xt7k6d5p8x5g https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7k6d5p8x5g/data/mets.xml Rogers, John, 1800-1867. 1861  books b92-86-27376421 English Published for the author, : Cincinnati : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Johnson, John Trimble, 1788-1856. Biography of Elder J.T. Johnson  / by John Rogers. text Biography of Elder J.T. Johnson  / by John Rogers. 1861 2002 true xt7k6d5p8x5g section xt7k6d5p8x5g 

71 7  ,




          B I 0 G R A P H Y




             JOHN ROGERS,
                  OF CARLISLE, KY.

"'Go into a]l the world and preach the gospel to every creaturo; be that
believeth and i immersed, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall
be damned."-AMark.
"We want more prayer-more devotion-more zeal-more liberality-more of a
           self-sacrificing spirit."-Elder J. T. JOHNSON.



This page in the original text is blank.



  THE author of the following unpretending work has aimed,
as far as possible, to make J. T. JOHNSON his own biographer.
This he has endeavored to do by placing him before his readers
in a great variety of circumstances, in his own chosen garb.
We may be pleased with the style of a biographer, and inter-
ested greatly in the character he gives the subject of his
work; but if he seldom allow him to speak for himself, we have
no means of forming an independent judgment regarding him.
  It is a pleasure to the writer to say, that in preparing this
work for the press, his views of the intellectual, moral, and
Christian worth of J. T. JoHNsoN have been much enlarged.
His conceptions of him were elevated before, they are more
elevated now.
  He takes pleasure in acknowledging his obligations to breth-
ren T. 3M. Allen, Jacob Creath, H. Bledsoe, John A. Gano, Wal-
ter Scott, J. M. Hulett, B. F. Hall, James Henshall, and espe-
cially H. Foster, for valuable documents and materials for his
  He can not but hope, that the life of such a man as J. T.
JOHNSON, to a great extent written by himself, will be exceed-
ingly useful in stirring up in the hearts of Christians, the spirit
of true devotion to the best cause in the Universe-the cause of
the Union of God's people, and the conversion of the world
according to the prayer of the Son of God-the true, laborious,
lholy, and self-sacrificing missionary spirit-of which his entire
evangelical career was so bright an example.
  Should the readers of this work be as much improved and
benefited by reading it, as the writer has been in preparing it


1V                      PREFACE.

for the press, they will find it a very useful work to them.
That it may be highly promotive of the great ends of the life
and Christian labors of the beloved J. T. JOHNSON-emphati-
cally "The Evangelist of the Reformation of the nineteenth
century," is the prayer of the Author. Amen.
  CARLISLE, Ky., January 17, 1861.



                      CHAPTER I.
Birth and education-Studies law-Marries in 1811-Settles on a
  farm, and practices law in Scott Co., Ky.-Receives the appoint-
  ment of volunteer aid of Gen. Harrison-Is at the siege of Fort
  Meigs - Is elected to the Legislature for several years in suc-
  cession.........                                  ....... 11

                      CHAPTER         II.
Great financial crisis-Loses a fortune by becoming security for
  his friends-Serves several years in the legislature of Kentucky,
  and several in Congress -Is appointed judge of the new court of
  appeals- Abandons politics forever, in the midst of a popular
  career................ ;                                  16

                    CHAPTER III.
Joined the Baptist Church in 1821-Was much engaged in public life
  for some eight years-In '29 and '30 he turned his attention to re-
  ligious matters, and cordially embraced the views of A. Campbell-
  Commenced preaching-Left the Baptist Church in '31, and organ-
  ized a church upon the Word of God alone-From that time he
  gave up all for Christ-State of religious parties about this
  time.................                                     20

                    CHAPTER         IV.
In 1831 he became familiar with Stone, and they resolved to unite as
  editors of the C. Messenger and unite the two people-The work
  was soon accomplished all over Kentucky, and at different points in
  other states-The results were glorious-J. T. Johnson's entering
  into it when he did, and as he did, conclusive proof of his moral
  courage and conscientiousness-A brief history of the difficulties
  in the way of the union.................                  26

                     CHAPTER V.
The scripture view of faith, as contrasted with the popular theory
  regarding it-especially the Calvinistic theory ................. 39

