Location: Longnor, Staffordshire, England
The Johnson family historical background is set in the County of Stafford: eighteenth century parish of Alstonefield.
Edmund Johnson was the fourth of nine children born to Samuel Johnson and Ann Edge of Ludburn Farm in the Peak District of Staffordshire. A house was at Ludburn by the early sixteenth century, on the road which crossed into Sheen over the River Manifold.
Although Edmund and two of his brothers emigrated, a younger brother Ralph farmed at ‘Ludburn Farm’, taking it into the next generation. Longnor dates beyond the Norman Conquest, and the village is believed to have been burned during the reign of William II as a punishment for poaching of deer. By William II's era the Royal Forest of the High Peaks was in the hands of the second William Peverel.
The eighteenth century St Bartholomew's Church, in which the Johnsons were baptised, was founded in 1223, and in the late 1700s Longnor was a thriving market town. The population of Longnor was four hundred and sixty people in 1821. A little about the ancient parish of Alstonefield and its seven townships, of which Longnor is one, is found in ‘British History Online: A History of the County of Stafford’. Alstonefield parish was part of the Harpur Crewe Estate. In the 1630s the parish was generally smallholdings of less than 50 acres, mainly pasture. There was also rough grazing on a large area of moorland waste, with Longnor having twice as much farmland as waste. Cottagers had settled and improved the waste at their own expense, and in the later eighteenth century paid only small rents or nothing at all. In about 1806 Sir Henry Harpur was advised not to increase rents as the cottagers would need to improve further waste which would result in a district without any natural features. The Harpurs rarely visited Alstonefield until 1819 when Sir George Crewe, at the age of 24 years, succeeded his father. He was an Evangelical with a strong sense of social responsibility, and first visited his Alstonefield estate in 1819 or 1820. Later he remarked that he was probably the first head of his family to visit for any purpose except for shooting grouse. Crewe described the tenants as '100 years behind the rest of the world, well-disposed but ignorant and simple-minded'. 
Our great great grandfather Edmund Johnson, believed in the family to be the son of yeomen farmers rather than tenants, but probably still one hundred years behind the rest of the world, followed his Uncle Joseph to Van Diemens Land in an attempt, which would fail due to Arthur’s landowning policies for Van Diemens Land, to catch up.