Hoosier Dusty Files - December 28, 1804 - John Johnson Appointed Chief Justice of First Territorial Supreme Court
|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
John Johnson (? - September 17, 1817)
Historians know little of Johnson's early life. A native of Pennsylvania, Kentucky or Virginia, he moved to Vincennes in the Indiana Territory in 1804 and started a law practice. He helped the Indiana Territory achieve "second grade" status, which meant the territory was entitled to non-voting congressional representation in the United States House of Representatives. He gained election to the Territorial assembly and, together with a man named John Rice Jones, helped codify the laws of the territory. The Territorial Assembly adopted this code with some revisions and it became the foundation of Territorial law until Statehood was achieved in 1816. When Jonathan Jennings became president of the Constitutional Convention in Corydon in 1816, he appointed Johnson the task of drafting the judicial section. Jennings appointed Johnson as Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court, his term beginning December 28, 1816. The other Justices were James Scott and Jesse Holman. The court went into session in May. Johnson died during the court's first recess, before any major decisions were made.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning