Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Stillwell Heady Russell (1846-1914), Stillwell Heady (1782-1852)

Portrait from the Inola Register, May 21, 1914.

   Texas native Stillwell Heady Russell left an imprint in the political life of two different states, being a district attorney, congressional candidate, U.S. Marshal, and constitutional convention delegate in Texas and, following his removal to Oklahoma in 1899, was elected as a district court judge. Russell reached his highest degree of public prominence in 1914 when he was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, serving in that capacity until his death two months later. 
   Born in Brazoria County, Texas on Valentine's Day 1846, Stillwell Heady Russell was the son of William Jarvis (1802-1881) and Eleanor (Heady) Russell. Russell received his odd first and middle names in honor of his maternal grandfather, Stillwell Heady (1782-1852), a prominent Kentuckian who would represent his home county of Spencer in both houses of the Kentucky legislature for nearly two decades. Russell's first name is spelled as both "Stillwell" and "Stilwell". Noted as having been"thrown to his own devices" whilst still in his youth, Russell attended the Texas Military Institute and farmed before entering the Confederate Army in 1863. Little is known of Russell's Civil War service, excepting mention of his being a private in the Texas Cavalry's 25th Regiment.
   Following his return to civilian life, Russell was employed as a clerk in a Brazoria dry goods store. Seeing a bright future for himself as a lawyer, Russell read law during his free time, studying in the offices of Lathrop and McCormick. Admitted to the Texas bar in 1869, Russell moved to Galveston and after establishing his practice in that city was thrust into the political life of his state when he was selected as an attorney for the cities of Galveston and Houston. In the year following he was appointed by then Texas Governor Edmund Davis as District Attorney for Harrison and Rusk County, holding that post until 1872. 
  On April 27, 1870, Stillwell Heady Russell married Mary Althea Carman, a native of Louisiana. The couple would have at least one son, Stillwell Heady Jr. Russell would later remarry to Martha P. Morrison (1860-1935), to whom he was wed until his death. Stillwell H. Russell continued his rise in Harrison County politics in 1872 when he was elected as county sheriff. He served four years in that post and in 1875 was a delegate from the 6th district to the Texas State Constitutional Convention held at Austin. During his service, Russell was named to the committees on the Legislative Department and Revenue and Taxation.

Russell's portrait from the 1875 Constitutional Convention composite.

  Having twice declined an offer to run for Congress, Russell set his sights on a congressional seat in 1876, announcing his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas' 2nd congressional district. Hoping to oust one-term incumbent Democrat David Culberson (1830-1900), Russell's candidacy was boomed by both the Tyler Index and the Galveston Daily News, which noted that
"Colonel Russell is an able man, every way worthy of the position, and would do honor to the Republican party in Congress."
   On election day in November 1876, Russell lost out in the vote count, with David Culberson defeating him by a wide margin, 17, 326 votes to 9, 130. While he may have been defeated, Russell's political career was far from over, and shortly after his congressional defeat was elected as Tax Collector for Harrison County. He resigned from that post in 1877 and in the following year was appointed by President Hayes as U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Texas.

From the Biographical Encyclopedia of Texas, 1880.

   Russell's time in the Marshal's service proved to be colorful and in the late 1870s headed up an investigation into train robberies involving the Sam Bass Gang, a notorious criminal outfit responsible for numerous stagecoach and train robberies. In 1882 Russell again sought a seat in Congress, this time from Texas' 3rd congressional district. He was defeated that November by Democrat James Henry Jones (1830-1904), 14, 045 votes to 9, 492. 1882 proved to be a red-letter year for Russell, as he not only lost out on a seat in Congress but also found himself facing a prison sentence for embezzlement and "rendering false accounts" during his time as Tax Collector and U.S. Marshal
    Stillwell Russell's problems first arose in March 1882, when two astute Department of Justice agents discovered financial irregularities in the accounts Russell had kept during his time in office. By the end of March 1882, several suits had been brought against him and these charges of financial impropriety continued to grow through the coming months. In May of that year, he was "arrested on the charge of misappropriation of government funds and placed under a $4,000 bond". By August 1882 Russell had been acquitted of some of the charges leveled against him, but his troubles continued to mount. In early 1883 more charges were made against Russell, this time "on the account of irregularities in summoning juries". A trial would begin on March 29, 1883, and in April of that year, he was convicted in a San Antonio courtroom "of rendering false accounts to the government" to the tune of $40,000-$50,000. Russell was subsequently handed a sentence of two years to be served at the Illinois State Penitentiary at Chester. In a little over a year, Stillwell H. Russell had gone from a U.S Marshal and prospective U.S. Representative to wearing a prison uniform. An excellent chronology of Russell's misdeeds was detailed in the 1883-84 Miscellaneous Document Index of the U.S. House of Representatives, in which the two aforementioned DOJ agents (Z.L. Tidball and Joel Bowman) excoriated him, writing:
"We have very carefully investigated the official conduct of Mr. Russell, as United States marshal, and can scarcely conceive of a worse condition of things than our inquiries have developed. To say nothing of his unlawful financial transactions, the full extent of which cannot be known short of a judicial investigation, he has nowhere or at no time filled the measure of requirement of United States marshal. His neglect of official duty, his impositions upon individuals, and his apparent lack of respect for public opinion, have subjected the department to sever criticism and unjust abuse."
From the San Antonio Light, July 10, 1883.

