JAMES JOHNSON, Georgia’s 28th Governor, was born in Robinson County, North Carolina, on February 12, 1811. He graduated from the University of Georgia in 1832, studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1835, and established a legal career in Columbus, Georgia. He entered politics in 1851 as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, an office he held until 1853. Johnson, who disagreed with secession, was appointed by President Andrew Johnson as Provisional Governor of Georgia on June 17, 1865. During his tenure, he summoned a state convention, which sanctioned the 13th Amendment; it produced a new state constitution, abolished the Ordinance of Secession, and renounced the Confederate debt. Also, new elections dates were drafted for governor and other state offices, and consequently Johnson left office five days after the installation of Charles J. Jenkins on December 14, 1865. Johnson ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1866, served as U.S. collector of customs at Savannah from 1866 to 1869, was a presidential elector in 1868 on the Republican ticket, and served on the bench of the Georgia Superior Court from 1869 to 1875. Governor James Johnson died on November 20, 1891, and is buried in the Linwood Cemetery in Columbus.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 1, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.