JOHNSON, Ovid
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JOHNSON, OVID FRAZER, was born in the year 1807, in the Valley of Wyoming, near the town of Wilkes-Barre; died February, 1854, in Washington, D. C. He was descended from some of the early settlers of that historical locality. His paternal grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Johnson, was a superior linguist and man of rich education and culture; a graduate of Yale College, he took his degree as early as 1740, with distinguished honor. In 1778 he was called from his home in Connecticut to reside in Wilkes-Barre. After that terrible event, the massacre of Wyoming, he assisted Colonel Dennison with his advice and influence, in protecting the inhabitants that remained, and the original articles of capitulation were in the proper handwriting of Mr. Johnson. In quite a lengthy biography, written of him in the year 1836 by the historian of Wyoming, Charles Miner, appears this: “When the Revolutionary war broke out, Mr. Johnson took his stand early and firmly in behalf of freedom. And through the whole contest he rendered the utmost service in his power, which, from his learning, talents, and the respect he commanded, was very considerable. A son, born while the animated discussions preceding the Revolution were going on and the elder Pitt was thundering his anathemas against ministers for their tyrannous conduct to the Colonies, Mr. Johnson named Jehoiada Pitt. . . . Jehoiada is sometime since deceased, but a son of his with hereditary genius is winning his way to enviable distinction.” The latter is the subject of this sketch. At the close of his early education, in which he had as school and class-mates many who afterwards rose to positions of eminence and distinction, he commenced the study of law with John N. Conyngham, of Wilkes-Barre, afterwards Judge Conyngham. He was duly admitted to the bar and entered into the practice of the law at that place. In 1833 he removed to Harrisburg, and there married. In 1839, at the early age of thirty-two years, his talent secured for him the appointment as attorney general of Pennsylvania. In 1842, his term of office having expired, he was re-appointed and served through a second term until 1845. As an orator, Mr. Johnson was brilliant; as a lawyer, he had superior abilities, and somewhat of a wide-known reputation, being frequently employed to try cases in different States of the Union. It may be here remarked that, in addition to Mr. Johnson's legal ability, he had a high reputation as a political writer. He was the author of the celebrated “Governor’s Letters,” published during the administration of Governor Ritner, and which purported to give the ludicrous side to the political characters then figuring in the politics of the State. Mr. Johnson married Jane Alricks, daughter of James Alricks. She was born in 1808 at Oakland Mills, in Lost Creek Valley, now Juniata county, Pa., and died December 21, 1891, at Harrisburg, Pa. Of their children, Ovid Frazer Johnson is a prominent lawyer at the Philadelphia bar.