George W. Johnson


1811 – 1862


Who was George W. Johnson?

George Washington Johnson was the first Confederate governor of Kentucky. A lawyer-turned-farmer from Scott County, Kentucky, Johnson favored secession as a means of preventing the Civil War, believing the Union and Confederacy would be forces of equal strength, each too wary to attack the other. As political sentiment in the Commonwealth took a decidedly Union turn following the elections of 1861, Johnson was instrumental in organizing a sovereignty convention in Russellville, Kentucky with the intent of "severing forever our connection with the Federal Government." The convention created a Confederate shadow government for the Commonwealth, and Johnson was elected its governor.

Despite his meager political experience—having previously served only three years in the Kentucky House of Representatives—Johnson labored vehemently to ensure the success of the shadow government. Kentucky was admitted to the Confederacy on December 10, 1861, but the shadow government's influence in the Commonwealth extended only as far as the Confederate Army advanced.


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May 27, 1811
Scott County
Also known as
  • George Johnson
  • United States of America
  • Confederate States of America
  • Transylvania University
  • Bachelor of Arts
Apr 8, 1862

on July 23, 2013