PAUL B. JOHNSON, SR., the forty-sixth governor of Mississippi, was born in Hillsboro, Mississippi on March 23, 1880. His education was attained at Harpersville College and at Millsaps College, where he studied law. He established a successful legal career, serving as Hattiesburg city court judge for four years. He also served as circuit judge of the 12th Judicial District from 1910 to 1919. Johnson entered politics as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1919 to 1923. He next secured the Democratic gubernatorial nomination and was elected governor by a popular vote in November 1939. He was sworn into office on January 16, 1940. During his tenure, a free textbook law was sanctioned; senior citizen pension benefits were improved; the homestead exemption law was revised; and social and welfare programs were advanced. While in office, Johnson suffered a heart attack, and consequently passed away on December 26, 1943. Governor Paul B. Johnson Sr. was buried in the City Cemetery in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.