Jacob Johnson (ca. 1778-1812) was married to Mary McDonough and had three children, William Patterson Johnson (1804–1865), Elizabeth Johnson (1806– unknown) and Andrew Johnson (December 29, 1808–July 31, 1875).
The youngest was also known as Andy, the future Vice-President of Abraham Lincoln and President (1865–1869) after Lincoln's assassination.
The chronology leading to Jacob Johnson's death is not totally clear, but it appears that his health never recovered after he jumped into the icy waters of Walnut Creek to save the lives of Colonel Thomas Henderson and a Mr. Callum, a Scottish merchant. They were all on a fishing skiff or canoe that had capsized. Jacob later collapsed while ringing the funeral bell at the State Capitol Building in Raleigh North Carolina.
As described below, among his many duties, Jacob Johnson was Raleigh’s bell-ringer, worked at Raleigh's popular Casso Tavern, was church sexton, a janitor at the bank, captain of the local muster company and was known for "his talent for whole-pig roasting."
The details above are taken from Kate Pattison's excellent article, Andrew Johnson’s Father, a Hero in His Own Right, which describes him more fully as follows:
Jacob Johnson's obituary, in the Raleigh Star newspaper of January 10, 1812, was written by its editor, Thomas Henderson, one of the man he had saved. It read as follows:
Died, in this city, on Saturday last, Jacob Johnson, who had for years occupied a humble but useful station in Society. He was a city constable, sexton, and porter of the State Bank. In his last illness he was visited by the principal inhabitants of the city, by all whom he was esteemed for his honesty, industry, and humane and friendly disposition. Among all whom he was known and esteemed none lament him more (except, perhaps, his relatives) than the publisher of this paper; for he owes his life, on a particular occasion, to the boldness and humanity of Johnson.