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Isaac Johnson
Governor of Louisiana

Preceded by Alexander Mouton
Governor by Election
Served from February 12, 1846
Served to January 28, 1850
Left Office by Term Ended
Succeeded by Joseph M. Walker
Born November 1, 1803
West Feliciana Parish
Died March 15, 1853
New Orleans
Cause Heart Attack
Age 49
Party Democratic
Education By Tutors
Profession Lawyer / Planter
Spouse Charlotte McDermott
Children 3
Spouse Julia Johnson
Children 1
Plantation Fairview
Religion Episcopalian
Burial James P. Smith Cemetery

1846 - 1850

Isaac Johnson was the 13th Governor of Louisiana.  He was born in West Feliciana Parish on November 1, 1803, probably on his father's Troy Plantation. 

He died on March 15, 1853 and was interred in J. P. Smith Cemetery in West Feliciana Parish along with his first wife, three sons and daughter.

J. P. Smith Cemetery has avoided discovery so far.  LSU has a record indicating that James P. Smith owned Clover Hill Plantation, Bayou Sara, West Feliciana Parish. Girl Scout Camp Marydale is located on 400 acres that was once a part of Clover Hill Plantation.  Camp Marydale has only one extant grave monument or marker, that of the wife of Dr. William P. Walker.  The Isaac Johnson papers at LSU show Dr. Walker billing as the family physician.

The governor, his first wife Charlotte, his sons Charles F. and Walter T. are all recorded as being buried in J. P. Smith Cemetery.  The governor's son Joel, from his second marriage to Juliet Johnson of Kentucky, is also buried in J. P. Smith Cemetery. The records are from Grace Episcopal Church in St. Francisville, from which the burial services originated.

The Louisiana Historical Society records all the burials as being on Troy Plantation.

Johnson was from a very prominent West Feliciana parish family.  His father was sheriff and judge, lawyer and owner of Troy Plantation near current St. Francisville.  Isaac became a lawyer as well and soon married Charlotte McDermott.  He became a state representative then a district judge before being elected governor. 

Isaac Johnson's term as governor coincided with the Mexican American War.  The governor, first a supporter of the war effort, became disenchanted with the federal paymaster general's lackluster effort to pay Louisiana conscripts and to pay Louisiana for the cost of equipping the conscripts. 

He also supported state rights against the federal efforts to assure that slavery was banned in territories acquired from Mexico.

Towards the end of his term, on December 17, 1847, Charlotte died leaving him the difficulty of three children to raise.  After his term as governor, he was appointed attorney general of Louisiana by succeeding Governor Joseph Walker.  He was in a contest for associate justice of the state supreme court when he died in New Orleans on March 15, 1853 of a heart attack.

In 1852, he married a second time to Julia Johnson, (no relation) of Kentucky, the daughter of Joel Johnson.  They had a son, Joel, who lived only four months, dying on November 13, 1852.  He is buried in James P. Smith Cemetery as well.

Later in the same year, sons Charles F. and Walter T. Johnson, ages 21 and 12 respectively, died about 3 weeks apart from yellow fever.

Isaac Johnson's first wife was Charlotte McDermott.  Her father, John McDermott, owned a large plantation that encompassed modern day Camp Marydale.  Charlotte was only 2 or 3 when her father died.  Charlotte's mother married again to James P. Smith, the only father that Charlotte ever knew.  As a result of this marriage, the large plantation became known as the James P. Smith property and in later years as Clover Hill Plantation.  A small part of Clover Hill Plantation was sold to become Camp Marydale.  The remainder of the property went to other owners.

Somewhere on this large plantation, then known as the James P. Smith property, was the cemetery in which many of Charlotte's family were buried, as well as her, her husband Isaac and some of their children.  Its location is, for now, unknown.



La. Secretary of State
National Governors Association


Zachary Taylor Medal Presentation
- July 11, 1848
Johnson on Leave
- September 8, 1848

Marriage to Julia Johnson from Kentucky Marriages 1787-1865
Obituary - March 17, 1853
- March 17, 1853
Funeral - March 23, 1853
Biography - Times Picayune
- March 12, 1865
Biography - Times Picayune
- July 20, 1914
Descendants of John Johnson

Mystery Son

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