                     CHAPTER VI.
Notices of his various labors, and the success attending them during
  the year 1832, with miscellaneous matters connected with the inter-
  ost of the cause ...................................      53
                                                     (5 )




               CHAPTER VII.-1833.
His reverence for the word of God, and his unmitigated hostility to
  the traditions of men-The perfection of the gospel-scheme-The
  gospel the power of God to salvation-Our union and its glorious
  results-Exhorts to greater diligence-Denounces human creeds and
  schisms as anti-Christian-An argument against them ......... 65

A brief outline of his career since he left the Baptists-The violence
  of the opposition-The contrast between truth and error, the gospel
  and the doctrines of men-The triumphs of the truth .......... 77

                CHAPTER IX.-1834.
Sets on foot what hedenominatesa "Christian School" in the Church
  at Georgetown, to promote the knowledge of the sacred scriptures,
  and greaterpiety-Exhorts to diligence-Discussion with a certain
  Dr. Sleigh, an English hyper-Calvinistic Baptist preacher-Miscel-
  laneous .............................................   86

                CHAPTER         X.-183.5.
He and B. F. Hall commence a new periodical-The Gospel Advo-
  cate-His first article is entitled " Practical Reformation," in which
  he urges practical piety, and especially Christian liberality-Scott
  and Campbell's visits to Kentucky-Items of news ........... 97

                  CHAPTER XI.-1836.
The Gospel Advocate removed from Georgetown to Lexington-
  J. T. Johnson associated with it until the coming October-His la-
  bors gratuitous-His first article for 1836-Dr. Beecher and B. W.
  Stone-Dr. Fishback-The success of his labors ............. 109

               CHAPTER XII.-1837.
Origin of' " Bacon College "-J. T. Johnson's connection with that
  enterprise-In 1837, J. T. Johnson and Walter Scott edited " Tile
  Christian," which was published at Georgetown-Walter Scott
  first president of Bacon College-J. T. Johnson's large and lib-
  eral views and purposes regarding the college - Debate with
  Rev. J. C. Styles, at Versailles-His success in preaching during
  the year 1837 ........      ............................ 121

              CHAPTER         XIII.-1838.
A fearful financial crisis-It favored the cause of Christ-J. T.
Johnson more successful than during any year of his life-Some
  seven hnndred accessions to the cause by his labors-Brief no.
  tices of letters written by J. T. Johnson-Some thoughts on dis-
  eiplino..1......                                      132




               CHAPTER XIV.-1839.
Thoughts upon the character of J. T. Johnson-The secret of his
  success-His enlarged views: his benevolence-His plan for endow-
  ing Bacon College-Is deceived by an impostor .............. 143

                 CHAPTER XV.-1840.
His astonishing labors, mental and physical-Debate-Two import-
  ant concessions -Great success -Urges his brethren, in all quar-
  ters, who were calling for his labors, to sustain the good preachers
  they had, and raise up more; and not to attach too much import-
  ance to the labors of any one man, and all of them to "sWork
  on -Work on-Work on." He was most self-sacrificing-Urges
  the sending a missionary to the East, and to the Old World-Op-
  posed to modern revival machinery -Our numbers in Kentucky-
  Miscellaneous matters .................................... 158

              C HA P T E R X V I.--1841.
Introduction to the New Year-A great Union Meeting proposed by
  J. T. Johnson-Sanctioned by A. Campbell-Held in Lexington
  in April-Its history-Triumphs of the gospel at Mayslick-An
  incident worth preserving-Miscellaneous matters ............. 171

              CHAPTER XVII.-1842.
J. T. Johnson employed by a co-operation of churches, for the year
  1842-Labors at Turkey Foot-Mayslick-Minerva-New Castle-
  Shelbyville-Mount Eden-Near New Town-Jeffersonville, In-
  diana-Grassy Spring-Temperance-Lawrenceburg-Antioch-
  Lexington-Macedonia-Georgetown-Green River-Providence-
  Organizes a Church-Madison, Indiana-Mount Byrd-Ghent-
  Warsaw-Liberty, Ky.-Result of the year's Labor-582 addi-

