WILLIAM ELTING JOHNSON, the present popular and efficient senator of the 38th senatorial district of the state,
is also one of the leading medical men of Tioga county, and one of the best types of the "army surgeon"
of the civil war now residing in the southern tier. He was born in West Town, Orange county, on October 17, 1837,
the son of Alexander T. and Jane (Cuddeback) Johnson. His early life was passed in Port Jervis, where he received
his education at the public schools and at Neversink seminary. He studied medicine with Dr. Solomon VanEtten of
Port Jervis, attended lectures at the Albany medical college and received his degree of M. D. in December, 1859.
He located in Waverly in the spring of 1860, and has since made this village his home. He commenced the practice
of medicine here immediately on his arrival, but after one year the terrible actualities of civil war were upon
us. President Lincoln called for 75,000 troops, which action induced the New York legislature to pass a bill authorizing
the enrollment of 30,000 volunteers for two years' service, and creating a military board to organize them. In
connection with this board was established an examining board of surgeons to pass upon the medical and surgical
qualifications of the medical staff to serve as surgeons of the regiments and upon such other appointments as the
executive might select. Dr. Johnson made an application to appear before the board at a specified time in the city
of Albany, which was granted, and, after receiving the approval that was given him by the board, he was recommended
to the governor for appointment. In the early part of 1862 the surgeon general directed him to go to Binghamton
as examining surgeon of the 26th senatorial district. Here he (with other surgeons) examined the recruits of the
quota; and he was then commissioned as first assistant surgeon of the 109th New York, Col. B. F. Tracy commanding.
After active and perilous service, in 1864 the doctor was commissioned surgeon of the regiment and served in that
capacity until the close of the war. During all the active field service of the army of the Potomac, from the battle
of the Wilderness to the surrender of Lee, he was detailed upon the operating staff of the third division of the
9th army corps and as brigade surgeon. After his muster out of the service in June, 1865, he resumed his medical
life in Waverly, and has built up a valuable practice and acquired an honorable reputation. His public positions
have been numerous and noteworthy. He was president of the village for two successive terms, surgeon in chief of
the Robert Packer hospital at Sayre, Pa., for two years, has been United States examining surgeon for pensions.
for four years, surgeon for the Erie railroad and for the Lehigh Valley for over twenty years, and he is frequently
a delegate from the county medical society to the state medical society. An unswerving republican, Dr. Johnson
has held high place in the councils of the party. He was a presidential elector in 1888, and is now serving a three
years' term as state senator and is chairman of the committee on military affairs. Dr. Johnson was married on May
1, 1873, with Mattie M., daughter of James and Martha (Sharps) Fuller, of Scranton, Pa. They have one daughter,
Mary L. Johnson, who is a senior in Wells college. The family attends the Presbyterian church, of which the doctor
is a member.
OUR COUNTY AND ITS PEOPLE
A MEMORIAL HISOTRY OF TIOGA COUNTY
EDITED BY: LEROY W. KINGMAN
W. A. FERGUSSON & CO. ELMIRA, N. Y., 189?
Tioga County, NY
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