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Johnson, John R. [1843–1889] (1843–1889)

Aragorn Storm Miller Biography Entry

John R. Johnson, farmer and Confederate officer, was born in Red River County, Texas, on January 10, 1843. He was the son of Balda C. and Mary E. (Mitchell) Johnson. Johnson was educated in Red River County. In May 1862 he enlisted as a private in Company H of the Twentieth Texas Cavalry Regiment. Almost immediately, however, he was elected as captain in charge of Company C. He served with this unit in several actions in Arkansas beginning in September 1862, including the battles of Prairie Grove, Mansfield, and Yellow Bayou. In March 1864 the Twentieth Cavalry was reorganized into a four-company battalion, and Johnson, now a major, was given command of the new unit. Johnson was with his unit in Fort Bend County, Texas, immediately prior to the surrender of the Trans-Mississippi Department in May 1865. In 1875 Johnson married Della J. Saunders of Grayson County. This couple had four children. Johnson owned 1,200 acres of land in Grayson County. He served two terms as county sheriff, as well as tax collector. Johnson belonged to both the Farmer's Alliance as well as the Knights Templar. He died on December 6, 1889 and is buried in Clarksville Cemetery.

Biographical Souvenir of the State of Texas: Containing Biographical Sketches of the Representative Public, and Many Early Settled Families (Chicago: Battey, 1889; rpt., Easley, South Carolina: Southern Historical Press, 1978).


  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Sheriffs

Time Periods:

  • Civil War

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Aragorn Storm Miller, “Johnson, John R. [1843–1889],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 24, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: