SCHS: Court History — Rosette Detail

William Johnson, 1804-1834

Justice William Johnson, 1804-1834
WILLIAM JOHNSON was born on December 27, 1771, in Charleston, South Carolina. During the Revolutionary War, his father was imprisoned by the British and the family was exiled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Johnson was graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1790, and studied law in a Charleston law office. Johnson was admitted to the bar in 1793, and the following year he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. He served three consecutive terms, the third term as Speaker. In 1799, the South Carolina Legislature elected Johnson to one of the three seats on the Court of Common Pleas, the highest court in the State. Johnson had served on the Court of Common Pleas for four years when, on March 22, 1804, President Thomas Jefferson nominated him to the Supreme Court of the United States. The Senate confirmed the appointment on March 24, 1804. Johnson served on the Supreme Court for thirty years. He died on August 4, 1834, at the age of sixty-two.