  After arriving at Chester prison Russell was given his prison uniform and by July 1883 had taken on a prison clerkship and also worked in the brickyard. During this time petitions were circulated by Russell's supporters advocating for his pardon and release, with former Texas representative and judge Anthony Banning "A.B." Norton even traveling to Washington, D.C. to plead for Russell's release. In all Russell would serve 21 months of his sentence, being released in February 1885. Upon being freed, Russell declined to comment on the particulars of his incarceration but related to the Austin Weekly Statesman that he looked forward to returning to his home in Marshall, Texas, and to:
"Try and begin life again, taking up the practice of law which I formerly followed. I feel assured of a cordial welcome by my town's people."
  Russell proved to be right in his assessment of his fellow citizens, as he was welcomed back with  "generous receptions and cordial greetings." In a write-up concerning his release, the San Antonio Light remarked that:
"He does not come back with a grievance, nor does he proclaim that he has any settlements to make with any one. Public opinion long ago exonerated him from any complicity in the acts which deposed him from public life, and time will prove that those that were instrumental in his persecution will realize that they have builded him up."
  By May 1885 Stillwell H. Russell had returned to the practice of law, removing to Denison, Texas to reestablish his profession. In 1895 Russell's reputation had been rehabilitated to such an extent that he was selected as a delegate from Texas to the 18th annual International Order of Odd Fellows Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Following a similar trip as an I.O.O.F. representative to an encampment in the Oklahoma Territory in April 1899, Stilwell Russell left Texas for a new life in Oklahoma, and by December of that year had established a law office with Edgar Wilhelm in Ardmore.
   Shortly following the admission of Oklahoma as the 37th state Stillwell Russell was returned to public office, being elected as a district court judge for Oklahoma's 8th district, having switched political allegiance to the Democratic party. In 1910 he was re-elected to the bench, defeating Republican nominee James Humphrey by a vote of 2,797 to 1,204. In March 1914 Russell was appointed as an Associate Justice of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, in the wake of the resignation of Judge Robert Lee Williams, who had resigned to run for Governor. Russell's time on the court proved to be short, spanning just two months. A week prior to his death he fell ill at a state bar association meeting but later felt well enough to attend a court proceeding four days before he died. Russell's health continued to fail, however, and on May 16, 1914, he died in his room at the Lee-Huckins Hotel in Oklahoma City. The Calumet City Chieftain recorded a "weak heart" as the primary cause of death, but also mentioned "an attack of acute indigestion" as a contributing factor.
   Stillwell H. Russell was survived by his wife Martha and both were later interred at the Rose Hill Cemetery in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Widely lamented upon his death, Russell's colorful activities in Texas had no bearing on his being eulogized as a great man and jurist in Oklahoma, with fellow judge Thomas Doyle memorializing him as:
"A great lawyer; a just and faithful judge. His name and fame are identified as closely with the judicial history of our state as that, perhaps, of any other lawyer or judge. And his worth and character were known and prized by none more than by the members of the Court of Appeals. It was the good fortune of each of us to know him personally for many years, and from our knowledge of him as a jurist, lawyer and citizen, we know that no eulogium extolling his character and ability would be fulsome or extravagant when ranking him amongst the greatest and most distinguished of our lawyers and judges."
Russell's obituary from the Daily Ardmoreite, May 21, 1914.

