REV. THOMAS JOHNSON

REV. THOMAS JOHNSON, for twenty-six years a missionary among the Shawnee and other Indian tribes of Kansas and one of the prominent characters in American Methodism of his day, was born in Virginia, July 11, 1802. When comparatively young he came to Missouri and in 1826 entered the Methodist ministry. His first charge was at Mount Prairie, Arkansas, and in 1828, having been received into full connection, he was appointed to Fishing River. In 1830 he was appointed to the Shawnee mission, which was in the Missouri district, and served as its superintendent until 1841, when he resigned on account of failing health. Having regained his health by medical treatment and a period of relaxation, in the fall of 1847 he was reappointed to the manual-labor school, serving thus until the establishment was discontinued in 1862. Mr. Johnson had already made quite a name in the politics of the day. As early as 1853 he had been elected, by Indian votes, as a delegate to congress of the territorial government projected for Kansas and Nebraska, but as it was never organized he was, of course, not received, although he went to Washington for the purpose. In March, 1855, he had been elected to the Kansas Territorial council on the pro-slavery ticket, and his son, twenty-three years of age, was returned to the lower house as its youngest member. Although a Virginian and a natural sympathizer with those who supported the institution, he was a stanch Unionist during the Civil war. On the night of January 2, 1865, he was assassinated by guerillas at his home near Westport, now within the corporate limits of Kansas City, Missouri, not because of his political views, but for $1,000 which he was supposed to have in his possession, but which he had really loaned to a friend.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed by Karissa Weeks & Charlie Kuehn, students from USD 508, Baxter Springs Middle School, Baxter Springs, Kansas, September 1997.
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