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Napoleon Johnson


Transcription contributed by Arne H Trelvik 11 June 2005

The History of Warren County Ohio
Part V. Biographical Sketches
Clear Creek Township
(Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers Co, 1882; reprint, Mt. Vernon, IN: Windmill Publications, 1992)
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NAPOLEON JOHNSON, plasterer, Springboro; born in Dinwiddie Co., Va., April 16, 1820; is a son of Embra and Polly Johnson, natives of Vir-

ginia. The grandfather was Thomas Johnson also believed to be a native of Virginia, and lived and died there under the bonds of slavery. The maternal grandparents were Stephen and Judy Mathus, he a native of Spain and she of the Cherokee tribe of Indians. They both lived and died as slaves in Virginia. Embra, the father, was born in slavery about 1780-82, and under that institution grew to manhood; was married and became the father of ten children. Four sons and four daughters grew to maturity; two of these were sold and taken South, and nothing has since been known of them; three of them died in Virginia; and two, the last known of them, lived in Virginia; Robert, and Mary, who married Nelson Branch. Mrs. Johnson died in 1842. Mr. Johnson lived in Virginia the last known of him, which was at the close of the war of the rebellion. He, like Moses of old, was favored to live to see "the promised land" of freedom, and further was permitted to go in and possess it; after a long life of bondage, he saw the "the shining light" of freedom, and knew and realized the favors which were thus vouchsafed to his children and children's children with all of its glorious privileges. Napoleon, our subject, was raised and kept in slavery till 1847, when his master, James Epps, emancipated him with thirty-nine others - all he had - and gave them the full liberties of a free land, which, by nature, was their right from birth. In 1847, Mr. Johnson came to Jefferson Co., Ohio, where he remained till November, 1848, when he came to Springboro, Warren Co. On Feb. 14, 1849, he married Mrs. Celia Anderson, daughter of Humphrey and Lucy Bobson, natives of Virginia, who were also slaves, but were finally freed by the Quakers. He died in Virginia. Mrs. Bobson came to Ohio and died at Springboro in 1857. Mr. Johnson and wife have had three children, one now living - Maria, who married Abraham Wheeler; had one child, Benjamin. Mr. Johnson served one year in the war of the rebellion, enlisted in Co. G. 16th U. S. C. V. I, on Jan. 19, 1865, and was discharged January, 1866. With this exception, he has been a resident of Springboro since his first location in 1848, a period of thirty-three years; is a reliable and respected citizen and is held in high esteem by all who know him.

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This page created 11 June 2005 and last updated 14 February, 2009
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