 From the History of Kentucky: From its Earliest Discovery and Settlement, 1892.

   In addition to Stillwell Heady Russell's political exploits, attention must also be given to his maternal grandfather and namesake, Stillwell Heady, who served multiple terms in both houses of the Kentucky legislature. A native of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Stillwell/Stilwell Heady was born in 1782, being the son of James and Eleanor (Jackson) Heady.
   The Heady family left Pennsylvania for Kentucky when their son was seven, and after entering young adulthood Stillwell struck out on his own, making "the first settlement in the wilderness on East Fork of Simpson's Creek" near Bloomfield. In 1806 he married Matilda Drake (ca. 1783-1856), to whom he was wed until his death. The couple would have several children, including Eleanor (Heady) Russell (1817-1890), the mother of Stillwell Heady Russell.
  By 1820 Stillwell Heady had become a prominent landowner in Shelby County, developing a "fine farm of six hundred acres on Plum Creek." Following the creation of Spencer County, Kentucky in 1823-24 Heady was elected as that county's first representative in the state legislature, an office he would hold from 1828-30, 1832, 1838, 1842-44, and 1850. Heady would also serve a four-year term in the state senate from 1833-37.
  Remarked as a man whose "hand was always open to the poor and needy", Stillwell Heady died in October 1852 at his home and was later interred at a cemetery located on his farm, located near what is now Wilsonville, Kentucky.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Taddy Owen James (1863-1934)

Portrait from the Chronicles of Oklahoma,  Vol. 14, No.1, 1934.

   The Oklahoma Constitutional Convention of 1906-07 could boast of a few oddly named delegates, and following yesterday's profile on Delphos Green Harned, we highlight the life of Taddy Owen James, a delegate to the aforementioned convention from Oklahoma's 1st district. Born in Dodgeville Wisconsin on January 15, 1863, Taddy O. James was the son of the Rev. William Eynon and Hannah (Edmund) James, both natives of Wales.
  Taddy O. James married in 1897 to Mary Elizabeth Maughan (1862-1926), with whom he had two children, William Edmund (1899-1981) and Elsie Mae (1902-1989). Following his resettlement in the Oklahoma Territory in September 1897 James purchased a ranch near Guymon, where he raised stock. In 1904 he became secretary of the newly established Stockmen of Northwest Oklahoma, an organization that aimed to keep "the range free in that locality." James would also help draft the by-laws and rules of that group and it completed permanent organization in March 1904.
   James entered the political life of the territory for the first time in July 1904, when he received the Democratic nod for County Commissioner for Beaver County's 3rd district. He would win the election that November and in 1906 was President of the County Board of Commissioners. That same year James continued to raise his public profile by serving as one of Beaver County's delegates to the 14th National Irrigation Congress in Boise, Idaho.
   In November 1906 Taddy O. James was elected as a delegate to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention that would convene at Guthrie. He resigned his position on the board of county commissioners that December and during the convention proceedings served on the committees on Agriculture, Privileges and Elections, Revenue and Taxation, Salaries and Compensation of Public Officers, and State and School Lands.
   Following his time at the constitutional convention, James returned to his ranch in Beaver County and in October 1907 added the title of railroad director to his resume, becoming one of several directors of the newly chartered Guymon and Southern Railroad Co. In the early 1920s, James sold his ranch and removed with his wife Mary to Des Moines, New Mexico. Widowed in 1926, James spent the remainder of his life in Des Moines, dying there on July 8, 1934, at age 71. He and his wife were both interred at the Des Moines Cemetery in that town.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Delphos Green Harned (1872-1949), Delphos Washburn Harrington (1867-1941)

Portrait from the 1912 Oklahoma Red Book.

  We continue our stay in Oklahoma for a peek at the life of Delphos Green Harned, a transplant to that state from Breckinridge County, Kentucky. A farmer and clothing merchant following his resettlement, Harned served as a member of the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention of 1906-1907, helping to frame the laws of the then-newly admitted 46th state. Born on January 11, 1872, in Hudson, Kentucky, Delphos G. Harned was one of several children born to Henry Clay and Martha Jane (Green) Harned.
   Little is known of Harned's life in Kentucky, except notice of his marriage in Breckinridge County to Euzada Americus "Zada" Board in January 1895. The couple's fifty-four-year union saw the births of six children, Wallace Elbert (1896-1911), Owen Gilbert (1898-1983), Wilbur Lee (1901-1970), Edith Irene (1904-1997), Velma Beatrice (1907-1988), and Harle Cruce (1911-1983).
  By the late 1890s Delphos Harned had moved to Oklahoma and after establishing roots in the town of Ringwood farmed and raised stock. In 1906 he was elected as a Democratic delegate from the territory's 9th district to the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. Taking his seat in late 1906, Harned served on the committees on Education, Enrollment, Privileges and Elections, State and School Lands, Liquor Traffic, and Public Health and Sanitation.

