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James Johnson, Commissioner and Deputy Minister of Customs, is descended from an English soldier, who went to Ireland with Cromwell’s forces. His father, Thomas Johnson, led a mercantile life in the City of Cork, where the son was born, May 20, 1816. His mother was Margery Parrot, a native of Bandon, Ireland. James received an ordinary Grammar School training; came to Canada in 1831; clerked a few years in a store at St. John, New Brunswick, and was, for fifteen years, an accountant in the Bank of British North America, Frederickton, in the same Province.
Mr. Johnson was Accountant of Construction of the European and North America. Railway a Government Road from August, 1857, until its completion, in November, 1860, at which date he was appointed Chief Clerk of the Provincial Office of Audit, New Brunswick. He became Acting Auditor-General of that Province in January, 1865; was appointed Auditor-General the next year, and resigned the office in November, 1867, to accept the Assistant Commissionship of Customs at Ottawa. While Auditor-General, he also held the offices of Assistant Provincial Secretary and Registrar of the Records of New Brunswick. In earlier life, before entering Government service, he was Mayor of Moncton, N.B., where he resided four years. During part of the year 1872, he was Acting Collector of the Port of St. John, N.B. His appointment as Commissioner and Deputy Minister of Customs is dated January 1, 1875.
It will be seen that Mr. Johnson has had numerous offices of trust and responsibility. He is one of those reliable men who are always found at their post, and who are themselves satisfied with nothing less than the utmost faithfulness in the discharge of their duties. He has not only the confidence of the Government, but the high esteem of his fellow citizens.
In January, 1842, Miss Amelia B. Wood, of the County of Westmoreland, N.B., was joined in wedlock with Mr. Johnson, and they have six children, three in this world and three in the other. James Albert died when only two years old. The eldest daughter, Annie Gaynor, died in 1870, just before finishing her education at the Mount Holyoke, Mass., Seminary. The eldest son, Rev. Thomas Johnson, of the Episcopal Church, was killed by accident, in August, 1875, being thrown from his carriage one Sunday afternoon, while on his way to fill an appointment to preach. Edward V. Johnson, the only son living, is employed in the Pacific Railroad Office, Ottawa, under the Chief Engineer. Minnie R., the elder living daughter, was educated at the Mount Holyoke Seminary, and has quite a talent for music, and Amelia B., the younger daughter, has the same for painting.