The early pioneers of Clinton county have a worthy representative in the person of Capt. A. H. Johnson, who became a resident of the county in 1818. His grandfather, Hugh Johnson, was born of Scotch ancestry, in North Carolina, and served as a soldier in the revolutionary war. He afterward became one of the early settlers of Kentucky, making his home within two miles of Hopkinsville, in Christian county, of that state. About the year 1812, he moved from Kentucky, to New Madrid county, Mo., where he lived at the time of the celebrated earthquake with which that locality was visited. He subsequently came to Illinois, and died in the vicinity of Trenton, at the age of eighty-five. His wife, Winnie Flaherty, was of Irish descent. John Johnson, father of the subject of this sketch, was born in Christian county, Kentucky, in the year 1788. He was married in Missouri to Margaret Powers, a native of Wayne county of that state. In 1818, he became a resident of Clinton county, Illinois, settled east of Trenton, and died in 1833, at the age of forty-five.
Alexander Hugh Johnson, the second of ten children of John and Margaret Johnson, was born in New Madrid county, Missouri, August 29, 1816. He was named after his grandfather, Hugh, and the captain who commanded the company in which his grandfather served during the war of the revolution. He was about eighteen months old when his father removed from Missouri to Illinois in March, 1818. At that time few improvements had been made in the vicinity where they settled. Across the Looking Glass prairie to Lebanon there was no house nor even a road. Schools were a rare institution, and six months' instruction was all that he received in a school-room. His education was mostly obtained at home in the night by the light of a log fire. His father appreciated the advantages of an education, and made the boys study whenever there was opportunity. They were obliged to recite two lessons to him every Sunday.
Having grown to manhood, he was married on the 14th of April, 1837, to Rebecca Phelps who was born in Tennessee on the 7th of August, 1817. He then went to farming for himself, and improved some land a mile and a half south of Trenton, which is the farm now owned by Thomas Graesser. In 1846 his wife died. His second marriage took place on the 11th of March, 1847, to Cynthia Ann Tozer, daughter of Samuel Tozer. She was born near Shiloh, St. Clair county, Sept. 20, 1825. Her father, Samuel Tozer, was a Pennsylvanian, and an early settler of St. Clair county.
In 1846, he enlisted in company A, of the 1st Illinois regiment, for service in the war with Mexico. The regiment was not called into actual service till March, 1847, when it rendezvoused at Alton, from there went to Fort Leavenworth, and thence marched on foot across the plains to Santa Fe, New Mexico. From Leavenworth to Santa Fe not a single human habitation was to be seen. The expedition was commanded by Gen. Sterling Price. From Santa Fe they descended the Rio Grande to Albuquerque, and from there marched to California. At Santa Cruz, New Mexico, occurred an engagement with the Mexicans, and at several places along the route there were skirmishes with the Indians. After remaining in California several months the regiment returned by the same route. At Albuquerque, news reached them of the treaty of peace which had been concluded several months previous. On the organization of the company he had been elected second lieutenant, and held that rank during the remainder of his service, though at Santa Fe, in the fall of 1847, he was appointed quarter-master of the brigade and served as such till his return. He arrived back in Illinois, in October, 1848.
In 1855, Capt. Johnson moved to Trenton, and built the mill now owned by Andrew Eisenmayer. The dwelling-house which he built was the first in the town, with the exception of' an old farmhouse which stood there previous to the building of the railroad. In 1860, he moved to Henry county, Mo., but in consequence of a severe drouth in that section returned to Illinois the same summer, and purchased the land which comprises his present farm
In August, 1861, the first year of the war of the rebellion, he enlisted as a private in Company K, 30th Illinois regiment, and was mustered in as captain of the company. From Jacksonville the regiment went to Cairo, where it remained till November. The first engagement with the Confederates was at Belmont, November 7, 1861. After an expedition to Kentucky, the regiment returned to Cairo, and from there proceeded up the Tennessee river, and took part in the capture of Fort Henry in February, 1862, and from there marched across, and participated in the battle of Fort Donelson. In this engagement he acted as major of his regiment. Soon afterward on account of his brother's death, he resigned his commission and returned to Clinton county, and has since been living on his farm, a mile and a half east of Trenton.
He has eight children living: Caroline, wife of Samuel Crane; Lucinda, a twin sister, now Mrs. James Riggs, residing in Texas; Leonora, who married William Cornell; Samuel L., who lives in Wayne county, Mo.; Salena H., wife of John H. Adams, principal of the public school of Trenton; Maria; Stephen A.; and George.
Capt. Johnson was originally a Whig. His vote helped to elect Gen. Harrison to the presidency in 1840. On the dissolution of the Whig party, he became a democrat. From 1852 to 1856 he served as associate judge of the county court. In 1856, he was elected justice of the peace, and filled that office for three successive terms, or twelve years. He was again elected to the same position in 1881. He has served fourteen years as county surveyor of Clinton county, and for several years before that acted as deputy, so that for forty years he has been more or less engaged in surveying lands in Clinton county. He has long been connected with the Masonic organization, and for several terms has served as Master of' the Masonic lodge at Trenton.
Source: History of Marion and Clinton Counties, Illinois, 1881, Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia
Submitted by: Mr. Kent Worley
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