Johnson, John (2)

Johnson, John (2), an able and popular minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, born in Louisa Co., Va., Jan. 7, 1783; joined the Church in 1807, and entered the Conference at Liberty Hill, Tennessee in 1808. Two years after he removed to Kentucky, and was appointed first to the Sandy River Circuit, and in 1811 to Natchez Circuit. His early educational advantages had been few, and when he entered the ministry of his Church he can hardly be said to have possessed a fair English education; but unremitting efforts to gain knowledge at last made him one of the best scholars of his Conference. Thus, while at the Natchez Circuit, he displayed an extensive knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew, of which no one had believed him to have an idea even, and from that time he began to rise rapidly in the estimation of his colleagues. He now took rank with. Lakin, Sale, Page, Blackman, and Oglesby, and was regarded by many as the most remarkable preacher of the West. In 1812 he was appointed to the Nashville Circuit; then successively to the Livingston, Christian, and Goose Creek, and finally again to the Livingston Circuit; and in 1818 he was sent to the Nashville Station. While here he engaged in a controversy on the question of immersion with the Baptist preacher Vardeman, in which he is generally believed to have come off victor; at least from this event dates his great popularity in the West. "Henceforth," says Redford (Methodism in Kentucky, 2, 143), "the name of John Johnson was the synonym of success in religious controversies." From 1820 he filled successively the Red River, Hopkinsville, and Russellville Circuits, and in 1823 he was stationed at Louisville, and in 1824 at Maysville, and, after several years of rest, was in 1831 appointed presiding elder of the Green River, and in 1832 of Hopkinsville District. In 1835 he was finally located, and he now removed to Mt.Vernon, Illinois. Here he died April 9, 1858. "As a Christian," says the Western Christian Advocate (May 26, 1858), "brother Johnson was consistent, exemplary, and deeply devoted. 'Holiness to the Lord' appears to have been his motto. He died in great peace, testifying, as his flesh and heart failed, that God was the strength of his heart and his portion forever." (J.H.W.)

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