JOHNSON, Robert Ward, (1814 - 1879)

Senate Years of Service: 1853-1861
Party: Democrat

Courtesy U.S. Senate Historical Office

JOHNSON, Robert Ward, (nephew of James Johnson [1774-1826], John Telemachus Johnson and Richard Mentor Johnson, and brother-in-law of Ambrose Sevier), a Representative and a Senator from Arkansas; born in Scott County, Ky., July 22, 1814; moved with his father to Arkansas in 1821; attended the Choctaw Academy and St. Joseph’s College, Bardstown, Ky.; studied law and commenced practice in Little Rock, Ark., in 1835; prosecuting attorney for the Little Rock circuit 1840-1842 and State attorney general ex officio; elected as a Democrat to the Thirtieth, Thirty-first, and Thirty-second Congresses (March 4, 1847-March 3, 1853); chairman, Committee on Indian Affairs (Thirty-first and Thirty-second Congresses); declined to be a candidate for renomination in 1852; appointed and subsequently elected to the United States Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Solon Borland; reelected in 1855 and served from July 6, 1853, to March 3, 1861; was not a candidate for reelection in 1860; chairman, Committee on Printing (Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth Congresses), Committee on Public Lands (Thirty-sixth Congress), Committee on Military Affairs and Militia (Thirty-sixth Congress); delegate to the Provisional Government of the Confederate States in 1862; member of the Confederate Senate 1862-1865; engaged in the practice of law in Washington, D.C.; unsuccessful candidate for election to the United States Senate from Arkansas in 1878; died in Little Rock, Ark., July 26, 1879; interment in Mount Holly Cemetery.


Dictionary of American Biography; Lewis, Elsie M. "Robert Ward Johnson: Militant Spokesman of the Old-South-West." Arkansas Historical Quarterly 13 (Spring 1954): 16-30.