             CHAPTER XVIII.-1843.
Co-operation-Evangelizing-The sects, all as such, even the Baptists
  hostile to us-The Baptists have human creeds-They, and all the
  sects, very ignorant of spiritual influence, and the gospel plan of
  salvation for the penitent-Labors at Sharpsburg and Owingsville.-
  Flemingsburg-Maysville and Mayslick-St. Louis-Palmyra-
  Hannibal-Barbourville-New Castle-Point Pleasant-Harrods-
  burg-Campbellsville-Bethany-Cedar Creek-Antioch-Lancas-
  ter-Covington...........                             192

              CHAPTER        XIX.-1844.
Some general remarks touching the character of J. T. Johnson-His
financial system for the Churches-Labors in Jefferson county, at
  Middletown-Goose Creek-Bear Grass and Newsburg-Tour in
  the direction of Louisville--Letter to the Churches in Kentucky-
  Tour in Henry and Shelby counties-Makes a long tour to Barbour-




  ville and Athens, in Tennessee - Republican-Tour to Henry and
  Oldham counties......................                205

                CHAPTER XX.-1845.
Holds a meeting at Maysville-Makes a long tour South-Letter on
  Evangelizing-Report of three months' Labor-Labors at Mt. Gil.
  ead and Bethany-Glenn's Creek and Grassy Springs-Dry Run,
  Bethel-Dr. Thurston's School House, and various other points-
  Letters to C. Kendrick ....................... 223

               CHAPTER XXI.-1846.
Triumphs and Defense of the Reformation -Important Historic
  Facts, etc.......................                    242

              CHAPTER        XXI I.-I 846.
Report of success, Jan. 11-Labors at Blue Lick, in Anderson co., 25
  accessions-Dr. Thurston's, 13 additions-Makes a long tour to
  Virginia, 148 accessions-Labors at Cynthiana, 13 additions-At-
  tends the Annual Meeting at Caneridge, 34 additions-Meeting at
  Georgetown, 22 additions-Leesburg, 15 additions-Old Union, 5
  additions-Mt. Sterling, 52 additions-Covington, 15 or 20 addi-
  tions-Lexington, 31 additions .......................   252

             CHAPTER        XXIII.-1847.
Contents-Meeting in Georgetown, 6 accessions-Dr. Field-Ultra-
  isms-Meeting in Louisville, 13 additions-Co-operation, ete.-
  Meeting at Versailles, 12 additions--Meeting at Covington, Eliza.
  bethtown, Boston, Bridgeport, Turkey Foot, 19 additions-Union,
  South Elkhorn, New Castle, Georgetown, 49 additions- Address
  of J. T. Johnson-System of Finance-Remarks by W. K. Pendle-
  ton ....................... 264

              CHAPTER XXI V.-1848.
A month's labor in Arkansas-Three Churches organized, some 75
  additions-Labors at Parker's Stand and Caneridge, 3 accessions-
  Grassy Springs, 12 additions-Meets elder J. Creath, Sen., for the
  first time after his blindness-Flat Rock, 7 additions-Baton Rouge,
  38 additions.........                  .        .... 276

              CHAPTER XXV.-1849.
Labors at Port Gibson and Grand Gulf, 7 accessions-Baton Rouge'
26-Obituary of Mrs. Shepard-Of Mrs. Johnson-Meeting at
Midway, 38 additions-Obituary of Mrs. Ann E. McHatton-Death
of his wife-Letter to his children-Attends the Annual Meeting
at Oxford, 23 added -Labors at Campbellsburg, Clear Creek,
Grassy Springs, Macedonia; 36 added-Covington, 6-Maysville,
7-Millersburg, 8 additions-Extract of a letter to Mrs. Flour-
noy .287......  ............................. ......... 28 7


            CHAPTER XXVI.-1850-'51.
Extracts from letters to his daughter, in the South-Labors at Louis-
  ville, 13 additions-Baton Rouge, 18-Little Rock, 11-Returns to
  Kentucky-In a tour of six weeks, adds 42 to the churches of
  New Castle, Campbellsburg and Bloomfield-Labors at Dr. Thurs
  ton's, 23 additions-Bear Grass. 10-Labors at Ghent and Carroll-
  ton, 13 added-Attends a meeti-g in Georgetown, 20 added-Du-
  ring the year '51 he labors half his time in the South, the other
  half in Kentucky; 100 added in the South, and 150 in Kentueky,
  making 250 for the year '51. ..........  ........... 302

