John Telemachus Johnson (October 5, 1788 – December 17, 1856) was a minister in the Christian Church, an attorney, and a politician, elected as U.S. Representative from Kentucky. His older brothers, also politicians, included James Johnson and Richard M. Johnson, who served as Vice President under Martin Van Buren; he was the uncle of Robert Ward Johnson, also a politician.
Early life and education
Born at Great Crossings, in present-day Scott County, Kentucky, Johnson pursued preparatory studies after being home schooled. He attended Transylvania University, in Lexington, Kentucky.
Like his older brother Richard, he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1809 and commenced practice in Georgetown, Kentucky. Johnson served in the War of 1812 as an aide to Gen. William H. Harrison.
Johnson was elected as a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, serving for five terms.
He was elected in 1820 as a Democratic-Republican to the Seventeenth Congress and reelected as a Jackson Democrat to the Eighteenth Congress (March 4, 1821 – March 3, 1825). While in Congress, Johnson served as chairman of the Committee on the Post Office and Post Roads (Eighteenth Congress). He declined to run in 1824.
He was appointed judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals April 20, 1826, and served until December 30, 1826.
Johnson was ordained as a minister of the Christian Church, where he served for a number of years. He became active in publishing Christian journalism. He became editor of the Christian Messenger in 1832, the Gospel Advocate in 1835, and the Christian in 1837.
In 1836, Johnson was instrumental in establishing Bacon College at Georgetown, Kentucky.
He died in Lexington, Missouri, December 17, 1856. He was interred at Lexington Cemetery.