Attorney Hale Johnson (21 August 1847–4 November 1902), was an American politician. He was born in Montgomery County, Indiana and was the son of John B. Johnson. According to historian Nathaniel Haynes, "Mr. Johnson's father, Dr. John B. Johnson, served as assistant surgeon during the Civil War. His grandfather was a Baptist minister who was a chaplain in the War of 1812. At the age of seventeen he enlisted in Company D, 135th Indiana Infantry. He, with his father's family, came to Illinois in 1865."
Johnson was a lawyer and became mayor of Newton, Illinois. Johnson left the Republican Party because it did not support an amendment to the United States Constitution mandating national prohibition of alcohol. He then became "one of the most effective, prominent and influential" prohibitionists in the country, according to one biographer. In 1896, he was the Prohibition Party candidate for governor of Illinois. Later that year, he became the party's candidate for vice-president and campaigned in over 30 states.
Johnson was shot to death by a farmer, Harry Harris of Bogota, Illinois, in Newton, in Jasper County, Illinois, while trying to collect a debt that Harris had refused to pay even after being ordered to by a court. Johnson was with a local sheriff when he was shot in the face by a shotgun and killed instantly; Harris was grabbed by the sheriff, but not before he swallowed a fatal dose of poison. Harris died from the poison hours later. Johnson is interred in the Riverside City Cemetery in Newton, Illinois.
Haynes, Nathaniel S., "History of the Disciples of Christ in Illinois, 1819-1914" (Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company, 1915), 544-45.
“Hale Johnson is Shot to Death. Slayer of Prohibition Leader Ends Life with Poison When Caught," The Chicago Tribune, 5 November 1902, 6.
"Funeral of Hale Johnson. Prohibition Leader Who Was Killed in Newton Will Be Buried There This Afternoon," The Chicago Tribune, 6 November 1902, 16.