             CHAPTER        XXVII.-1852.
Labors at Elizaville, Flemingsburg, Mill Creek, and Poplar Plains, in
  January; 75 added-Labors at Beasley and Lawrence Creek-10
  additions-At Flat Rock, 84-Letter to J. A. Gano-Extracts
  of letter to Mrs. Flournoy-Meeting at Georgetown; 37 added-
  In May visits Harrodsburg; 32 additions-Letter to A. Campbell,
  regarding J. B. Ferguson-Reflections upon the true basis of Chris-
  tian Union, etc. -Labors at various points in Kentucky for some
  three months; 307 accessions .....................    310

            CHAPTER        XXVIII.-1853.
Letter to his Daughter, Mrs. Viley-Meeting at Midway-Character
  of J. T. Johnson, by Dr. Pinkerton-Letter to John A. Gano-
  Success at Hickman.....................               324

             CHAPTER XXIX.-1854.
Letter from J. T. Johnson-Labors at several points in Louisiana and
  Mississippi for some forty days, and makes 43 additions to the
  churches-Returns to Kentucky and labors some ten weeks in the
  counties of Lincoln, Mercer, Boyle and Washington-Preached 100
  discourses-215 accessions-Labors some two months in the Green
  River country-61 additions .....................      333

              CHAPTER XXX.-1855.
Spends the winter and early spring of '55 in the south -Labors
some eight weeks at Cadiz, Concord, Lebanon, Lafayette and Elk-
  ton-Spoke upward of 100 times ; accessions about 150-Midwav, 20
  accessions - Ruddell's Mills, 60 accessions - 800 raised to pay
  church debt-Subscriptions to Kentucky C. E. Society-Attends
  the Revision Association in St. Louis-Labors with great success
  at Winchester; 62 additions .....................     342

              C HAPTER       XXXI.-1856.
Reflections of the Biographer-Our Evangelist labors in the early
part of this year at Mayslick; 48 additions-Letters from him,
presenting a sort of synopsis of our great enterprises, and also of
his views of divine truth, in its three great dispensations-Meet-




X                         CONTENTS.

  ings at Nicholasville and Leesburgh; some 12 additions-Labors
  some four months in the Green River country; about 100 addi
  tions...................................................... 35

         C H A P T E R X X X I I.-1856, CONTINUED.
Holds a meeting at Millersburg, and makes an appeal for the endow
  ment of the Orphan School, and a professorship in it-In Septem
  ber, holds a very interesting meeting at Berea; his last in the
  vicinity of home-Attends the state meeting in Louisville-Holds
  his last meeting in Kentucky, at Covington, just before our Cin-
  cinnati meetings - Goes to Columbia, Rocheport, Fayette, and
  Lexington-Dies at Lexington .........................  366

        C H A P T E R X X X I I I.-1856, CONCLUDED.
Reflections of the writer-Sources of Consolation-The writer's
  notice of the Death of J. T. Johnson, shortly after it occurred-
  Notices of it by H. Bledsoe, J. S. Muse, A. Wright, and J. W.
  McGarvey-" Last Moments," by A. Wright and T. M. Allen-
  Tribute of Respect, by A. Raines ......................... 380

        C H A P T E R X X X I V.-1856, CONCLUSION.
Must condense-J. T. Johnson a devoted friend of the Revision move-
  ment-His Address at the R. Association at St. Louis, in 1855
  -Testimonv of Jacob Creath to the character of J. T. Johnson-
  B. F. Hall's testimony-J. Henshall's testimony-Brother Bar-
  clay's-Conclusion............                           392



