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Henry Lincoln Johnson: 1914

Washington, D.C., 1914. "Henry Lincoln Johnson, Recorder of Deeds." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.

Washington, D.C., 1914. "Henry Lincoln Johnson, Recorder of Deeds." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.


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There is a Washington Post obituary dated 9/13/1925 that mentions the Recorder of Deeds and he died of a stroke (not his first). He was from Georgia and his parents were slaves and graduated from Atlanta university and went to law school in Michigan. He was a delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1896. His address at the time of his death seems to be 1461 S St. NW. Calvin Coolidge contributed a letter read at the funeral.

Recorder of Deeds

Sounds almost biblical!

"The badge of servitude"

That's not a euphemism. A badge is a symbol or token, not necessarily of anything good or honorable. Some Shakespearean examples: "Black is the badge of hell; the badge of pusillanimity and cowardice; heavy tears, the badge of woe."

Henry L. Johnson - Bio

Methinks H.L. Johnson is a very handsome man (possibly another Handsome Rake candidate?). One of the following article contains a euphemism unfamiliar to me, namely slavery referred to as "the badge of servitude": the use of the word badge makes it sound as if the writer believes enslavement to be an honored position.

Update: In 1903, Henry Lincoln Johnson married poet Georgia Blanche Douglas Camp. [note: Wikipedia currently has an erroneous link regarding Georgia's husband to the aforementioned recipient of the French Croix de Guerre.]

The Johnsons lived at 1461 S Street NW: more info

New Recorder of Deeds

Henry Lincoln Johnson, of Atlanta, Ga., new recorder of deeds of the District, assumed his duties yesterday morning and was accorded a reception by the employees of the department. ....

Washington Post, May 3, 1910

Henry Lincoln Johnson

Recorder of Deeds, District of Columbia

The subject of this sketch, Henry Lincoln Johnson, Recorder of Deeds, of the District of Columbia, is filling a public position of responsibility and trust with dignity and ability. Starting in life as a blacksmith, he has forged to the front, step by step, and today stands second to none of the leaders of his race.

Mr. Johnson is still a young man, having been born in Augusta, Ga., July 27 1871. For several generations back his ancestors had not known the badge of servitude, but had been free people and mechanics. For 80 years a blacksmith shop had been run by members of the family continuously, his grandfather, father, and himself all having been engaged in the trade, and all born in the same humble home, but one which was their own. Henry L. Johnson was educated in the common and high schools of Augusta, Ga. For a time he taught in the country schools, and by hard work and perseverance gained a classical course at Atlanta University, Georgia, and a thorough legal preparation at Ann Arbor, Mich.

After graduation from college Mr. Johnson became a member of the Atlanta, Ga., bar, and engaged in the general practice of law. He became actively interested in politics, and in 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908 and 1912 he was delegate at large from Georgia to the Republican national conventions. He also had the honor of instituting the first peonage prosecutions in the United States. Coming to Washington, his splendid service in behalf of his party and race was rewarded by his appointment to the office he now holds.

Mr. Johnson is interested in the Union Mutual Insurance Company, Atlanta, Ga.; The Atlanta Mutual Insurance Company, of Atlanta. He is a Mason, a Knight of Pythias, and an Elk. He is also an Odd Fellow, and is attorney for that order in Georgia.

Washington Post, Jun 12, 1912

Negro Elks Unveil Johnson Memorial

More than 2,000 attended the unveiling of the Henry Lincoln Johnson Monument yesterday in the Lincoln Memorial Cemetery on the Suitland road, under the auspices of the Henry Lincoln Johnson Lodge of colored Elks, of New York. The lodge brought 500 members and a band from the metropolis and joined by Columbia and Morning Star Lodges, and Forest and Columbia Temples, marched from the Columbia Home on Rhode Island avenue to Third and F streets southwest, where buses were taken to the cemetery.
Henry Lincoln Johnson, former recorder of deeds here, and Republican national committeeman for Georgia, was eulogized by J. Finley Wilson, grand exalted ruler of colored Elks. The monument, erected at the instance of Robert R. Church, Perry W. Howard, John T. Risher and the grand exalted ruler, was unveiled by Hubert Pierre, exalted ruler of Henry Lincoln Johnson Lodge, and Ada Mercer, daughter of ruler of Apex Temple.

Washington Post, Jun 27, 1932

Recorder of Deeds

For those (like me) who are not familiar with the term:

The Recorder of Deeds, an administration in the Office of Tax and Revenue, is the official repository of all land records and general public instruments [in this case] for the District of Columbia. The office is responsible for the collection of all recordation and transfer tax and filing fees on instruments being recorded and maintains these records for public inspection.

Job description

I think I'd like to be a Recorder of Deeds but I'm not sure exactly what it entails.

Sgt. Henry Johnson

Henry Johnson was one of the first American soldiers to be awarded the Croix de Guerre by the French government in World War I.

[Born 1897 -- that's a different Henry Lincoln Johnson. Our man in the photo was born circa 1870. - Dave]

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