There were, in early days, three Esquire Johnsons in Marion County--Joseph, James W., and plain James. It is of the latter I write, who has, for over forty-five years, resided on the Crawfordsville State road, five miles west of the city.
He is a native of Grayson County, Virginia, and inherits many of the traits of character peculiar to the citizens of his native State. At an early age he came to Butler County, Ohio, and there lived until he came to this place in the year 1822. Since coming here he has held several offices of honor and emolument. For eleven years he was a justice of the peace in and for Wayne Township, at a time when the magistrates of the several townships, as a board, transacted the business of the county.
While the Hon. Jesse D. Bright was United States Marshal of the State, Mr. J. was his principal deputy. He was elected to represent the county in the Legislature in the years 1838 and 139, and served two sessions. He was a good a good and efficient member, and attentive to the interests of his constituents.
Near fifty years since he purchased one hundred and sixty acres of land, lying on the Noblesville State road, about eight miles north of the city. There has never been a stick of timber cut off this land, unless stolen or unauthorized by the owner. This land is very heavily timbered, the majestic oaks and poplars still standing with all their native dignity. This fact indicates that he has never been hard-pressed for money. He owns several pieces of valuable city property in addition to his several fine and productive farms.
Nowland, John H. B., “Early Reminiscences of Indianapolis, with Short Biographical Sketches of Its Early Citizens, and of a Few of the Prominent Business Men of the Present Day,” 1870, pp. 98-99.