                   CHAPTER I.
Birth and education-Studies law-Marries in 1811-Settles on a
  farm, and practices law in Scott Co., Ky.-Receives the appoint-
  ment of volunteer aid of Gen. Harrison-Is at the siege of Fort
  Meigs - Is elected to the Legislature for several years in suc-
  1. Elder JOHN T. JOHNSON was born at the Great-
Crossings, Scott Co., Ky., near Georgetown, on the 5th
day of Oct., 1788. This was a stormy periodin the his-
tory of Kentucky.   The revolutionary war of some
seven years, had been brought to a successful termin-
ation. The old Articles of Confederation had been
found utterly inadequate to the purposes of a general
government, and had just been superseded by the for-
mation and adoption of the Constitution of the United
States. Indian hostilities were rife all over the west,
which, indeed, was all frontier. Kentucky at this time
was suffering, and continued to suffer for some five
years, from this predatory, barbarous and savage war-
fare. Neither Virginia nor the United States govern-
ment was able to afford adequate protection to this
distant frontier. There was little security for life or
property. All was agitation and excitement. In the
midst of such troublous and stirring times was J. T.
Johnson born, and received his first impressions. In
a very meager outline of his life, written by himself,
he says: " My parents, Robt. Johnson and Jemima
his wife, of the Suggitt family, were Virginians by
birth, and were members of the Baptist Church at
Blue Run, before they removed to Kentucky. Robt.
Johnson, my father, was the son of one of three
brothers who removed from England and settled in
America. They were reputed to be of Walei." Tho



subject of this sketch does not inform us when his pa-
rents removed from Virginia and settled in Kentucky.
A writer in Collins' History of Kentucky, on page
515, thus speaks of the family: "C ol. Robert Johnson
(the father of Colonels Richard M., James, and Major
John T. Johnson) was a native of Virginia, and emi-
grated to Kentucky, then a county of that state, dur-
ing the stormy period of the revolution. He was dis-
tinguished for that high-toned integrity and courage
which marked the age and country in which he lived,
and took an active and prominent part in the sanguin-
ary conflicts which raged between the settlers and na-
tives, in the early settlement of Kentucky. So great
was the confidence reposed in his skill and courage by
the adventurers of that age, by whom he was sur-
rounded, that he was called to take a conspicuous po-
sition in almost every hazardous enterprise. The sen-
timents of patriotism and integrity which marked the
history of his active life, he did not fail to inculcate
upon the minds of his children, and the character of
those children, as developed, shows that they were not
without their proper effect. Col. James Johnson was
the lieutenant-colonel of the mounted regiment of Col.
Richard M. Johnson, during the late war, and distin-
guished himself at the battle of Thames, as well as on
several occasions while in the service. He subse-
quently served several sessions in the Congress of the
United States, with general acceptance. At the time
of his death, which occurred many years since, he was
in communion with the Baptist Church, and was es-
teemed a zealous and devoted Christian." The his-
tory of R. M. Johnson is well known to the country.
J. T. Johnson belonged to a numerous family, as well
as a highly respectable one. He says: "I was one,
and the eighth of eleven children, nine males and two
females. Indians committed depredations and mur-
der in the vicinity of the Great-Crossings, after my
birth; and I distinctly recollect the stockading around
my father's yard "  He adds: "At sixty-three [1851],




I am overwhelmed with astonishment at the mighty
march of improvements of every kind ! From a re-
cent statement, if true, I am a few months older than
the Queen City of the west, Cincinnati. It is almost
incredible to think that the giant west has grown up
within the life of a man of sixty-three, born in its
midst! "
  2. He says: "I have a most vivid recollection of
the great revival of 1801." And although he was
scarcely thirteen years old, he was most deeply im-
pressed with the necessity and importance of being a
Christian. Yet, being raised amidst the fogs and
mists of Calvinism, no one could teach him the simple
gospel plan of salvation. Instead of being directed
to repent and be baptized for the remission of his sins,
he says, " I was told that if it was the Lord's work,
he would most certainly complete it."  Thus he was
left to wait for, and expect some mystic, nondescript
influence, which God has never promised, and waiting
for which his good impressions gradually wore off, and
he became careless upon the subject of religion.
  3. He went to school many years to Malcomb Wor-
ley, who, he says, was a good teacher. (Worley was
then a Presbyterian, and subsequently went with Stone
and others, in their separation from the synod of Ken-
tucky. He finally was carried away with the misera-
ble delusion of Shakerism.) He was a. good student,
and always a favorite with his teachers, and among
the foremost in his classes. He thus ingenuously and
graphically, in a few words, describes his character,
the accuracy of which, as far as it goes, all who knew
him will at once recognize: "Of a disposition mild
and benevolent; of a quick temper; keenly alive to
insult, aind ready to repel an injury; never revenge-
ful, but prompt to forgive; of a temperament to over-
come every obstacle within the power of man to re-
  4. Having acquired, with the best teachers the
counti v afforded, a fair English education, with con-




