James Johnson (Georgia)
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|43rd Governor of Georgia|
June 17, 1865 – December 14, 1865
|Preceded by||Joseph E. Brown|
|Succeeded by||Charles J. Jenkins|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Georgia's 2nd district
March 4, 1851 – March 3, 1853
|Preceded by||Marshall J. Wellborn|
|Succeeded by||Alfred H. Colquitt|
|Born||February 12, 1811
Robeson County, North Carolina
|Died||November 20, 1891 (aged 80)
Chattahoochee County, Georgia
|Resting place||Linwood Cemetery, Columbus, Georgia|
|Alma mater||University of Georgia|
Johnson was born in 1811 in Robeson County, North Carolina to Peter and Nancy McNeill Johnson, whose parents had come from Scotland. The Johnsons moved from North Carolina to Henry County, Georgia, the newly created county by the Georgia General Assembly's Land Lottery Act of 1821 from previously Indian-held territory between the Ocmulgee and Flint rivers. He graduated from Franklin College (the predecessor of the University of Georgia) in 1832 with his classmates Alexander H. Stephens, Crawford W. Long, and William H. Crawford. He married Ann Harris of Jones County on June 12, 1834. They moved to Columbus, Georgia where he started his law practice after passing the bar in 1835. In 1845, Johnson and a fellow member of the Columbus bar, Henry L. Benning (namesake of Ft. Benning) memorialized General Andrew Jackson.
In 1851, Johnson was elected to the United States House of Representatives as a Unionist. Some historians labeled him a Whig, but in the later 1850s he was a member of the American, or Know-Nothing, party. He was defeated in his re-election bid by Alfred H. Colquitt in 1853. Johnson opposed secession, and historians agree that he kept a low profile during the Civil War.
Johnson was appointed as provisional Governor of Georgia on June 17, 1865 by U.S. President Andrew Johnson (unrelated), and tasked primarily with reorganizing the state government, which had collapsed with the Confederacy. He served until a constitutional convention was held in Milledgeville in October 1865; at that convention, the Secession Ordinance was repealed, a new constitution was adopted, and the State's war debt was repudiated. He unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate, but on Jan. 30, 1866 the legislature preferred Alexander H. Stephens and Herschel V. Johnson.
For his service, President Johnson gave James Johnson the position as collector of customs for the Port of Savannah. He served in this capacity Oct. 1, 1866 to May 31, 1869. Johnson moved back to Columbus, where he served as judge of the Superior Court from July 1, 1869 to Oct. 1, 1875, when he resigned.
Death and Legacy
He died in 1891 in Chattahoochee County, Georgia.
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- United States Congress. "James Johnson (id: J000144)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.
- James Johnson at Find-A-Grave
- James Johnson, National Governors Association
- Davis, Matthew. "James Johnson (1811-1891)". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
- Fant, H. B. "Johnson, James". Dictionary of North Carolina Biography. University of North Carolina Press. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
|United States House of Representatives|
Marshall J. Wellborn
|U.S. Representative from the 2nd District of Georgia
Alfred H. Colquitt
Joseph E. Brown
|Governor of Georgia
Charles J. Jenkins