Col. Ernest Edgar Johnson


Col. Ernest Edgar Johnson

Ernest Edgar Johnson was a newspaperman and during World War I was a colonel of Infantry with the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France. He had a love for words, a hatred for poor grammar, a good sense of humor, and the knack of how to tell a good story.

He was born during the Civil War in 1863, and grew up on a farm in White Eyes Township just outside of Coshocton, a small rural town in Ohio. His father died when Ernest was only five years old. His widowed mother continued to run the farm with the help of a hired hand.

His mother was a strong believer in education and Ernest was one of only 15 students to graduate from Coshocton High School. He then attended college in Boulder Colorado before then going to Cornell University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Letters and a Certificate for Proficiency in Military Science.

His newspaper career included editor and part owner the Coshocton Age (Ohio), reporter for the New York Morning Journal, biographical department of the Philadelphia North American, copy editor on the news staff of The New York Times, editor for The Saturday Evening Post (Philadelphia), and in "retirement" worked as editor for the Coral Gables Miami Riviera and then the Miami Beach Tropics.

He lived for 98 years.

Father: Jesse Newport Johnson (1815-1868)
Mother: Martha Jane Dinsmore (1820-1903)

Spouse 1: Elizabeth "Bessie" Johnson Stewart (nee Ells) (1870-1901)


Spouse 2: Edyth Alexandra Bowler Harris (1876-1956)

(no children)


  • 1863

    September 7 - Born in White Eyes Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio. The 9th child of Jesse Newport and Martha Jane (nee Dinsmore) Johnson, though only 2 of their children were still living at the time of his birth. 

  • 1868

    15 September - His father Jesse dies aged 53.

  • 1882

    He is one of 15 students who graduates from Coshocton High School. Spends first of three summers working for land surveyors in northwest Colorado. In the intervals of those summers, he attends a new, small college in Boulder Colorado which later grows into the University of Colorado Boulder.

  • 1885

    Autumn - Enters Cornell University, skipping the freshman year. Studies focussed on history and political science, philosophy and literary subjects.

  • 1888

    June 21 - Graduates from Cornell with a Bachelor of Letters and a Certificate for Proficiency in Military Science.

  • 1888

    Returns to Coshocton, Ohio. Works for the Coshocton Age newspaper and becomes its editor and part-owner.

  • 1891

    January 17 - Marries Bessie Stewart in Coshocton.

  • 1892

    Sells his half interest in the Coshocton Age and looked towards New York to further his career.

  • 1892

    November 13 - Daughter Isabelle born in Coshocton.

  • 1895

    Works as part of the reportorial staff of the New York Morning Journal. Has this position for several years.

  • 1900

    Head of the biographical department of the Philadelphia North American. Works for this publication for about 5 years.

  • 1901

    February 10 - Wife Bessie dies in Philadelphia aged 31.

  • 1905

    August 22 - Marries Edyth Alexandra Bowler Harris in New York City.

  • ~1906

    Works as copy editor on the news staff of The New York Times for about 10 years.

  • 1916

    Transfers to the Sunday Department staff of The New York Times.

  • 1917

    Called into active service into the Quartermaster Corps. Goes to Camp Jackson, Columbia, South Carolina before being sent to Europe for 10 months. Discharged February 1919.

  • 1920s

    Part of the editorial staff of the prestigious The Saturday Evening Post in Philadelphia.

  • 1929

    "Retires" and moves to Coral Gables, Florida, but then becomes managing editor of a new weekly local paper in Miami Beach.

  • 1937

    Moves to Sea Island Beach, Georgia, to be near his daughter and grandchildren.

  • 1956

    July 17 - Wife Edyth dies. Moves the short distance to St Simons Island.

  • 1962

    March 8 - Dies in Brunswick, Georgia, aged 98 years. Buried in Frederica Cemetery, St Simons Island, GA. 

Last updated: 23 September 2023

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