Major JOHNSON was born in Breckenridge county, Kentucky, April 30, 1828. John Johnson, his grandfather, removed to Kentucky soon after that state was admitted into the Union. His son William, father of Major Johnson, remained in the state until 1831, when he removed to Indiana and settled in Terre Haute. The next spring he went to Gibson County, in same state, and remained there until his death in the spring of 1842. He was a millwright by trade, and also a large land-owner. In the latter years of his life he was extensively engaged in shipping the produce of the country down the river to New Orleans. He married Mildred IDSON, a native of Virginia. She died a few weeks before her husband. By that marriage there were seven sons and two daughters, two of whom are still living, Nancy, the wife of Jacob MCCLELLAND, and the subject of this sketch. In the fall of 1842, Samuel went to Clay county, Ills., and soon after returned to Franklin, Indiana, where he went to school. He remained there until the spring of 1844, then came back to Clay County, Ills., and in the fall came to Clinton County, Ills. Here he found his first work with Daniel C. COLLINS. In 1847 he enlisted in Capt. NILES company in the 5th Illinois Regiment for the service in the Mexican war. The company rendezvoused at Alton, Illinois, where the regiment was organized, then proceeded in boats up to Fort Leavenworth, and from there marched across the plains to Santa Fe, New Mexico. He remained in the service until October, 1848, when he was mustered out. He returned to Clement in Clinton county, Ills., where in 1848 he repaired a house and opened a school, hired a teacher by the name of HILLHOUSE, and went to school. He continued a pupil until 1849.
In 1850, he commenced farming, in which he continued until 1859, when he went to Denver, Colorado, for the purpose of recruiting his health. He returned in the fall of 1859, and the next year farmed for Oliver OUTHOUSE. In 1861, when war broke out, he raised the first company of soldiers in Clinton county, under the Ten Regiment Bill. They remained in the state service until the11th of June, 1861, when they were mustered into the United States service, and the company was then known as "A," of the 22nd regiment, Illinois Volunteer Infantry. On the organization of the company, he was elected captain, and remained such until July,1863, when he was mustered out, and the same day was mustered and commissioned major of the regiment. He remained in the service, and was for the greater part of the time in command of the regiment, until July, 1864, when he was mustered out and honorably discharged. He was slightly wounded a half-dozen times, and once seriously. The first in the engagement at Charleston, Mo., Aug. 19th, 1861, when he received a flesh wound in the right leg. In the desperate battle of Chickamauga, while leading his regiment, he was wounded by a minie ball passing through his hips. The wound was of such a fearful character that he was left for dead. The surgeon in charge examined him, and pronounced the wound mortal , and refused to even dress it, and in consequence, he lay six days without receiving any medical treatment, but notwithstanding the desperate nature of the wound, Major kept calling regularly for his three rations each day, and what is still more singular, the ball passed through the body from hip to hip, yet there was an entire absence of fever, very little suppuration , and his appetite was as good as ever, and he was almost entirely free from pain during the entire time. After he was taken from the field of battle he was placed in a stock car, and jolted over the road to the hospital in Nashville, but notwithstanding all this rough treatment, and in defiance of the doctors, he persisted in getting well.
He sent in his resignation, but it was not accepted. He did camp duty after his convalescence, but was unable for active duty. He returned from the service on the date above mentioned. After his return home he engaged in mercantile business and the lumber trade. During the last few years he has been in the real estate business.
He was a democrat until 1860, and from that time has been a republican. On the 21st of March, 1850, he married Miss Mary OUTHOUSE, a native of Clinton county. She died July 19th, 1868. Five children by that marriage, two of whom are living. Both Anna and Nora are at home.
He is a member of the A. F. & A. M., belonging to Scott Lodge, No. 79, Carlyle, Ill. He is a member of the M. E. Church. He was elected the first police magistrate of Clement, and is yet in office.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
Submitted by: Pamela Safriet
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