Charles A. Johns Biography


        Charles A. Johns was born in Jackson County, Missouri, June 25,1857. A year after his birth his parents, James McClellan and Elizabeth A. (Darby) Johns, brought him to Oregon. He spent his boyhood at Scio, attended school there. The family moved to Marion, near Salem, which gave him the opportunity to study law at Willamette University. He entered the University in 1873 and graduated in 1878.

        He then commenced the study of law in the office of Hon. Wm. H. Holmes, of Salem, Prosecuting Attorney for the Third Judicial District of Oregon, and was admitted to practice at the March Term of the Supreme Court in 1881. He then moved to Dallas, Polk County, and started the practice of law. He was chosen as the presiding officer of the Polk County Republican Convention and was elected by that body as the Chairman of the Republican County Committee. He entered into a law partnership with Hon. Warren Truitt of Dallas and was appointed by Governor Moody on September 27, as the County Judge of Polk County, being perhaps the youngest man that ever held the responsible office of chief executive of a county in this state.

        From Dallas he moved to Baker, there until 1912. He was four times Mayor of Baker and served on the Baker School Board 21 years. He then moved to Portland to practice law for 14 years.

        He was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court on June 4, 1918, to fill the unexpired term of Judge Wallace McCamant. He filled out the term and then was elected for another. He resigned October 7, 1921. In 1921 he was appointed Associate Justice of the Islands through the aid of Senator Charles A. McNary.

       Judge Johns was a Republican candidate for Governor in 1914., running against James Withycombe, who was elected.

        He was active in politics. Judge Johns was a delegate to the Cleveland Convention which nominated Calvin Coolidge. He took a prominent part in state politics.

        November 15, 1882, Judge Johns was married to Mabel Ellis and they were the parents of three children: Claude M. Johns, Charles A. Johns, Jr., and Mrs. Ruth Newmeyer. He was later married to Elizabeth and they were the parents of three children: Barbara, Marguerite and Eleanor.

        Judge Johns was a prominent Mason, Knight Teraplar and Elk.

        On the bench Judge Johns established a reputation for fairness and justice which followed him wherever he went. As he lay ill in Portland his mail each day brought him messages from natives and whites in the islands, praying for his speedy recovery. He died January 11, 1932 in Portland, at the age of 74 years.

Arthur F. Benson's Original Biography Document