Bullitt County History

Otto Earle Johnson, M. D.

The following sketch is taken from History of Kentucky, Volume 5 by William Elsey Connelley and Ellis Merton Coulter; Judge Charles Kerr, editor. The volume is copyright 1922 by American Historical Society. This sketch is on pages 129-130.



Otto Earle Johnson
College Grad Pic

Otto Earle Johnson, M. D. The medical profession includes in its membership men of marked ability, thorough training and other qualifications, who, moreover, possess a love of their calling and a definite appreciation of its heavy responsibilities. In this class is found Dr. Otto Earle Johnson of Denver, Johnson County, whose able services to his community have been supplemented by the service which he rendered his country during the World war.

Doctor Johnson was born at Lebanon Junction, July 23, 1884, a son of the late Dr. John Elias and Drusilla Ellen (Froman) Johnson. Hiram Johnson, the grandfather of Dr. Otto E. Johnson, was born in Scotland and as a young man immigrated to the United States and located in Hardin County, Kentucky, where he was engaged in farming during the remainder of his life and also operated a tar kiln. He married Ellen Napper, who was born in Pennsylvania, of Holland ancestry and came to Kentucky with her parents when a girl. John Elias Johnson was born near Pitts Point, Hardin County,[sic] Kentucky, October 2, 1844, and was reared on the home farm, in the meanwhile securing his early education in the public schools. He had not yet reached his seventeenth birthday when, in 1861, he enlisted in Company D, Fifteenth Regiment, Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and served in the Union army three years, eleven months and four days. He participated in a number of the leading engagements during the War between the States, has a splendid record for bravery and faithful performance of duty and at the close of the war was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal. Shortly after his return home, the young soldier took up the study of medicine, which he pursued at the University of Louisville and the University of New York, at the latter institution being a classmate of the late Dr. William O. Roberts, of Louisville, with whom he ever afterward maintained a close friendship. Doctor Johnson commenced his practice at Pitts Point, whence he went to Bowling Green and in 1882 came to Lebanon Junction, where he followed his profession until his death, June 12, 1912. In addition to his private practice he acted for many years as a railroad surgeon. He was not only prominent and proficient in his regular calling, but was active in other avenues of activity, being vice-president of the Lebanon Junction Bank and for a number of years engaging in commercial affairs as proprietor of a drug and general merchandise store. He was a republican in his political views, and as a churchman was a faithful Baptist. He took an interest in Masonic affairs and was a past master of his lodge. Doctor Johnson married first a Miss Joyce, who bore him five children, of whom one survives. After her death he married Drusilla Ellen Froman, who died in 1906. They became the parents of five children, of whom one is Dr. Otto Earle of this review, and one is deceased. The third marriage of Doctor Johnson was to a Miss Wise, and they had six children, of whom one is deceased.

Otto Earle Johnson attended the common schools of Lebanon Junction, after graduation from which he pursued a course at Gethsemane College and supplemented this by attendance at Lynnland College. He prosecuted his medical studies at the University of Louisville, from the medical department of which institution he was graduated with his degree March 25, 1904, and immediately engaged in practice at Lebanon Junction. Here, in the community where he had been known from boyhood, he soon impressed his abilities upon his fellow-townsmen, and he acquired a good practice, and also acted as a railroad surgeon. His career, like those of so many other young men, was interrupted by the entrance of the United States into the great World war, and April 17, 1917, he gave up his practice and his railroad connection to enlist in the United States army, in which he secured a commission as first lieutenant in the Medical Corps. He was sent overseas in January, 1918, and served in England five months and in France eleven months, returning home in May, 1919, to receive his honorable discharge at Camp Dix, New York, on the 20th of that month. He still holds a commission as captain in the Medical Reserve Corps of the United States Army.

Upon his return, Doctor Johnson resumed his interrupted practice, which is now of a size and nature to make him one of the leaders of his calling in his part of Johnson County. He is a member of the Johnson County Medical Society, the Kentucky State Medical Society and the American Association of Military Surgeons, and belongs also to the American Legion. He is a Past Chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, and Past Sachem of the Improved Order of Red Men. Doctor Johnson is a republican in his political allegiance, and has been a member of the Baptist church since he was nine years of age.

Doctor Johnson's marriage was the result of a wartime romance. While going overseas, in 1918, he met Miss Annie Smith Eastland, a native of Lax, Alabama, who was a Red Cross Nurse of the Vanderbilt Unit. They were married upon their return to the United States, in 1919. By a former marriage, Doctor Johnson is the father of three children: James Earle, Gladys Juanita and Wallace Dillon.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/ottoearlejohnson.html