be greatly appreciated. I have more ideas on possibilities on why I can't find them prior to 1850 as well. I am willing to collaborate with others researching the family to get these answers. I am also willing to pay for copies of pictures and/or records anyone has on this Johnson line. I have none and haven't had much luck on locating others who do. My grandmother is deceased and she didn't have many pictures before her death. Those haven't been located since that time. My gedmatch number is M838508 if anyone would like to compare DNA.
I hope to hear from others soon. Thanks in advance!