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Royal Cleaves Johnson Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Royal Cleaves Johnson passes away in 1882.

Royal Cleaves Johnson was an American politician.

Johnson was born on October 3rd, 1882 in Cherokee, Iowa. At the age of one his family moved to Highmore, South Dakota. There he attended public schools. In 1903, he graduated from the University of South Dakota Law. The same year he was admitted to the bar and began practicing in Highmore.

In 1906, Johnson became the assistant state's attorney for Hyde County, in 1908 and 1909 he served as the State's Attorney. In 1910, he became the Attorney General of South Dakota. In 1913 he moved to Aberdeen, South Dakota where he returned to private practice.

In 1915, Johnson was elected to serve in the United States House of Representatives. In 1917, Johnson voted against the United States entering World War I. When the measure passed, Johnson absented himself from Congress to serve in the war. He served in the 313th Infantry Regiment as a private, sergeant, second lieutenant, and first lieutenant. In Montfaucon, France on September 26th and 27th, Johnson was involved in heavy fighting which exposed him repeatedly to enemy fire. After being wounded when he was hit by an exploding shell he, along with two other wounded comrades, made their way to where ambulances were waiting. Johnson refused space in the ambulance until his comrades were treated. For his actions he received Distinguished Service Cross from the United States government and the Croix de Guerre with gold star from the Republic of France.

After Johnson returned to Congress he was the House sponsor for the creation of the American Legion. Johnson served in Congress until 1932.

After serving in Congress, Johnson began practicing law in Washington, D.C.

Johnson passed away on August 2nd, 1939.

Johnson was a member of Ree Valley Lodge No. 70 in Highmore, South Dakota.