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Judge Jesse F. Johnson

Judge Jesse F. Johnson, county and probate judge and farmer, Kingsland, Ark.

There are few men of the present day whom the world acknowledges as successful, more worthy of honorable mention, or whose life history affords a better example of what may be accomplished by a determined will and perseverance, than Judge Johnson.

He owes his nativity to Madison County, Tenn., where his birth occurred in 1845, and is the son of Stephen and Nancy M. (Jones) Johnson, natives also of Tennessee, born in 1812 and 1819, respectively. The parents were married in Madison County, Tenn., and in 1850 they left that State, and moved to Arkansas, being among the early settlers of what is now Cleveland County. Mr. Johnson was a well-to-do farmer, was justice of the peace for many years, and from 1876 to 1884 he was treasurer of Cleveland County, holding the office as long as he was able to attend to the duties of the same. He was a member of the Masonic fraternity for many years, and at the time of his death was a member of Kingsland Lodge No. 430, also of the Royal Arch Chapter.

In politics he was Democratic. His wife died in 1884, and he in 1889, and both were for many years members of the Methodist Church. He was the son of Thomas Johnson. Grandfather Beverly Jones was a carpenter, and died in Madison County, Tenn., when our subject was but a boy.

Judge Jesse F. Johnson was the second of nine children born to his father's second marriage, eight of whom are now living. His early scholastic advantages were not of the best as he grew up, and his time was principally employed in assisting on the farm.

In October, 1863, he joined Company I, Tenth Arkansas Infantry, operated in Arkansas and Texas, and surrendered at Marshall, Tea., in .May, 1865.

His marriage took place in December, 1863, to Miss Margaret M. Ropers, who was born in Tennessee, and who became the mother of six children, one sore and four daughters now living. Her parents, Spirus and Elizabeth Ropers, were natives of Tennessee, and moved from that State to Dallas County, Ark., in 1849. There the mother died, in 1872, but the father is still living, and is a successful tiller of the soil. He served one year in the Confederate army during the latter part of the war.

Mrs. Johnson died in Cleveland County, in 1882, and in July, 1883, the Judge married Miss Sarah J. Parks, a native of Columbia County, Ga., born in 1851, and was about five years of age when her parents moved to South Carolina. Her parents, Lewis and Sarah A. Park, were born in Lincoln and Columbia Counties. Ga.. and removed to South Carolina about 1856. There the mother died, in 1862, and in 1880 the father moved to Cleveland County, Ark., where he died in 1889.

Mr. Parks served for four years in the Confederate army, first in the State troops of South Carolina, and afterward in the Virginia army. He was captain of the State troops. To Judge Johnson's second marriage were born three children-two eons and a daughter.

Since his first marriage the Judge has lived on his present farm, which consists of 200 acres, and that he has been successful is plainly indicated by the surroundings of his place. In 1888 he was elected county and probate judge, and is a man whose decisions are not made without careful and painstaking study of the evidence adduced, but on the contrary all feel that his judgment can be relied upon.

He has been a Democrat all his life, and his first presidential vote was for H. Seymour, in 1868. Ho is a member of the Agricultural Wheel, and he and wife have been members of the Methodist Church for many years. Edmund Kendall, farmer, Rison, Ark. Mr. Kendall was born in Stanly County, N. C., in 1827, and is the son of Hon. Reuben and Sallie (Smith) Kendall, natives, respectively, of Virginia and North Carolina.

The parents were warned in the last-named State, and there spent their entire lives, the mother dying abort 1847 and the father in 1854 or 1855. Both were members of the Methodist Church for many years. The father was a tiller of the soil; was a prominent citizen; was a member of the Legislature at different times for twelve or fifteen years, and for four years was in the Senate. ' He was colonel of the militia, and was a man universally respected.

Edmund Kendall, the ninth of ten children born to his parents, and the only one now living, was early taught the duties of farm life and received a fair education in the common country school. He was married in his native county in 1852, to bliss Emma Owen, a daughter of William D: and Parthena (Legrand) Watkins, of North Carolina, and the result of this union was seven children: Della Parthena, William Waddle, an infant daughter born dead, Charley E., Benjamin F. and Edmund Owen (deceased), twine, and Rosa Lee (wife of S. D. Lockhart). Three of these are living. Mr. Watkins was a farmer and died in 1877 or 1878.

Mrs. Kendall was born in Stanly County, N. C., and died in 1866. In 1856 Mr. Kendall moved to Arkansas, settled in what is now Cleveland County, and since 1867 on his present farm. He is the owner of about 1,300 acres, and all this he has accumulated by his own exertions. He was elected to the office of sheriff of Cleveland County, and filled that position in a highly creditable manner from 1874 to 1876. In politics he was formerly a Whig, but he now affiliates with the Democratic party.

His first presidential vote was cast for Z. Taylor in 1848. He has been a member of the Masonic fraternity since about 1865, and has been a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, since about sixteen years of age, and his wife and all the children are members of the same.


Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Southern Arkansas
Copyright 1890
Published by The Goodspeed Publishing Co.; Chicago, Nashville and St. Louis