From the Breckinridge News, February 20, 1907.

  Sometime following his service in the state constitutional convention Delphos Harned resettled in Durant, Oklahoma. Here he would establish Harned's, a store that sold men and women's clothing, including shoes, hats, undergarments, and suits. Little is known of Harned's life after this point, except for mention of his residing in Guthrie, Oklahoma in the early 1920s. Harned died in Stillwater, Oklahoma on April 7, 1949, at age 77. His wife Zada survived him by one year, and following her death in December 1950 was interred alongside him at the Fairlawn Cemetery in Stillwater.

Portrait from the Texas Bar Journal, 1941 (Vol. 4.)

   On October 7, 2017 (just three months following the above write-up on Delphos G. Harned) another "Delphos" was discovered--Delphos Washburn Harrington of El Paso, Texas. A lawyer for nearly four decades, "Del" W. Harrington briefly served in the Texas House of Representatives, having been elected to that body to fill a vacancy in late 1914. A native of Pike County, Illinois, Del W. Harrington was born in that county on May 14, 1867, being the son of Daniel Webster and Emmeline (Shelly) Harrington.
   Harrington's early schooling occurred in the county of his birth and he later attended the Northern Illinois Normal School in Dixon. Early in his life, he moved to Texas, and following his settling in the town of Dalhart was engaged as an insurance salesman and newspaper editor. Admitted to the Texas bar in 1903, Harrington married the following year to Mary Stringer (1874-1933), with whom he would have two daughters, Laura Katherine (1905-1966) and Mary (1907-1980). Harrington's residency in Dalhart saw him win election as Dalhart's mayor, serving in that post from 1905-07.
   Several years after establishing himself in Dalhart Harrington removed to Amarillo to continue his practice, and in September 1914 was elected to fill a vacancy in the Texas House of Representatives from the 125th legislative district. This vacancy had been occasioned by the August 18th resignation of Hilton R. Greer, and Harrington officially took his seat in the legislature on September 11th. He served through the remainder of the 1914-15 session (which concluded on January 12th of the new year) and declined renomination, preferring to return to his law practice.
  Following his brief stint in state government, Del Harrington moved his practice to El Paso in 1915, joining the firm of Davis and Goggin. Shortly after his resettlement, he was retained as counsel for the El Paso Cattleman's Association and later became a member of the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad Company's legal staff. He retired from that position in 1938, and in the following year was returned to political office when he was elected as a justice of the peace, a post he would hold until his death.
  Widowed in 1933, Del W. Harrington died at age 74 on August 19, 1941, having suffered a heart attack while at work in an El Paso courtroom. He was later interred alongside his wife at the Concordia Cemetery in El Paso

From the Dalhart Texan, August 20, 1941.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Clarous Rouser Johnston (1880-1936)

Portrait from the 1905 Indiana law school composite.

