Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr.

Associate Justice - NC Supreme Court

Date Born: June 6, 1900

Date Died: June 19, 1960

Place Born: Garland, NC

Place Buried: Springvale Cemetery in Clinton, NC


Associate Justice 1950-1959

Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. was born on June 6, 1900 in Garland, NC, the son of Jefferson Deems Johnson and Mary Lily (Wright) Johnson. After completing his elementary and secondary education in Garland, he attended Trinity Park preparatory school in Durham from 1917 to 1918.

In the Fall he enrolled in Trinity College (later Duke University). Due to World War I, he enlisted as a Private in the Student Army Training Corps in September of 1918, but since the war was winding down, he saw no action, and was discharged on December 11, 1918.

In 1923, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. graduated from Trinity College with a bachelor of arts degree, and he soon began teaching history and government at Reynolds High School in Winston-Salem, NC.

In 1924, he decided to go to law school at Trinity College. He graduated in 1926 from Duke University, the name being changed in December of '24. He passed the NC bar in August of 1926, and he returned to Sampson County to practice law in Clinton, the county seat, and his home for the remainder of this life.

From 1928 to 1941, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. was the Attorney for the town of Clinton, NC.

On August 17, 1935, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. married Virginia Frances Faison, daughter of Isham Francis Faison and Isabel Freeman (Pigford) Faison; they had three children.

In 1936, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. was elected as one of two men to represent the 9th NC Senate District (Duplin County, New Hanover County, Pender County, and Sampson County) in the NC Senate of the:
- 112th General Assembly that met from 1937 to 1938
- 114th General Assembly that met in 1941

On July 1, 1941, Governor Joseph Melville Broughton, Jr. appointed Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. as a Judge in the Eastern District of the NC Superior Court, and he served until 1945.

In 1945, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. returned to his private law practice in Clinton, NC.

From 1948 to 1950, he served as a Member of the North Carolina State Board of Law Examiners.

In 1950, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. was elected as an Associate Justice on the NC Supreme Court, replacing Associate Justice Aaron Ashley Flowers, Jr., who had recently died on October 14, 1950. Johnson was re-elected again in 1952; he did not seek re-election in 1958, and retired from the NC Supreme Court in January of 1959, when his last term was finished.

In February of 1955, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. was elected a Trustee of Duke University, one of the few extra responsibilities he accepted while a member of the NC Supreme Court. At its 1956 commencement, the University of North Carolina conferred on him the honorary degree of doctor of laws.

On June 19, 1960, Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr. died, and he was buried in the Springvale Cemetery in Clinton, NC.

Jefferson Deems Johnson, Jr., Democrat, was born in Garland, NC on June 6, 1900, the son of Jefferson Deems Johnson and Mary Lily Wright. He attended Trinity Park School in Durham, NC 1917-1918; A.B. from Trinity College 1923; graduated from Duke University Law School 1926. He entered law practice at Clinton, NC in the fall of 1926.

A Private during World War I.

He was appointed Special Superior Court Judge by Governor Joseph M. Broughton in 1941 and was re-appointed in 1943, served until June of 1945.

He was nominated by the Democratic Executive Committee and elected in November of 1950 to fill out the unexpired term of Associate Justice Aaron A.F. Seawell, deceased, of the NC Supreme Court, and he was re-elected to an eight-year term in November of 1952.

Member of the North Carolina Bar Association, American Bar Association.

Town Attorney of Clinton, NC 1928-1941. State Senator from the 9th Senatorial District in the General Assemblies of 1937 and 1941. Member of the Commission on Recodification of statute law of the State 1941-1943; former member State Board of Law Examiners. Member Sigma Chi and Omicron Delta Kappa fraternities. Past Commander of the Clinton Post of the American Legion.

Married Frances Faison on August 17, 1935. Children - Frances, Mary Lily, Jefferson D., III.

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