William B. Johnson

Class of
William B. Johnson

William B. Johnson

“There were many amusing incidents on that crowded trip [of April 22, 1889]. Every available space was occupied and the train…traveled only about five miles an hour so that those who wished to do so could drop off, which many did, to secure a homestead.”
William Johnson


William Benjamin Johnson was born in Kentucky and graduated from Ghent College before receiving his law degree from the University of Michigan in 1882. Later that year, he opened his first law practice in Gainesville, Texas, and married Annie Conlee in 1886. He was appointed United States Commissioner at Ardmore in 1890 and was in partnership with lawyers A.C. Cruce and later, Lee Cruce, the second governor of Oklahoma. He was appointed as attorney for the U.S. Courts for the Southern District of Indian Territory (1898-1906). In 1911 he was Lieutenant Colonel on the staff of Governor Lee Cruce and was the Oklahoma delegate to the American Mining Congress in 1912. Johnston was also appointed by the Chickasaw Nation to represent them in all matters of citizenship and allotments of lands throughout his career.

Fun fact

Though there was never any explanation given, President Theodore Roosevelt sent a telegram to William Johnson on December 18, 1905, firing him from his job as U.S. Attorney in Ardmore. A second telegram was received later that same day in which the President apologized and reappointed Johnson to the post for another year.

Oklahoma connections

Johnson first came to Oklahoma during the day of the Land Run of April 22, 1889, and settled in Ardmore, Indian Territory, as U.S. Commissioner (1890-1939).








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