Mattie Ruth Johnson

August 27, 1940August 13, 2014

At the age of 73 Mattie Ruth Johnson’s Holy Spirit left her earthly body and entered her Heavenly home on Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at Holston Valley Medical Center. She was a local author and painter. Her book, “My Melungeon Heritage” was written and sold copies all over the United States. She was born in Hancock County, Sneedville, TN on August 27, 1940 and lived on Newman’s Ridge in an area called Prospect Ridge. She had a twin sister, but was born 10 minutes before her sister, Goldean. God had an apple in His eye and He took her home before she had got sicker. She was only able to take so much before she was called home. Ruth had a heart for everyone and she gave to anyone who needed anything. She was a Christian and was Baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. In “My Melungeon Heritage” she tells what it was like to grow up and live in a place and time when life was much different than it is at the end of the twentieth century. A descendant of several of the first known settlers in Hancock County, she had spent a lot of time through the years reading the history of early settlements and colonization of the United States. Her ancestors include many Melungeons, and she had done much research on her family lines. Interested in the Melungeon history for years, she had corresponded with numerous writers dealing with genealogy and people searching their family trees. Ruth who had lived in Kingsport, was a nurse. She was also an artist who enjoyed working in oils and watercolors. A special thanks to Brent Kennedy for his help and inspiration. To each of the doctors and nurses who had the pleasure of working with her, she thanks you. She also would like to thank Dr. Springer, Dr. and Mrs. Hemoke, Dr. Michigan, Dr. London, Dr. Jack Whitt and the many more. Preceding her to Heaven were her father and mother, Henry and Opal Johnson; brothers, Henry, Jr., Elmer, Gale and Rex; her sister, Phyllis Smith; nephew, Russell Gilliam; and niece Rebecca Gilliam. Surviving is her twin sister, Goldean White; sisters, Nellie Lynch of Florence, SC and Ivagene Gilliam and many nieces and nephews who she loved very much. A private graveside service will be held in the Garden of the Mausoleum at East Lawn Memorial Park with Pastor Mildred Osborne officiating. Online condolences may be sent to the family East Lawn Funeral Home & Memorial Park has the honor of serving the family of Ms. Mattie Ruth Johnson.


  • Private Graveside Services

Mattie Ruth Johnson

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Briana Johnson

June 6, 2018

Mattie was my great aunt, she was the most amazing person I have ever meet. She was my go to person... Everytime I think of her I cry because I miss her so much. She was so giving and loving, and I don't think I could have made it through life without her, I always have and always will look up to her, she helped my family so much in the time of need, I feel like I owe her my life because she helped make who I am today... I love and miss her very much. Words can't even begin to describe what she truly meant to me. I got my middle name from her... And I'll make sure to pass that on.
Love always Briana Ruth Johnson

Betty Fitzgerald-Griffith

September 9, 2015

It was a privilege to meet you Mattie Ruth. I will treasure your book always. Rest in peace.

August 22, 2014

I grew up with and went to elementary school with Mattie Ruth on Prospect. She was a very dear lady and was a friend to everyone that she met. We will miss her.

Lois Seal, (Sneedville, TN)

Cliff & Jeanie White

August 19, 2014

We met Ruth when she was Dr. Whitt's nurse.You could call her anytime with health questions , she always took her time helping you and was very compassionate.We always thought of Ruth , Joanne & Dr. Whitt as our friends.We saw her recently at her Dr.'s office. I knew then that she had declining health.We loved her & she will be greatly missed.

Katie Ashworth

August 19, 2014

I am so sorry to read of Ruth's passing. I met her when she worked with Dr. and Mrs. Whitt. Those three made up a fantastic team and were always accessible to their patients, and I miss them all.

Diana Hurley

August 18, 2014

Sweet Ruthie,
We will miss you so much but we know that you were so tired. I know that you are rejoicing in Heaven with your Dad, Mom, and brothers . You were the kindest and most giving person that I ever met and I so enjoyed knowing you and working with you for over thirty years. Fly high,sweet Ruthie!

August 18, 2014

I am so sorry to hear of Mattie Ruth's passing. Ruth was a Christian all of her life and loved singing and worshiping God. I have several of her paintings and her book. Being first cousins, we grew up together and visited over the years but not so much in recent years. I loved her and love her family very much. My heart goes out to Goldean, Ivagene and Nellie. May God give you peace knowing that she is in good hands and having a big reunion with family members gone before her. Love to you all.
Paula Morris

Elaine Hatch

August 17, 2014

Mattie Ruth was a huge help when I started searching my Johnson line. We both hit a dead end when trying to find Jake Bob's father. It was a pleasure to call her cuz
Elaine Hatch-granddaughter of Melvin and Julia Johnson

Betty Griffith

August 17, 2014

So sorry to hear of the passing of Mattie Ruth. She was a very nice lady and It was an honor to meet her.

merita Raleigh

August 17, 2014

As we will all miss you here on this earth, I know you are now at peace and rejoicing with our heavenly. Father. You will remain in our hearts & will think of you often. Your cousin merita & family.??