   Native Hoosier Clarous Rouser Johnston would find distinction in Oklahoma law circles following his resettlement in Caddo County in the late 1900s and earns placement here on the site due to his service as Judge of Caddo County, a post he would first seek in 1912. The son of Alfred Homer and Debbie (Morgan) Johnson, Clarous R. Johnson was born on September 24, 1880 in Monroe County, Indiana.
   Johnston attended school in Harrodsburg and after graduating from the local high school in 1896 began a teaching career in Monroe County that extended into the 1900s. He would serve intermittently as a principal and in 1902 enrolled in the law department of the University of Indiana. He earned his bachelor of laws degree in 1905 and shortly thereafter established his first practice in Bloomington. Johnston's stay in that city proved to be brief, as he moved to Bedford, Indiana the following year. Johnston practiced law in Bedford until December 1909, when he pulled up stakes once again, this time relocating to Caddo County, Oklahoma.
   As a young lawyer in an expansive territory (Oklahoma wouldn't be admitted as a state until 1912) Johnston saw a bright opportunity for himself, and after a brief residence in the village of Bridgeport settled in the city of Anadarko, then a city of about 3,000 residents. He would return to Indiana in 1911 to wed Lula G. Cobb (1888-1982) in December of that year. The couple were wed until Clarous's death in 1936 and had one daughter, Frances, born in 1912.
   Soon after his arrival in Anadarko Johnston formed a law firm with R.K. Robinson and in 1912 made his first move into Oklahoma politics, becoming the Democratic candidate for Caddo County judge. Johnston lost out on election day that year to Republican C. Ross Hume (1878-1960). In 1913 Johnston was elected as City Attorney for Anadarko and held that post until his resignation in 1914 when he was again a candidate for county judge. Johnston was the victor at the polls that November and officially entered into his duties in January 1915.
   Sources of the time relate that Johnston proved to be "unusually capable and energetic as county judge", and was reelected to two further terms on the bench in 1916 and 1918. However, Johnston would resign in October 1919 and sometime later removed back to Indiana, his reasons for doing so being unknown at this time.
  By 1923 Clarous Johnston was residing in his old town of Bedford and following his return to Indiana reentered politics, being a Democratic candidate for judge of Indiana's circuit court for the 40th judicial district in the May 1924 primary. Of three candidates that year, Johnston placed third with 2, 135 votes, losing out to Oren O. Swails's winning total of 3,705. Little information could be located on Johnston's life after this election, except notice of his death in Indiana on January 24, 1936, at age 55. He was survived by his wife Lula, who, following her death in 1982 at age 93 was interred alongside her husband at the Green Hill Cemetery in Bedford.

Johnston during his time at the University of Indiana.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Finette Benson Nichols (1864-1948)

Portrait from 1945-46 Connecticut State Register.

   The recent discovery of the name of Finette Benson Nichols comes as a welcome surprise, as oddly named female political figures remain difficult to come by! An eight-term member of the Connecticut House of Representatives between 1931 and 1947, Nichols etched her name into the history books when she became the first woman to represent Fairfield in the state legislature.
   One of three daughters born to John and Finette Edwards (Benson) Nichols, Finette B. Nichols was born in Fairfield on November 5, 1864. She received her education at the Fairfield Academy and for over two decades was employed as a private secretary to Henry L. Morehouse, the head of the American Baptist Society in New York City. Nichols would also work as a nurse during the Spanish-American War and later was a founder of the Family Welfare Society. 
   It wasn't until after entering her sixth decade that Nichols decided to enter politics. Although women had received the right to vote in 1920 Nichols was remarked to have been "opposed to the suffrage movement", believing that voting was a privilege reserved for men. Despite her feelings regarding the suffrage question, Nichols lost no time entering the political life of Fairfield following the passage of the 19th amendment, being a member of the Fairfield town Republican committee and in 1923 was a candidate for Fairfield County Commissioner
   In 1930 Nichols was elected as one of two representatives from Fairfield to the Connecticut legislature, receiving 2,076 votes. She would be reelected to a further seven terms in the state house and her long term of service saw her serve on the committees on Claims, Public Welfare, Human Institutions, Labor, Towns, and Cities.
  Nichols' final term in the legislature concluded in 1947 and she died the following year at age 83. Nichols had never married and was interred at the Fairfield East Cemetery, the same resting place as that of her parents.

Nichols during her time in the legislature.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Eliphus Hibbard Rogers (1830-1881)

Portrait from Andreas' History of the State of Nebraska.

