This information is part of the Champaign County ILGenWeb Project. If you have reached this site by means other than The USGenWeb Project, The ILGenWeb Project, or directly, please visit the main Champaign Co, ILGenWeb site for more information regarding Champaign County, IL ancestors. Information contained here was transcribed by Celia Snyder. Please do not repost this information without the express written permission of Celia Snyder.

Champaign County, Illinois

Biography of J. D. Johnson

SOURCE: "History of Champaign County, Illinois with Illustrations," 1878


J. D. JOHNSON, Sheriff of Champaign county, was born November 19th, 1820, in Mason county, Ky. He is the eighth of eleven children, of James and Clemency (DONOVAN) JOHNSON. The elder Johnson was born in Virginia, and when a child, was taken with his parents to Kentucky. His wife was a native of Maryland, and was descended from a hardy line of Welsh ancestry. She also removed with her parents to Kentucky when young; and it was there that they grew up, became acquainted, and married, after which they settled in Bourbon county, where Mr. J. became a planter. In 1830, he removed with his family to Clark county, Ohio, purchasing a farm near Yellow Springs. His death occurred in 1834. Mrs. Johnson survived him until 1836.

J. D. Johnson, the subject of our sketch, when thirteen years old became a clerk in the store of his brother, William D. JOHNSON, where he remained until the age of eighteen. Then became a salesman in the mercantile house of Bennett Lewis, of Clifton, Greene county, Ohio, and about four years after, Mr. J. began merchandising on his own account, in Clifton, where he remained about eighteen months. Then moved to Yellow Springs and built the second business house in that town, and sold goods two years; then disposed of his store to Col. Mills and his brother, A. B. JOHNSON. After which he engaged as Superintendent of Construction on the Columbus & Xenia R. R.; followed that business about one year.

October 27th, 1845, he married Miss Sarah Jane LAWRENCE, daughter of C. G. LAWRENCE, of Dubuque, Iowa. As the fruits of that union, Mr. Johnson and wife have had born to them eleven children, seven daughters and four sons. In October, 1852, Mr. J. removed to Dubuque county, Iowa, where he engaged in farming. Sold out and came to Urbana, April, 1856, and purchased a farm about five miles south of Urbana, where in the spring of '57, he removed and began farming-- resided there until the fall of 1863---when he was elected sheriff, as the candidate of the Republican party. He filled the office with ability for two years, and was made deputy-sheriff by Myers, his successor; and served as such one year, and was subsequently deputy-sheriff four years, under the administration of H. C. Core. In the fall of 1873, Mr. Johnson was elected sheriff, and by re-election has been continued to the present time.

During his long career as sheriff and deputy, he has always rendered eminent satisfaction, and his long continuance in service will attest the strong appreciation in which he is held by the citizens of the county. In politics he is a Republican.

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