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“J” is for Johnson, David (1782-1855)

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

“J” is for Johnson, David (1782-1855). Jurist, governor. A native of Virginia, Johnson’s family moved to South Carolina in 1789 and settled in Chester District. In 1810 he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He was elected a circuit court judge in 1815. In 1824 he was elevated to the Court of Appeals, serving as the presiding judge from 1830 to 1835. When the court ruled the state’s militia test oath law unconstitutional, the legislature abolished the court. Johnson was transferred to the Court of Equity and Court of Appeals in Equity, serving as chief judge until 1846. In 1846 he was unanimously elected governor. A Unionist for much of his career, David Johnson later supported the right of secession but opposed separate state action on the part of South Carolina.

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Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar received his B.A. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.