siderable knowledge of Latin and Greek, he finished
his educational career, so far as schools are concerned,
in Transylvania University. Dr. James Blythe was
president of the university at that time, and Drs.
Bishop and Sharpe were professors.  From  these
heads of departments he received the highest com-
  During the last six months he attended the univer-
sity, he says: "I providentially boarded in the Lewis
family, into which I subsequently married. My wife
was then a little girl, but most beautiful. Little did
I then dream that she was to be to me a wife, and the
mother of my children, and constitute my heaven on
earth. While others were joking me about other girls,
her mother, on one occasion remarked, ' Never mind
them, I'll provide you one that will suit you.' It was
ominous; it was true to the letter."
  5. He studied law with his brother, R. M. Johnson,
and obtained license from the judges of the court of
appeals, Robert Trimble, Ninian Edwards and Felix
Grundy, before he was twenty-one years of age.
  HIe says, "I commenced the practice of law too
early, but I confined myself to the Scott county bar
for several years, and succeeded beyond my qualifica-
  6. In 1811, on the 9th day of October, he was mar-
ried to Miss Sophia Lewis, he being about twenty-
three years old, and she about fifteen. Speaking of
his marriage, he says: "Beinga favorite with her
wivdowed mother, she thought it most prudent to per-
nit her daughter at once to share the fortunes of life
with one that bid fair to be to her more than a father
and mother. The world and my children can judge
whether the expectation was met."
  7. After his marriage he settled on a farm of 150
acres of superior land on South Elkhorn, near George-
town, and now on the turnpike leading from George-
town to Dry Run. He and a younger brother, Joel,




built a mill in partnership, and managed it successfully
for several years.
   8. He says: About the 1st of February, 1813, about
a month after the birth of my first born, the present
Elizabeth J. Flournoy, I was honored with the place
of a volunteer aid of Gen. W. 1. Harrison. Harri-
son then commanded the north-western army at Fort
Meigs. I started for the army in company with Wm.
Christy and Dr. George Berry. We hoped to be with
the army to aid in storming Malden."  In this, how-
ever, they were sadly disappointed, as the first day's
travel brought to them the mortifying intelligence of
the terrible defeat and massacre of the River Raisin.
Ile adds: "' Yet we persevered in the enterprise. In
a few days we were at Fort Meigs, where the troops
were engaged in erecting block-houses, and stock-
ading. In a short time we had an almost impregna-
ble fortress.
  As the spring advanced, many of the troops returned
home, their term of service having expired. The en-
emy learning this, determined to make a mighty effort
at conquest. Gen. Harrison was on a visit to his fam-
ily at Cincinnati. We wrote to him to hasten to the
army. He did so; while Kentucky, ever prompt to
meet exigencies, sent on a brigade under Gen. Clay.
The siege, however, was commenced before the Ken-
tucky troops arrived." During the progress of the
siege they arrived, and Col. Dudley, with 800 men,
was directed to land on the north side of the river
MIIaumee and spike the cannon of the enemy, and im-
mediately retreat across the river to the fort. He
succeeded in spiking the cannon without difficulty, but
unfortunately allowed himself to be decoyed into the
woods, and to follow the retreating enemy some two
miles from their place of landing. The result was,
the whole detachment, with the exception of 150, was
killed and taken by the enemy. In the mean time,
the Kentucky troops who landed on the south of the
river, had to fight their way through a large body of




Indians and Canadians. Speaking of this, J. T. John-
son says: " We had a bold fight on our side of the
river, while protecting the Kentucky troops in disem-
barking and reaching the fort. While executing the
orders of the general, having gone from one end of
the line to the other, commencing with Maj. Gra-
ham, I had a fine gray charger shot dead under me."
And he had a ball to strike him in the fort, while he
was within two feet of the general. " The day after the
battle, the general hearing of the loss of my horse,
asked me why I did not name it; that he would have
been glad to notice it as it merited in his dispatch to
the government. I replied I did not at the time think
it important to do so. This battle was fought on the
5th of May, 1813."
  Being unwell after the battle, he started with Gen.
Harrison and suite for the interior of Ohio, and was
sent to Kentucky with orders to the mounted regi-
ment of volunteers commanded by his brothers, R. M.
and J. Johnson. He was barely able to get home;
was taken down with fever, and narrowly escaped with
his life. He says : "I could barely walk about on the
4th of July following. It was a luxury to meet my
wife and child." Hle adds: "In 1815, I became a
candidate for the legislature, and was elected with
ease. I was elected several years in succession, till
181 9."

