Campbell Haussman Johnson

by Edmund Starling, 1886

 

CAMPBELL HAUSSMAN JOHNSON was born in the City of Henderson on the ninth day of February, 1844. He is the youngest child of Dr. Thomas J. Johnson and Juliet S. Rankin, and was named for Mrs. Campbell Haussman, wife of John Haussman, first clerk of Henderson County. Dr. Johnson, father of the subject of our sketch, was born in Franklin County and came to Henderson in 1819. Juliet S. Rankin, mother of our subject, was a daughter of Dr. Adam Rankin, one of the pioneers to this county. By the marriage of Dr. Johnson, eight children were born--Ben, Bettie, Adam R., Thomas J., William S. and Campbell H. Two died in infancy. The subject of this sketch, in early life, entered the drug store of Ira Delano, where he remained until the breaking out of the war, and at the age of seventeen years, enlisted in the Union Army, a member of Captain Cooper's battery of artillery. Failing to recruit the necessary number of men, Captain Cooper's company was merged into Colonel Shackelford's Twenty-fifth Kentucky Infantry. Upon the formation of the regiment, young Johnson was made Commissary of Company "F," and then Orderly Sergeant of Company "D." The Twenty-fifth, after the battle of Shiloh, was consolidated with the Seventeenth Kentucky, Col. John H. McHenry commanding, and young Johnson was made Second Lieutenant of Company "E." About this time he was stricken by partial paralysis of the left side and was sent back to Kentucky. He was placed on detached duty at Park Barracks, Louisville, as Adjutant. He was frequently engaged on special duty in bearing message and detective service. In August, 1862, finding his health still impaired, he tendered his resignation, and, for several months, filled the position of mail agent on one of the other of the then Louisville and Henderson mailboats. Returning to Henderson he entered the grocery and dry goods store of Semonin & Tisserand, where he remained a short time. He then studied bookkeeping for a time at the Louisville Commercial College. Returning to Henderson again, he entered the drug store of Lyne & Johnson, where he remained until January, 1865. During that month he accepted a position in the prescription drug store of Dr. T. G. Chiles, at St. Louis, where he remained until called home by the illness of his father. On the seventeenth day of July, 1865, he and his brother William formed a copartnership under the firm name of W. S. Johnson & Bro., and purchased the stock of F. B. Cromwell.

On the sixteenth day of May, 1867, Mr. Johnson was married to Miss Fannie Lee Evans, third daughter of Thomas Evans and granddaughter of Rev. Thomas Evans, a pioneer preacher of the Methodist Church. Six children have been born unto them, three boys and three girls. The eldest son died in infancy. There are now living, Campbell H., Evans F., Fannie, Henrietta and Bettie R.

In February, 1880, the firm of W. S. Johnson & Bro. purchased the entire stock of books, stationery, etc., owned by B. C. Redford, and, under the firm name of C. H. Johnson & Bro., added largely thereto and commenced business. Subsequently they purchased a complete job printing outfit, and, for several years, carried on an extensive business in that line. On March 18th, 1886, the two brothers exchanged interests, W. S. Johnson taking the drug store and C. H. Johnson the book store.

Mr. Johnson is a member, and, for seventeen years, a Deacon in the Presbyterian Church, and a zealous Mason. He is a working Mason in the best sense of that term. He was initiated into Jerusalem Lodge, No. 9, Henderson, in January, 1867, passed in February and raised in March of the same year. He was elected Junior Warden December 27th, 1870; elected Worshipful Master December 27th, 1872, and re-elected December, 1873. He served on the Committee on Lodges under dispensation in the Grand Lodge of 1873, and was appointed Grand Marshal at the same meeting; Junior Grand Warden in 1874 and Senior Grand Warden in October, 1875; Deputy Grand Master in October, 1876, and Most Worshipful Grand Master in October, 1877. The Grand Lodge, at this meeting, passed a resolution making it the duty of the Grand Master to enforce the payment of "The Masonic Widows' and Orphans' Home of Kentucky," In the performance of this duty imposed by the Grand Lodge, Grand Master Johnson was forced to deal promptly and severely with a number of Subordinate Lodges, and even arrest their charters; but, by his prompt and decisive action, insubordination was checked in a very short time, and, ere the next meeting of the Grand Lodge, almost all of the rebellious Lodges were induced by him to pay the tax and return to their allegiance to the Grand Lodge. The Board of Directors of "The Home" were so much pleased with this happy termination of affairs that they hurried the completion of "The Home" that Grand Master Johnson should have the pleasure and honor of dedicating this noble charity, which he did on the twenty-third day of October, 1878, in the presence of several thousand citizens and members of the fraternity. From a New York Masonic paper the following is taken:

     "As Grand Master, he wielded the gavel with a grace and intelligence that dignified the position, magnified the office, expedited the business and gave the craft both pleasure and profit. Notwithstanding he is the youngest man who has ever reached the Grand Master's chair in Kentucky, his administration, full of difficult and perplexing work, gave general satisfaction, and he retired from his arduous labors with his cup full to overflowing with congratulations upon his successful career as Grand Master."

After receiving the capitular degrees of Masonry, Mr. Johnson was anxious to attain to the orders of Knighthood, and as there was no commandery of Knights Templar at Henderson and only three or four Knights, he, nothing daunted, wrote a petition for a dispensation, secured the signatures of a sufficient number by borrowing names from Owensboro, furnished the means necessary to start a Commandery, and, in December, 1871, Henderson Commandery, under dispensation, now No. 14, was instituted, and he was the first Knight dubbed and created therein." He was the first Prelate of this Commandery, and is now the Prelate. He has also served Henderson R. A. Chapter, No. 65, as High Priest.

In addition to attaining to all the degrees in York Masonry, Mr. Johnson has also attained to all the degrees of the A. A., Scottish Rite, up to and including the thirty-third and last degree, and is now Special Deputy Inspector General for the Southern jurisdiction of Kentucky. He is also a member of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, a social order whose sacred precinct is only open to Knights Templar or thirty-second degree members of the Scottish Rite. The sum of Past Grand Master Johnson's Masonic history  is as follows: Past Master, Past High Priest, Past Eminent Commander, Past Grand Master and Honorary Inspector General of the Supreme Council, thirty-third degree A. and A., Scottish Rite.

In his business he is diligent-he eats no idle bread. During his administration as Grand Master, a Lodge was established at Pool Town, Ky., and bears his name, "Campbell H. Johnson Lodge, No.604."

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