William Richard Johnson
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Born in Rock Island, Illinois, Johnson moved with his parents to Freeport, Illinois, in 1879. He attended the public schools and the College of Commerce at Freeport. He served from 1890 to 1894 as an apprentice and from 1894 to 1899 as a locomotive blacksmith in the Illinois Central Railroad shops at Freeport. He served as member of the United States Capitol Police 1901-1919. He was appointed superintendent of the folding room of the House of Representatives on June 18, 1919, and served until March 3, 1925, when he resigned.
Johnson was elected as a Republican to the Sixty-ninth and to the three succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1925-March 3, 1933). He was an unsuccessful candidate for renomination in 1932. Local historians have posited that his bid for re-election was spoiled by a derisive smear campaign mocking him as "Willie Dick Johnson". He returned to Freeport, Illinois, where he died of congestive heart failure on January 2, 1938. At the time of his death, Willie Dick was the heaviest person to serve a term in the US House of Representatives, weighing in at 570 pounds. He was interred in Oakland Cemetery.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
He was also known by the nickname: "Willy Dick Johnson"