DAVID JOHNSON was born in Louisa County, Virginia. After attending a classical school in York County, Virginia, he studied law in South Carolina and was admitted to the South Carolina Bar. He organized the Palmetto Regiment during the Mexican War. He was a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1812; Solicitor, Middle Circuit, Union District of South Carolina from 1812 to 1815; Circuit Judge, 1815 to 1824; Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals from 1824 to 1835; and Chancellor of South Carolina in 1835. A major subject of debate during Johnson’s gubernatorial administration was the Wilmot Proviso, which sought by congressional action to prevent the spread of slavery into any territory acquired by the United States from Mexico. As a result of the proviso, demands for South Carolina to secede from the Union grew.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 4. Westport, CT: Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 12. New York: James T. White & Company.