According to Bascom Lamar Lunsford "The Johnson Boys" is derived from the old ballad "Go Way, Go Way." Similar text is in Belden, "Bedroom Window" and both are part of the "Awake Awake" or Drowsy Sleeper" family of songs.
Lunsford subtitles his version "Awake O Wake". Most of this info is from memory- haha. I just stumbled on this thread looking for something else.