   I always welcome a new strange name discovery from Nebraska, and in the nearly six years this site has been online only nine political figures from the Cornhusker State have warranted write-ups here. With the addition of Eliphus Hibbard Rogers (a member of the Nebraska territorial council and state senate), that number grows slightly, and I was extremely pleased to have located not only ample information on this otherwise obscure figure but also a portrait!
   A native of Herkimer County, New York, Eliphus Hibbard Rogers was born in the town of Litchfield on January 12, 1830, being the son of the Rev. Lucius Cary (1801-1872) and Fanny Rogers. Young Eliphus worked on the family farm during his childhood and attended common schools. He later studied at the O.C. Seminary in Cazenovia, New York and after reaching age sixteen began a brief career as a school teacher. Rogers married in September 1851 to Lucy Jane Groff (1832-1904) and later purchased a farm, which he worked until he and his wife moved to Illinois. The couple would have three children, Bertha, Ida, and a child who died in infancy.
  Rogers' stay in Illinois proved to be brief, and he soon relocated to Jefferson, Wisconsin, where he farmed, studied law, and taught school during the wintertime. In 1856 Rogers left Wisconsin for Nebraska, and after a brief stay in Omaha established himself in the then-burgeoning city of Fremont. Rogers farmed and also cut timber as a means of income, and in 1858 was admitted to the Nebraska bar. In the year following Rogers began service as a representative for Dodge County in the territorial legislature and served until 1860, when he caught the gold rush bug and began preparations for a journey to Pike's Peak in Colorado
   Rogers' Colorado sojourn saw him joined by his family, and after erecting a log cabin near Denver began his law practice. In early 1861 he would be elected as a "judge for the miner's court" and in the fall of that year returned with his family to Fremont. Following his return, Rogers engaged in the freighting business and in 1863 won election as Douglas County clerk, a post he'd continue to hold until 1867. In the fall of 1866 he was elected to the Nebraska Territorial Council and Senate and in early 1867 took part in legislative proceedings that discussed a "black suffrage amendment" and Nebraska statehood, which was achieved that February. During his service (1867-1869) Rogers served as president of both of those bodies and also began to dabble in banking, being the founder of the E.H. Rogers and Co., a private bank that would evolve into the First National Bank of Fremont in 1872.

From the Pen Sketches of Nebraskans, 1871.

   Following his time in the legislature Eliphus Rogers was talked of as a potential candidate for U.S. Senator from Nebraska, and in 1870 was boomed as one of three candidates for that office. This senatorial contest was pitched between incumbent Republican John Milton Thayer (who had been elected in 1867), former territorial delegate Phineas Hitchcock, and Rogers. As this election was held before 1913 (the year the seventeenth amendment was passed that provided for the direct election of U.S. Senators), the outcome would be decided by the Nebraska legislature. This "long drawn out balloting" was later eased by Rogers stepping out of the race and giving his support to Hitchcock, who would be elected.
   Active in religious affairs both prior to and after his service in state government, Rogers was selected as a lay delegate from Nebraska to the general conference of the Methodist church held in Brooklyn, New York. He would again serve as a delegate in 1876 and following a period of impaired health decided to remove to Florida in 1877. Between 1877 and 1880 Rogers would move between Florida and New Mexico, and in 1881 received the appointment as U.S. Consul at Vera Cruz. In July 1881 the still ill Rogers sailed from New York to Vera Cruz and after reaching his destination on the 15th of that month entered into his duties. His time as consul proved to be short, as he died on August 1, 1881, at age 51. 
   Shortly after his death, Rogers was entombed in a vault in a Vera Cruz Cemetery. His remains were transferred back to Nebraska five years later and re-interred at the Ridge Cemetery in Fremont. His widow Lucy would also be interred at this cemetery following her death in 1904.

From the Omaha Daily Bee, August 3, 1881.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Moffett Delone Johnson (1859-1936)

From the 1912-16 Mississippi State Register.

   Moffett Delone Johnson is another obscure Mississippi state representative, serving one term in his state's legislature from Wilkinson County. A son of Thomas Craddock and Madeline (Bolding) Johnson, Moffett D. Johnson was born in the aforementioned county on February 5, 1859. He was a student in schools local to Wilkinson County and beginning in his youth worked at farming, a vocation that continued through the remainder of his life
   Johnson married in December 1878 to Kate Miller (1859-1941), with whom he had several children, including Christian Delone (born 1879), Robert Graham (1882-1954), Eliza (born 1886), Mary Estelle (born 1888), Katie (born 1890), Walter Seth (1892-1947), Corinne (born 1895), Sherman (born 1898) and Mabel (born 1902). 
   A prominent Democrat in Wilkinson County, Moffett D. Johnson served several years on the county's Democratic executive committee and was a member of the local Farmer's Union. Elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives in November 1911, Johnson served during the 1912-16 term and held seats on the committees on Agriculture, Census and Apportionment, Claims, County Affairs, and the Penitentiary. 
  Little information is available on Johnson's life following his term, except notice of his death in 1936 and his burial at the Macedonia Cemetery in Wilkinson County, under the name "Moffette D. Johnson". Curiously, Johnson's wife Kate was interred at a different cemetery, her burial occurring at the Gloster Cemetery in Amite County, Mississippi.