Grand Army of the Republic
William Christie Johnson
Commander-in-Chief 1898 / 1899

William Christie Johnson was born March 19, 1843 on a farm near Bantam, Clermont County, Ohio. He was the son of John S. and Susan Johnson. Both parents' families were early Ohio pioneers. In September 1860 he entered Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, but was forced to withdraw a year later due to illness.

On August 7, 1862 Brother Johnson enlisted as a Private in Company F, 89th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. As part of the 14th Corps, Army of the Cumberland, he participated with the regiment in the Tullahoma Campaign, and the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga. He was commissioned on April 18, 1864 as 2nd Lt. of Company A, 42nd U.S. Colored Troops (a unit within the Army of the Cumberland). Brother Johnson was mustered out on January 31, 1866.

In 1867 he worked as a druggist in Union City, Indiana. From 1873 to 1878 he was a bank cashier at Portland, Indiana. From 1881 to 1898 he was the manager of Johnson Brothers Hardware Co.

He was elected Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief at the 32nd National Encampment in Cincinnati, Ohio in September 1898. Upon the death of Commander-in-Chief James A. Sexton on February 5, 1899, Brother Johnson became acting Commander-in-Chief. He was unanimously elected Commander-in-Chief at the 33rd National Encampment in Philadelphia in September 1899 and retired with highest honors.

In 1900 he was elected a member and Vice President of the Board of Public Service of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Brother Johnson married Lida Littelle of Delaware, Ohio on May 10, 1866 and they had three children: Eugene, Walter, and Bessie. Mrs. Johnson died February 28, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri and Brother Johnson died April 27, 1918 in Cincinnati. Both are buried at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati.

Submitted by: George G. Kane
July 2001

Biography submitted by:
PDC Jim Houston
Dept. of Ohio
December 2003

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