Thomas Johnson (Kansas politician)

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Portrait of Thomas Johnson

Thomas Johnson (July 11, 1802 – January 2, 1865[1]) was a Methodist missionary in Kansas who founded the Shawnee Methodist Mission. It was intended to serve and convert the Shawnee, several hundred of whom had been relocated to Kansas Indian Territory from east of the Mississippi River.

Johnson was a known slave holder in Kansas and sided strongly with the pro-slavery group, at a time when it was unclear whether residents would vote to allow slavery in the territory. He was elected as a member of the Kansas territorial legislature, which temporarily designated Shawnee Mission as the state capital, 1855-1856. Johnson County, Kansas is named for him.[2][citation needed] Johnson was pro-Southern in sympathy but signed a Unionist pledge at the time of the Civil War.[citation needed]


Johnson was murdered at his home in 1865.[citation needed] It is a mystery whether he was robbed or whether he was killed for political purposes.[citation needed]