                  CHAPTER II.
Great financial crisis-Looses a fortune by becoming security for
!is friends-Serves several years in the legislature of Kentuckv,
and several in Congress-Is appointed judge of the new court of
appeals- Abandons politics forever, in the midst of a popular
  1. In an outline history of Kentucky, written, it is
said, by the talented John A. McClung, found in Collins'
Kentucky, speaking of the time of which we are writ-




ing, he says: "In the meantime the financial affairs
of the civilized world were in a painful state of disor-
der. The long wars of the French revolution had
banished gold and silver from circulation as money,
and had substituted an inflated paper currency, by
which nominal prices were immensely enhanced. At
the return of peace, a restoration of specie payments,
and the return of Europe to industrial pursuits, caused
a great fall in the nominal value of commodities, ac-
companied by bankruptcy upon an enormous scale.
In Kentucky the violence of this crisis was enhanced by
the charter [in '17-'18] of forty independent banks."
.... "In the summer of 1818, the state was flooded
with the paper of these banks. Their managers were
generally without experience or knowledge of finance,
and in some instances destitute of common honesty.
Speculations sprung up in all directions. Large loans
were rashly made, and as rashly expended. Most of
these bubbles exploded within a year, and few were
alive at the end of two years. In the meantime the
pressure of debt became terrible." Collins' Kentucky,
page 88.
  2. In this fearful crisis, J. T. Johnson lost a hand-
some fortune-not to pay his own debts, but those of
his friends, for whom he had become surety. In this
lie realized the truth of the saying of the wise man,
that: "He that is surety for his friend shall smart."
His generous nature would not permit him to say no
to his friend; hence, he could not, in that case, real-
ize, in the language of the same wise man, that, "He
that hateth suretyship is sure." But let us have his
own account of this matter. He says: "In the great
convulsion of 1819, and onward, I became security for
my friends for a large amount, and voluntarily gave
up all my real estate to be relieved from security
dlebts." This was certainly a hard case. To give up
a fortune to pay his own debts, would have been hard
enough; but, for one who had never known want, to
give up a handsome fortune to pay security debts, is



hard, indeed. But he was a man of a groat heart and
noble mind, and, therefore, bore it without a murmur.
He says: " I never felt happier than in thus relieving
myself, by giving up near 50,000 worth of real es-
tate." He says again: "It was a pretty fortune. It
was five hundred and fifty acres of land, near George-
town, of the choice kind, and about a half-dozen val-
uable lots, with valuable improvements, in George-
town." If that property was worth 50,000 then, it
is worth now [1861] not much, if any, less than double
that amount. This was a handsome fortune, indeed.
   3. Having served his country acceptably in the
state legislature for several years in succession, he is
solicited to take a higher seat. And, accordingly, in
1820, he became a candidate for congress, and, with a
merely nominal opposition, he was elected to that hon-
orable position. In 1822 he was again a candidate for
congress, and, though he had formidable opposition,
he was again elected by a majority of some eight
hundred votes.
  4. About this time the questions of relief and anti-
relief, were rife in the state-the relief party being
greatly in the ascendant. Many relief measures were
passed, among which was one requiring creditors to
take their pay in commonwealth's paper-which was
onlv worth half its nominal value-or wait two years.
This created great dissatisfaction among creditors,
and the lines between the two parties were very dis-
tinctly drawn; the contest between them, in bar-rooms,
in the newspapers, upon the stump and along the high-
ways, and in the most private circles, was angry and
violent. Associated with the popular, or relief party,
were some of the first lawyers of the state, such as
John Rowan, W. T. Barry, S. P. Sharpe, and J. J.
Bibb. J. T. Johnson belonged to this party. The
opposite party brought before the inferior courts the
question of the constitutionality of the odious act.
Judges Clark and Blair decided the act to be uncon-
stitutional. It was b