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“J” is for Johnson, Sir Nathaniel (1644-1712)

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“J” is for Johnson, Sir Nathaniel (1644-1712). Governor. A native of Durham County, England, Johnson was a successful merchant and a member of Parliament for Newcastle. In 1686 he was appointed governor of the Leeward Islands and was also named a cassique of South Carolina. In 1703, with the support of the leading proprietors, Johnson assumed the governorship. Under his auspices the colony passed two acts in 1704—popularly known as the exclusion Act and the Church Act. The first permitted only communicants of the Church of England to hold office, while the second established the Church of England as the colony’s official church. The acts were disallowed in England, but Johnson and his allies enacted a less rigid Establishment Act in 1706, which formed the basis of South Carolina’s ecclesiastical and local government until 1778.

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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.