Richard M. Johnson

From Ohio History Central
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Colonel Richard Johnson

Richard Mentor Johnson was a military and political figure in the American Midwest in the early years of the new nation. He was born in Kentucky on October 17, 1781. Trained as a lawyer, Johnson had a long and successful political career, first serving in the Kentucky legislature in 1804. He also represented his state in both the U. S. House of Representatives (1807-1819, 1829-1837) and the Senate (1819-1829). Ultimately, Johnson was elected as Vice President of the United States, serving under President Martin Van Buren from 1837 to 1841. He died in 1850.

In Ohio history, Johnson is known more for his military experiences than for his political career. He served as colonel of the Kentucky volunteers during the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813, where some accounts at the time gave him credit for killing the Shawnee chief Tecumseh. Johnson used this fame in his campaign for the vice-presidency as a Democrat in 1836, running on the slogan "Rumseh dumseh, Johnson killed Tecumseh."

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