JOHNSON, Herschel Vespasian, (1812 - 1880)

Senate Years of Service: 1848-1849
Party: Democrat

Library of Congress

JOHNSON, Herschel Vespasian, a Senator from Georgia; born near Farmer’s Bridge, Burke County, Ga., September 18, 1812; attended private schools and Monaghan Academy near Warrenton; graduated from the University of Georgia at Athens in 1834; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1834 and commenced practice; moved to a plantation, “Sandy Grove,” in Jefferson County in 1839 and practiced law in Louisville; unsuccessful Democratic candidate in 1843 for election to fill a vacancy in the Twenty-eighth Congress; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket 1844; moved to Milledgeville, Ga., in 1844 and continued the practice of law; unsuccessful candidate for nomination as Governor in 1847; appointed as a Democrat to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Walter T. Colquitt and served from February 4, 1848, to March 3, 1849; was not a candidate for election to fill this vacancy; chairman, Committee on the District of Columbia (Thirtieth Congress); judge of the superior court of the Ocmulgee circuit 1849-1853; presidential elector on the Democratic ticket 1852; Governor of Georgia 1853-1857; returned to his plantation near Louisville, Jefferson County, in 1857; unsuccessful candidate for Vice President of the United States on the Douglas Democratic ticket in 1860; delegate to the State secession convention at Milledgeville in 1861; a Senator from Georgia in the Second Confederate Congress 1862-1865; president of the State constitutional convention in 1865; presented credentials in 1866 as a Senator-elect to the United States Senate but was not permitted to qualify; resumed the practice of law in Louisville; appointed judge of the middle circuit of Georgia in 1873 and served until his death on his plantation near Louisville, Ga., August 16, 1880; interment in the Old Louisville Cemetery.


Bibliography

American National Biography; Dictionary of American Biography; Flippin, Percy. Herschel V. Johnson of Georgia, State Rights Unionist. Richmond: Press of Deitz Printing Co., 1931; Greeman, Elizabeth D. “Stephen A. Douglas and Herschel V. Johnson: Examples of National Men in the Sectional Crisis of 1860.” Ph.D. dissertation, Duke University, 1974.