Johnson, Samuel Ealy, Sr. (1838–1915)

By: Dayton Kelley

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: February 1, 1995

Samuel Ealy Johnson, Sr., cattleman, soldier, and grandfather of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the tenth child of Jesse and Lucy Webb (Barnett) Johnson, was born in Alabama on November 12, 1838. The family moved to Georgia and in 1846 to Lockhart, Texas. Sam's parents died in the late 1850s, and Sam and his brother Jesse Thomas built a port-holed rock barn as a headquarters for their cattle business at what is now Johnson City. Sam enlisted in Col. Xavier Blanchard Debray's regiment on September 18, 1861, and served until the end of the Civil War on the coast of Texas and in Louisiana. He was present at the battle of Galveston and at the battle of Pleasant Hill in Louisiana. After the war he returned to Lockhart and Johnson City and resumed his cattle buying. He and his brother trailed cattle to Kansas and Montana from 1870 to 1873. Johnson was married to Eliza Bunton on December 11, 1867, in Lockhart, and the couple set up housekeeping in the log cabin at Johnson City that the two brothers had used before the war. They moved to Caldwell County and later to Buda in Hays County, where all but the oldest of their nine children were born. The family returned to Blanco County about 1889 and settled on the Pedernales River twelve miles from Johnson City. Johnson died of pneumonia at Stonewall, Texas, on February 25, 1915.

Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power (New York: Knopf, 1982). Robert Dallek, Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908–1960 (New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991). J. Marvin Hunter, Trail Drivers of Texas (2 vols., San Antonio: Jackson Printing, 1920, 1923; 4th ed., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985). Rebekah Baines Johnson, A Family Album, ed. J. S. Moursund (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965). John Moursund, Blanco County Families for One Hundred Years (Austin, 1958). John W. Speer, A History of Blanco County (Austin: Pemberton, 1965).
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

Dayton Kelley, “Johnson, Samuel Ealy, Sr.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 17, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

February 1, 1995