Henry Johnson, 5th Gov. of Louisiana

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Henry Johnson

Birthdate: (80)
Birthplace: Probably Virginia, United States
Death: September 4, 1864 (80)
Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Isaac Johnson and Mary Johnson
Husband of Elizabeth Rousby Johnson
Father of Henry Johnson and Emily Louisa Johnson
Brother of John Hunter Johnson; William Gayoso Johnson; Martha Pope; Mary Johnson; Caroline Matiloa Johnson and 2 others

Occupation: 5th Governor of Louisiana, State Judge, U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative and planter
Managed by: Joel Scott Cognevich
Last Updated:

About Henry Johnson, 5th Gov. of Louisiana

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Johnson_(Louisiana)

Henry Johnson (September 14, 1783 - September 4, 1864) was the fifth Governor of Louisiana, and served as a United States Representative and as a United States Senator.


Early life


Johnson was born in Davidson County, Tennessee in September, 1783. Other sources indicate he was born in Virginia. The family is said to have resided in southern Virginia, where Johnson became member of Virginia Bar. Johnson was married to Elizabeth Key, daughter of Philip B. Key, a cousin of Francis Scott Key.


In 1809, Johnson moved to the Territory of Orleans, as Clerk of the Second Superior Court of the Territory. In 1811, he was appointed Clerk of the newly formed St. Mary Parish.


Political career


1812 to 1828


In 1812, he lost a bid to the U.S. Congress. After his defeat, he practiced law in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. Upon the death of U.S. Senator William C.C. Claiborne in 1818, Johnson was appointed to fill his vacancy. He was elected by the legislature to a full 6-year Senate term in 1823 on a promise not to run for Governor in 1824. He did run, however, and was elected Governor the next year. He served as Louisiana Governor from 1824 until 1828.


At this time, the legislature moved the seat of government to Donaldsonville in a compromise between the Anglo-American leaders who wanted the capital out of New Orleans and the Creoles who wanted to retain the seat of government within a French area. Riots over this his same issue had forced the resignation of the previously elected Governor, Thomas B. Robertson in 1824.


Johnson benefited from a bitter division among the Creoles to get elected, then luckily enjoyed the fruits of a visit to Louisiana by Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette. That visit allayed the bitter Creole-Anglo split, but Johnson was to inflame the conflict once again by taking the side of the "Anglos" in a dispute about cotton and sugar cultivation.


The creation of two financial institutions promoted prosperity during Johnson's term: the Louisiana State Bank and the Consolidated Association of Planters of Louisiana. He improved commerce within Louisiana by forming the Internal Improvement Board to maintain and build roads and canals.


1830 to 1839


In 1830, Johnson ran for his old Senate seat against Dominique Bouligny and backed Edward Douglass White Sr. against Edward Livingston for the 1st District in Congress, John Quincy Adams for President and Pierre Derbigny for Governor. While his "ticket" were all elected, Johnson lost his own race for the Senate against Bouligny.


He was elected as a Whig to the United States Congress in 1834, upon the resignation of Edward Douglass White Sr. and he served from 1834 to 1839.


1844 to 1850


In 1844, Johnson was appointed to fill the vacant U.S. Senate position of the deceased Alexander Porter who turned down the seat before his death due to poor health. Johnson remained in the Senate for a second time until 1849. As Senator he supported bills favoring annexation of Texas and repealing the tariff of 1846. Johnson lost a bid to remain in the Senate to Pierre Soulé, a Jacksonian-Democrat. In 1850, he suffered a final political defeat losing a race for Congress against Henry Adams Bullard (Whig). Johnson retired to Pointe Coupee Parish to practice law.


Death


During the Civil War, Gov. Johnson remained in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, where he died at the close of the war and was buried on his plantation which lies at the juncture of Bayou Grosse Tete and Bayou Maringouin.


According to the thesis of Anna Mae Schmidt (LSU, 1935), in the deposition of Joe Johnson, great-nephew of Gov Johnson, Joe Johnson states that Gov Johnson's body was moved for reburial to Donaldsonville. There is apparently no present-day knowledge of this.


According to Sidney Marchand, Story of Ascension Parish, Johnson bequeathed the land of the present Ascension Episcopal Church in Donaldsonville (corner Attakapas/Nicholls and St. Patrick Streets).

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Henry S, Johnson was the first professional politician to be elected governor of Louisiana. From 1818 until 1824, he held various state offices. Johnson stepped into a U. S. Senate seat after Claiborne died in office.

At this time, the legislature moved the seat of government to Donaldsonville in a compromise between the Anglo-American leaders who wanted the capital out of New Orleans and the Creoles who wanted to retain the seat of government within a French area.

Johnson benefited from a bitter division among the Creoles to get elected, then luckily enjoyed the fruits of a visit to Louisiana by Revolutionary War hero, the Marquis de Lafayette. That visit allayed the bitter Creole-Anglo split, but Johnson was to inflame the conflict once again by taking the side of the "Anglos" in a dispute about cotton and sugar cultivation.

The creation of two financial institutions promoted prosperity during Johnson's term: the Louisiana State Bank and the Consolidated Association of Planters of Louisiana. He improved commerce within Louisiana by forming the Internal Improvement Board to maintain and build roads and canals.

Johnson died in 1864, some years after serving another term in the U. S. Senate.


Henry S. Johnson was an attorney and politician, the fifth Governor of Louisiana (1824-1828). He also served as a United States representative and as a United States senator.

Johnson was born in Virginia. His family is said to have resided in southern Virginia, where Johnson completed academic study and became a member of Virginia bar. He was Episcopalian.

After passing the bar, Johnson married Elizabeth Rousby Key, a daughter of Philip Barton Key by Ann Plater, a daughter of George Plater; Elizabeth's father was an uncle of Francis Scott Key and Anne Arnold Phoebe Charlton Key, who married Roger B. Taney. The couple had a family together.

Several years after the United States made the Louisiana Purchase, the Johnsons moved to the Territory of Orleans, in 1809. He was appointed as clerk of the Second Superior Court of the Territory. In 1811, he was appointed clerk of the newly formed St. Mary Parish in the southwestern part of the state.

In 1812, Johnson lost a bid to the U.S. Congress. After his defeat, he practiced law in Donaldsonville, Louisiana, located on the south bank of the Mississippi River in the south-central part of the state. He became a district judge of the Ascension Parish Court in 1811; and was selected as a delegate to the first State constitutional convention in 1812.

Upon the death of U.S. senator William C.C. Claiborne in 1818, Johnson was elected by the state legislature as a Democratic-Republican to fill his vacancy. He served as chairman, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, in the 17th Congress. In 1823, he was elected by the Louisiana State Legislature as an "Adams Republican," also known as the National Republican Party candidate, to a full six-year U.S. Senate term. The Party asked him not to run for governor in 1824, as it wanted to retain control of that Senate seat.

Johnson did run for governor, being elected in 1824. He served a full term as Louisiana Governor from 1824 until 1828. During his term, the legislature moved the state seat of government to Donaldsonville, a compromise location settled on between Anglo-American leaders, who wanted the capital moved from New Orleans to a more northerly location, and French Creoles, who wanted to retain the seat of government within an historically-French area to reflect the state's origins. Earlier in 1824, riots in New Orleans over this same issue had forced the resignation of Governor Thomas B. Robertson.

Johnson gained election as governor due to a bitter division among the Creoles at the time. He also enjoyed the goodwill of a visit to Louisiana by the American Revolutionary War hero, the French aristocrat Marquis de Lafayette. That visit allayed the bitter Creole-Anglo split. Johnson inflamed the conflict again by taking the side of the "Anglos" in a dispute about cotton and sugar cane cultivation.

During Johnson's term, his administration founded two financial institutions that promoted prosperity: the Louisiana State Bank and the Consolidated Association of Planters of Louisiana. He improved commerce within Louisiana by forming the Internal Improvement Board to maintain and build infrastructure – such as roads and canals, to improve transportation and facilitate the movement of goods and produce to market.

In 1828, Johnson ran to gain election by the state legislature to his former U.S. Senate seat against Charles Dominique Joseph Bouligny, a man of French and Spanish Creole descent, whose father had been a high-ranking official in Spanish Louisiana at the end of the 18th century. In that election year, Johnson backed Edward Douglass White, Sr., against Edward Livingston for the Louisiana's 1st congressional district, John Quincy Adams for President, and Pierre Derbigny for governor. Some of the men he supported were elected, but the legislature re-elected incumbent Bouligny to the Senate. Bouligny had first been elected after Johnson resigned to take the governorship in 1824. (Adams lost the Presidency to Andrew Jackson.)

In 1834 Johnson was elected as a Whig to the U.S. House of Representatives, to fill the vacancy after the resignation of Edward Douglass White, Sr.. He was re-elected for two more terms, serving in total from 1834 to 1839.

In June 1838 Johnson aided in the sale of 272 slaves from the Jesuits running what is now Georgetown University. The slaves – men, women and children – were sold to plantation owners in Louisiana.

Henry Johnson unsuccessfully ran for governor in 1842 as the Whig nominee. He was defeated by Democratic nominee U. S. Senator Alexandre Mouton.

In 1844, Johnson was elected to fill the vacant U.S. Senate position of Alexander Porter, who never took the seat due to ill health and died in January 1844. Johnson served the remainder of the term until 1849. He served as Chairman of the Committee on Pensions. As senator he supported bills favoring the annexation of Texas, which had become an independent Republic after separating from Mexico. He also voted to repeal the tariff of 1846.

In 1848 Johnson lost a bid to remain in the Senate to Pierre Soulé, a Jacksonian-Democrat of French Creole descent. In 1850, he suffered a final political defeat, losing a race for U.S. Representative against Henry Adams Bullard (Whig).

Henry Johnson moved to New Roads in Pointe Coupée Parish and continued the practice of law.

During the Civil War, Gov. Johnson remained in Pointe Coupee Parish. The state was controlled by the Union after the fall of New Orleans. He died in September 1864, near the close of the war, and was buried on his plantation, which lies at the confluence of Bayou Grosse Tête and Bayou Maringouin.

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Henry Johnson, 5th Gov. of Louisiana's Timeline

1783
September 14, 1783
Probably Virginia, United States
1838
May 4, 1838
Age 54
1864
September 4, 1864
Age 80
Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana, United States
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