Growing up in Ohio, young Johnson attended the public graded and high school at Syracuse. Of this period he says, "I learned to love study of early life, and did much at home on Sunday and at night." He had to make his own way in college. He was converted at the early age of 14, and joined the A. M. E. church. Feeling called to the work of the ministry, he determined to secure a better education than that afforded by the local schools. He says, "I worked in Columbus, and saved enough money to get started in Wilberforce University. I was graduated from that institution with the B. D. degree in 1903. I joined the Conference at Xenia in 1903, under Bishop B. W. Arnett, and was sent to the A. M. E. Church at Huntington. From there I was sent to Echman, where a house of worship was erected and paid for in three years."
Finding himself particularly popular with the young people Dr. Johnson gave special attention to their needs and training. He moved to the growing town of Keystone, and in order that he might be self supporting learned the shoe trade. At the same time he was active in religious work. As there was no Methodist church at Keystone, he went into the S. S. of the Presbyterian church just then beginning its work at Keystone. He and others have succeeded in making of it a well organized, modern Sunday School.
He has also prospered in a business way. Having learned his trade, he bought out the shop in which he had learned and continued the business for himself. As his trade grew he enlarged his facilities, added machines till he now has a first-class shop and is himself an employer.
Among the secret orders, he is identified with the Masons and Odd Fellows. He is especially active in the work of the Odd Fellows, being Grand Secretary of the West Virginia Grand Lodge. On October 8, 1910, he married Miss Marie Woods, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Woods of Pittsburgh, Pa. They have four children, Aaron R., Langdon E., Jr., George R. and Nelson W. Johnson.
In politics Mr. Johnson is a Republican, though he has taken no active part in politics. He believes in development along distinctly racial lines. He believes that training in morals and in Christianity as well as intellectual training should be emphasized during the early formative years when training is most important.
Mr. Johnson has made himself felt in his community not only as a business man but as a force for righteousness. As Superintendent of the Sunday Schools, leader of the junior choir and other activities, he exerts a good influence on the young life of the community.
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center