Copyright 2009.
All Rights Reserved.

The Mystery Ex-Governor Johnson Son

Three contemporary newspaper reports have conflicting information.

Maryland Sun, dated September 17, 1853 has this:

"From the 3d to the 6th instant, there were 20 yellow fever deaths at Thibodaux, La, including the youngest son of Ex-Gov. Johnson"

Maryland Sun Discussion:
The son's death occurred between the 3rd and 6th of September.  Isaac Johnson's son Walter T. Johnson died, probably around Bayou Sara, on September 6, 1853 of yellow fever.  However, Walter T. was not the youngest son of Isaac Johnson.  Isaac remarried after his wife Charlotte's death and had a third son named Joel.  Joel died in 1852.

It seems that the Maryland Sun article is confused, properly reporting the death of Isaac Johnson's son Walter but confusing it with the report from Thibodaux and mistakenly reporting the son as 'youngest son".

Maryland Trenton State , dated September 17, 1853 has this:

Baltimore, Sept 16.

The New Orleans papers of Friday last have been received.  They contain reports of the prevalence of the fever at various points on the river and along the coast.  At Thibodeaux 20 deaths occurred in 3 days. -- At Bayou Sara, much sickness was prevailing, and a son of Ex-Governor Johnson had died of the fever."

Maryland Trenton State Discussion:
This article appears to be less confused, almost clearly separating the Thibodaux deaths from the death at Bayou Sara, which is where Isaac Johnson lived before his death in March of 1853.

Thibodaux Minerva
has this line:

Monday, the 19th, Thomas W. Johnson, from Maryland

Thibodaux Minerva Discussion:
Gov. Henry Johnson was in the U. S. Senate for 3 terms until 1849 and his wife was born in Maryland and had family in Maryland.  The date of the 19th does not agree with either of the newspaper articles.

The name Thomas is suspicious, since we do not know of a 'Thomas' in either Henry Johnson's family nor Elizabeth Key's family.  An 1850 Thibodaux census, lists Thomas W. Johnson, wife and two children, again with suspicious names; plus his occupation is 'Painter'.  Henry Johnson was very wealthy as was the Key family.

If a conclusion is possible it might be that a son of Ex-Gov. Johnson died of yellow fever, but it was not in Thibodaux and was not Henry Johnson's son.


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