|OF CAMBRIA COUNTY.||345|
the port of Philadelphia. Mrs. Johnson and her family settled at Milesburg, Centre county, Penn., in 1801 ; and at Bellefonte in 1806, where William Johnson, her son, was naturalized. The latter married, in 1804, Miss Jane Ramsey, of Milesburg, whose mother was a Blair, and claimed purely Scottish ancestry.
The subject of this sketch was the sixth of eleven children born to this marriage. His infancy and youth were spent before Pennsylvania had adopted the common-school system, and, therefore, his early education was such only as could be gathered at the private schools then in existence. Compared with the splendid advantages of the present day, those he enjoyed scarcely deserve mention; but the lad was studious by nature, and through an accident at the age of fourteen, by which he lost entirely the use of one of his limbs and was confined to his home for a long period, he was enabled to devote himself industriously to such books as were procurable, and thus by means of one misfortune repaired another, at least to a considerable extent. The profession of law seemed to him to present special advantages for life work, and to be more in consonance with his wishes than any other vocation, and although conscious of his educational shortcomings he determined to attempt its mastery. Accordingly, in 1839, he removed to Cambria county, and entering the office of the late Dan Maghean, Esq., a lawyer of excellent repute and extended practice, he began his studies. In the spring of 1841, he was admitted to practice, and from that period down to his death devoted himself mainly to professional and judicial work. In 1845 he was elected county treasurer, and after serving in this office was elected, in 1851, prothonotary of the county. In both of these positions he was distinguished for his probity
and the faithful performance of duty. A democrat in matters of national policy, judge Johnson always took a more or less prominent part in politics in connection with his party, and in 1864 and 1866, was its candidate for Congress in the district in which he lived. The majority in his district holding adverse political views, he was defeated on both occasions. As a lawyer Judge Johnson was known throughout a wide section of the State for his superior skill and the great energy with which he prosecuted his cases. A practice of nearly half a century gave him a rare command of legal knowledge and of the intricacies and technicalities of his profession. His great success resulted from diligence and study, aided by unvarying honesty and an absolute freedom from the pettiness and trickery which occasionally stain legal practice. He was known also as a high-minded citizen, whose promises and obligations were faithfully redeemed on all occasions, and in consequence he possessed the esteem, not only of his professional associates, but also of the great body of his fellow-citizens. In religious belief, Judge Johnson was a conscientious and professing member of the Roman Catholic church, a regular attendant at its services and a liberal contributor to its charities. In a wide social circle he was respected as a man of upright and pure life.
In the fall of 1883, Judge Johnson was elected president judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Cambria county. He took his seat on the bench on his sixty-ninth birthday, January 7, 1884, and until his death filled his judicial position with fearlessness and impartiality. He was faithful to the high trust imposed in him.
Judge Johnson was twice married. On October 13, 1842, he was married to Eveline